Lola painted the other day, while Millie was napping.
Honestly (bad mom alert), painting and play-dough are the two activities I struggle with the most. Painting, because I hate scrubbing the table, chairs, walls, fingers, tummies, faces and everything else afterward, and play-dough because I'm afraid it's going to end up on the floor and then in my puppy's belly, or, worse, in Millie's belly.
So I made sure the painting supplies were all cleaned up and mostly put away by the time Millie woke up.
After she did wake up, I went to get her. She was giggling and super happy so I lifted her from her crib and placed her on her feet. She toddled out of her bedroom quickly, getting as much distance as she could between herself and her cage (crib).
But she came to a dead stop as soon as she reached the kitchen.
All she could see, somehow from her vantage point at two feet from the ground, was the very tip of a drying paintbrush.
And she knew.
She ran (or, well, she doesn't run, but she walked very very quickly) to her father, got his attention and pointed very emphatically until she convinced him to follow her into the kitchen, where she proceeded to point at the paintbrush and then herself, over and over and over again. With obvious emotion.
Me, Daddy. Millie paint too.
You could almost hear her through her gestures and signs.
It was a Vikings game day and so it was my call and Ray knew better than to answer for me.
So he, rightfully, told Millie to go ask Mommy.
And again, she toddled over to wherever I was hiding and took me, step by the step through the whole deliberate process: paintbrush, Millie, table, paintbrush, Millie, etc.
And I, of course, caved.
Of course you can paint, I agreed.
I had hidden the easel in Lola's closet (where it goes), out of sight, so I turned my back to Millie to go get it.
She of course didn't know any better, and only saw me turn away. She thought I was saying no.
And she lost it.
I had to pick her up and walk with her to get the easel before I could convince her that she was going to get to paint.
And paint she did.
So very smart...
A mother the other day attempted to engage with Millie in conversation, very nicely asking her questions.
Millie was receptive, smiling and grunting in response.
But there were no words.
So I filled in a bit as needed, providing Millie's (suspected) responses.
After a few minutes though, I could tell we had reached that impasse, when the nice lady wanted to ask something but didn't know how, or if she should.
"She's mostly nonverbal, more or less," I volunteered.
And that's kind of the best way to describe her these days.
Millie is doing so very great, in so many ways. Walking, learning to tip-toe, to alternate feet while walking up stairs, to climb up and down on her own, to clap, wave and tickle.
But speech-wise, she's mostly nonverbal, more or less.
She does sort of, kind of talk.
She makes sounds very close to words - approximations - but she doesn't truly talk much.
We do hear words from time to time. "Hi there," "Hi Dada" and "Hi Kitty" are most common, but we hear several approximations as well, such as those for puppy, Mustang, Sissy (Lola) and mommy.
She also is progressing with sign language by leaps and bounds. She added another 3-5 signs to her vocabulary in the last week alone. She's up to probably about 30 now, give or take.
We're proud of her, for her persistence, her perseverance.
On Monday, I'll take Millie in for yet more tests. She will be sedated for the third time for a third MRI and have a couple of other, less intense, non-invasive tests as well.
I'm not really worried about them.
But there always is that tiny, growing nagging feeling that taunts me, "You were never really all that worried about the first half-dozen tests either..."
So while we try to stay positive and confident, it's always a bit of a battle.
But truly, we aren't expecting any bad news at all.
Prayers are always appreciated...
Gymnastics has been a terrific decision.
For Lola, mainly and obviously.
But for Millie too. We sit there, off to the sidelines, watching as Lola and her classmates tumble, jump, swing and fly.
Last week, at Lola's second class, Millie was standing between my knees as I sat in the metal chair, basically holding her back so she wouldn't try to again run out onto the gym floor.
She started bopping, buckling her knees and lowering herself down and then standing up quickly.
She's been working so hard on jumping lately, but hadn't yet done it.
Out in class, we could see Lola jumping, flying off the spring-board into the air like a rocket.
I felt Millie go down and up, down and up, stronger, faster.
And she did it.
She had caught some air and actually jumped.
She surprised herself, letting out the smallest whimper, looking to me for reassurance.
I applauded her, said she was doing great.
So she tried some more.
She jumped about three times that afternoon.
She hasn't done it since but I see her trying, working toward it.
She wants so badly to be just like Lola...
And she'll get there. We believe that.
It just might be a little more gradual of a climb up that hill...
- Bethany :)