Thursday, September 8, 2016

Stories and smiles

We were at a family gathering recently when someone asked me just how long ago it was that I stopped working (full-time, out-of-the-home). I said that it had been at the end of April 2015, so not quite a year and a half, but around that.

Watching Millie playing with her little Frozen figurines, making up stories and adventures, they said to me, "It's just amazing how she has responded to you being home with her."

It might be my most favorite comment ever.

Her development, and to some extent her sister's as well, was always the main reason I stepped back from working. But as my number and frequency of freelancing projects has (fortunately!) increased, my time working with Millie one-on-one has decreased, especially this summer.

And as with all facets of motherhood, it has caused me to question more than once whether I was actually doing her any favors.

But when you stop and look back, just listen to her, there really is no denying at all how far she has come in these last few months.

I tried to take a video yesterday but it's too large to post here. Figures. I'll try again tomorrow.

For now, you'll just have to take my word for it, I guess: She's doing great!
 Yes, the dog is OK.
He's pouting because no one is paying him any attention.

Whereas last year I struggled to keep Millie off the iPad for too long of stretches, she is now actually rejecting screen times in favor of playing with her Annas and Elsas. She can sit and play for hours, the bigger Barbie-sized dolls caring for their younger (or smaller) mini-mes.

She plays with them in the bathtub, on the porch, in her bedroom, and anywhere else there might be a little table or ledge. They come with us in the car, and are never out of sight.

They talk, they fight, they sing, they dance.

I love to just sit back, out of sight and earshot, and just listen to her stories.

Sure, I never understand much. This is Millie's World, and while most of it is not clearly spoken, she understands it all. And once she has perfected a sentence or a description of what's happening, then she'll run in to tell me all about it.

She speaks clearly.

She speaks in sentences.

She speaks.

What gets me the most, though, is just how confident this kid is. Sure, she's a bit timid when she meets someone new. When they ask her name, she usually looks me first, until I encourage her to say it. And she will, softly, tentatively.

But she does expect the world to understand her.

Her favorite show these days is Shimmer and Shine on Nickelodeon, the show she calls "blue and pink" due to the genies' hair colors.

This morning, while I was rushing to get myself dressed, she had a few minutes of iPad time before school. I popped back into the living room to hear her talking to YouTube, trying to get it to find snippets of the TV show that she could watch.

"Blue and pink," she said, into that little microphone thingy.

It returned with various clips very much unrelated to Shimmer and Shine.

"Blue and pink," she repeated, this time more loudly, more slowly.

Again, it didn't understand (obviously).

I offered to help, quickly typing it in, and then pulling up all sorts of Shimmer and Shine fun.

"Blue and pink," she said, again, this time much more happily. "Blue and pink."


Anonymous said...

Millie and Lola - but especially Millie - has blossomed tremendously in the time you have been "home". The special relationship that you see in your daily eye contact, would melt any heart. They are very lucky children and you are a very lucky Mom! 💕💖

David and Mary Kay said...

You are the best! They are amazing.