My bug is getting so big.
Where has the time gone? Where has it disappeared to?
And why don’t I feel like I know my little girl as good as I should?
Why do I look at her and think to myself that there’s so much in her life that I don’t know, that she can’t communicate to me.
There’s so much to HER and WHO she is that she can’t share with me.
It’s so hard to see other kids her age that will ask me ‘why doesn’t she talk.’ It’s heartbreaking. It’s made more heartbreaking as they go on to have ENTIRE conversations with me. Or another kid. Or a teacher, or another parent.
When I know I’m lucky if I get a few words strung together to make a pseudo sentence.
It makes me worry for her.
I don’t want her to be an outcast, left to the sidelines by her inability to communicate. I don’t want her to burrow into her own little shell and give up.
I look at her every day and realize how much she has grown, not physically (although she has!) but in the person that she is. In her verbal skills. She has SO MANY words today compared to a year ago. She TRIES so much more than she ever did.
But so much of it is difficult to understand to an outsider. So much of it isn’t clear enough that sometimes WE can’t figure it out.
When we are out and about people love to say ‘hi’ to her. She’s a cute kid, and it seems like people love to try to talk to her. She typically looks at them and doesn’t say a word. Sometimes she’ll hide behind me, so sometimes people take it as shyness, the whole ‘don’t talk to strangers’ thing.
Other times not so much.
People will ask how old she is, and when I tell them ‘almost 4’ I get the look. The look like I’m somehow not doing enough to get her to talk. Even with prompting.
It’s even worse if they can see she’s wearing a diaper. Heaven forbid, WHY isn’t your 4 year old POTTY TRAINED!?
I swear I can hear their internal dialogue.
‘You’re not doing enough.’
‘What kind of parent are you?’
‘You obviously haven’t tried everything in the book.
‘Just let her run around naked.’
Or ‘just put her in underwear’ or ‘put a pull up on over the underwear’
Like I haven’t tried everything. Like I haven’t attempted. Like I haven’t begged and pleaded and cried and thrown my own adult sized tantrum in hopes that she’ll Just. Do. It.
But she won’t do it for me. I know that. She’ll do it in her own time, I just don’t know when that time is.
I read with her and try so hard to get her to repeat after me. Sometimes she will. Others not so much.
I’ve tried bribing her to potty with Everything. Under. The. Sun.
Seriously people, I TRY.
But she has to want it too.
She rolled late. She sat up late. She walked late.
But she’s smart as a whip. I can see that.
And to all those people that always said ‘she’ll talk in her own time and then you’ll wish she’d just stop.’ You know, the old adage of ‘we teach them to walk and talk so that we can spend the rest of their lives telling them to sit down and shut up.’
I hate that. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
Do you know how badly I want to hear her voice say an ungarbled, fully understandable sentence? Do you know how badly I want to hear her tell me about her day? Do you know how badly I want to hear her ask the WHY questions over and over and over again until I want to rip my hair out??
Because that would mean my baby girl is communicating to me. That would mean I have a chance to get to know her and what her interests are, what she spends her day doing at daycare/preschool, who her favorite friend is and more importantly WHY that is.
I don’t want to have to drag out of her that ‘yes’ she colored or ‘no’ she did not.
I want to know her sense of humor. Because I know it’s there, but I don’t get to hear it.
I want to know WHY she doesn’t want to take a bath tonight.
I want to know what makes her love ‘monkey’ so much.
I want to know what SHE wants for dinner tonight. Or lunch tomorrow. Or what kind of ice cream she wants at the ice cream shop.
I want to hear her ask me why the sky is blue and the grass is green, and so many other things that I may or may not know the answer too.
I want to know my little girl more than I feel I do now.
And that feeling, that feeling of not knowing your 4 year old, is soul crushing and heart wrenching.
Update: I actually wrote this post almost a month ago, and felt it deserved to be published. The only change I made was the very first line where I originally said she was 'almost 4' so as not to confuse people after her birthday post. I felt it was important to post, but also to give a quick update. Bug has been wearing big girl underwear during the day for almost an entire week now. She still has accidents, but SHE wants to wear them, and has started to have near meltdowns when I try to put her in underwear. So I'm hoping that she's finally making the decision that she is ready, that it is time. She's going potty on the potty with no prompting at times and only a little prompting at others. We are changing daycare centers next week (hope to write about that later), and I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that we don't revert back to 'baby diapers' due to that change. I don't care that I'm doing a lot of extra laundry - anything to help get this girl in underwear full time :-)