OK, well... not quite.
This week I'm helping out at our church's vacation bible school. I requested to be placed with any special needs kids that signed up and today they placed me with a little girl that has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She's in 2nd grade and doing very well. I honestly wouldn't have known she was different with the exception of a little speech delay issues, but what kid is perfect? None of them are. (Sorry if this is the first time you've heard your child is NOT perfect... reality sucks right)
I teared up a bit when they told me I would be her buddy. First because I just feel sympathy for any child that has special needs, and second because what she has is completely preventable. My heart just aches for her that she has a "label" because of her careless mother. The child is adopted (thank God, because obviously her birth mother was careless) and her adoptive parents seem to have done a great job. She was so smart and happy and when snack time came she was quick to tell us she couldn't have cheese, because her doctor said so. Such a sweet girl.
So since I was volunteering for VBS, Lillian spent the morning in the nursery. That's right, you heard me. The NURSERY. For the first time ever she was left in the care of someone other than a medical professional or a family member. And she L-O-V-E-D it. So much that when I came in to make her a bottle she didn't even notice me. And when I came to pick her up she was all smiles for the nursery volunteers and didn't even look at me or acknowledge the fact that we had been separated for 3 hours. I was really hoping for a big grin for mama, or maybe a reach, but I got nothing. Just the left over smiles and cues for the sweet ladies in the nursery that took care of her and the other babies. ::sigh:: I was replaced in about .2 seconds for new toys and new faces.
Tonight when Phil put Lillian to bed she wouldn't go to sleep and ended up crying. Now I know this is ridiculous but I was SO relieved because it meant she still needed me. This child very rarely ever cries when we put her down, so I soaked up every minute of the snuggles and read Fox in Sox while I held her and she helped me with the pages and occasionally reached up to twirl my earrings between her fingers. She went to sleep after I laid her back down and told her goodnight. It's like she knew I needed that.
I'll admit, even though I have a passion for helping kids, the main reason I volunteered for VBS was to give Lillian this opportunity. For the rest of the week she'll be in the nursery from 9am-noon watching other kids her age do their "thing". She absolutely loves seeing other babies. As soon as she sees them she gets the biggest smile on her face and says a quick "AHH" and waits for them to respond. This girl is a social butterfly.
Day one most certainly paid off. When we got home tonight she CRAWLED. It was backwards... but so what?! Lillan used her arms to push off, put her knees underneath her body, and crawled backwards. It was like a scoot-crawl, but a very good scoot-crawl. She made it about 4 feet before backing into the chair in the living room. This is coming from a baby who for the first time sat straight up without using her arms just this past Sunday. She's making progress my friends. Big progress.
And just because, here are some fun pictures from the past few days...
Hanging out at the Farmer's Market Fountain