Monday, April 11, 2016

Catherine's Fight: "...A Quiet Baby."

Catherine was a quiet baby. She almost never babbled. There were days she wouldn't babble at all. When she was 18 months I mentioned this to the doctor who was concerned, but not overly and said if she still was not talking by 2 she will need to see someone. She was also a late crawler and walker. I had an easy pregnancy and no complications.
At 2 Catherine occasionally said "Dada". A little after she turned 2, people from the PEID (parent education and infant development) program came to evaluate Catherine. She was behind in a few ways, but drastically behind her peers in speech. 

She started receiving speech services thru PEID, but Catherine was resistant because of the incredible difficulty to make even the smallest requested sound. (Pop for example) We started signing with Catherine. She had about 70 signs before she started really talking.

At 3 she moved from the PEID program and into ECSE (early childhood special education) preschool where we were so fortunate to have the first of many great teachers. Catherine was terribly shy and I worried about her, but I didn't have a problem sending her to school. After a few days she wanted to ride the bus, so we let her take it home. One day at school she was eating her packed lunch (because she's an incredibly picky eater) and there was no spoon for applesauce. She finally spoke to her teacher and frustratedly said "poon!" Her teacher still remembers this and I still have the note wrote home that day telling me about it. I waited forever to hear my child say 3 wonderful words "I love you". She told me those words one warm, but not too hot, July afternoon as we were walking back from the park. 

The year was 2013. Yes, that's 3 years ago. She was 4. 

Catherine moved from a SPED only class to an inclusion class for her last year of preschool. I worried about the fact that there would be a whopping 12 kids in her class (almost double what it had been) and what kids would think. But again we were blessed with a great teacher and classmates. I started hearing wonderful things about Catherine coming out of her shell. One day she was even picked up by a fabulous parent and went with a fellow student for a play date. Something she wouldn't have done just a year earlier.

More words started to come from Catherine, but not always intelligibility. With greater language came more frustrations at not being able to say the words and be understood. Catherine moved away from most sports, but kept dancing. She had started ballet which has been a great inclusive sport that helps balance and strengthen her without the pressure of communication. 

Now it was time for KINDERGARTEN. I was lucky enough to already be established at Hugh Mercer and had been scoping out her possible teachers. Can you believe that we landed another wonderful teacher?! Again, I worried about the kids, but Catherine had no problems making friends and the kids seemed to pick up on her speech patterns and errors better than adults sometimes. She blossomed again under the great guidance of her teacher. But life was different soon after kindergarten started and Catherine became a big sister. She's loved her sister from the start, not every minute, but she's been great with her baby sister. Catherine is Roslyn's biggest cheerleader and she gets so excited when Roslyn gets a new skill or word. 

Catherine is in first grade now with a super teacher. There is so much work in first grade and I know second grade will be more. She has an abundance of friends, even kids not in her class! Just a few weeks ago she visited her first preschool teacher and read to the class of four 3 year olds. She is friendly and becoming sassy. 

She still throws a fit or cries when she's not understood, but thankfully not too many tantrums like we once had. She takes things too seriously, but she has a big heart. Catherine is a rule follower and she will correct you; not doing what you're supposed to, she'll tell you, coughed in your hand, she'll tell you to cough into your elbow, and you'll get a big lecture if you're caught smoking. She likes to tell stories, Sometimes I understand most of it. She is starting to sing, sometimes endlessly. She'll ask big questions at bedtime that I don't have anymore brain power to answer. 

Catherine loves cars, Star Wars, and fly guy and books by Mo Willems . She loves the beach, but only really started swimming this past year. She wants to be a doctor., no a teacher, no a dentist, no a mechanic, no an author. Her favorite colors are all the colors, but if you make her choose it's blue and purple. If you ask her what her favorite part of the day was, it was everything. She desperately wants a dog (and I think her dad finally caved tonight so it will happen). 

She loves fast cars and jeeps. She likes to go camping. She'll always point out pretty sunsets. She love polka dots. She has fun going around school after dismissal visiting teachers; She can visit almost all the teachers she's had in one day (thanks to some renovations at her old preschool, her first teacher had to move to our school) and she visits her possible 2nd grade teachers. She has a Pooh bear and a "BaaBaa," a lamb lovey, that she sleeps with almost every night. She wants to play the violin and learn to crochet. I've heard her talk in her sleep. Catherine likes to give hugs. She has a great smile and the prettiest green eyes. 

Catherine is my fighter.