In the last few weeks, Millie has become much more vocal, which is fantastic to hear and witness. She grows more confident every day and it shows, as she will spontaneously utter a few sounds as well as sign for whatever it is she is trying to communicate.
But it's often not understandable. Just as babies babble, Millie's voice is coming out in a string of utterances, some which land fairly close to the words they are supposed to be approximating (perhaps "ba" for ball or "myah" for mine), but more common are seemingly random sounds.
The other day, Lola stole a toy from Millie's play area.
Millie looked sternly at her sister, waved her finger in discipline, and said something along the lines of, "Dud pa buh woo myah da!" She was obviously upset, half-yelling and crying out in protest.
Lola, not meaning to make fun (I don't think?) looked at me and giggled, "Millie made funny noises." She then proceeded to try to mimic the noises that Millie had made, all while laughing a bit to herself.
I told Lola to return the toy to her sister and to apologize, which she did.
Then, Lola and I had a conversation, off to side, as Millie happily continued in her play, the whole incident apparently forgotten, or at least forgiven.
It wasn't a stern conversation, it wasn't me lecturing. This was a true conversation, asking a 6-year-old to put aside what she was at that moment finding laughable to instead consider those same events from another perspective.
We talked about listening in different ways, such as listening to the exact sounds and words that Millie was saying. We called that "listening with our ears," like when Millie says "mama" or "dada" -- real, understandable words.
But beyond that, I encouraged Lola to "listen with her heart," to think about what Millie might be trying to say.
Lola, for example, knew from Millie's tone that she was mad. And Lola admitted that she, herself, would have been sad if someone took the toy she was playing with. It wasn't a long leap to get Lola to figure out on her own that Millie was maybe trying to say, "Hey! Give that back!"
After a bit, Lola was feeling kind of bad. And she asked if she could be done talking about this, which was fine. But instead of running back to play big-kid games, she went directly to her sister's side, asking if she could play. Millie beamed and welcomed her back into her world.
I'm still here. I can't believe it has been one month since I posted here. Life has been busy and I was feeling quite overwhelmed for a while. I actually had the last two weeks off of work to visit family and friends and just ... recharge. It was heavenly. But I have to say it was also nice to go back to work today, I was feeling a bit more energized again. I like my job. I love what I do. But it helps to have a degree of passion for it, and I think I was losing a smidgen of that by mid-summer.
Today also marked an important day for us.
It was Lola's first day of first grade!
And Millie's first day of preschool!
They both were amazing. They did fantastic and I could not be prouder.