There are many things I feel that C misses out on by being one of four. If I had fewer kids, I’d have more time and energy to devote to doing her physiotherapy exercises. I’d be less tired at the end of the day and I’d have five more minutes to put her in the gait trainer. She’d spend less time sitting her in her high chair doing nothing while I nagged P to do his home reading or dealt with B’s endless demands for “uppa.” I might be able to afford to work less and focus on her more. I could get her in the pool more than once a week.
But one area where I feel like it’s a huge boon to her is language. She hears people talking all day long. Recently our speech therapist suggested that we really focus on repeating words. She had a term for it that I’ve forgotten. But, for example, you’re playing blocks and you say “Look at the block! Are you hitting the block? Should I get another block? Did you like that block?” Eventually she’ll clue into what a block is and try to approximate the word. It can feel a little weird and artificial, but when you have a typical two-year old, she does that for you. B is talking more than C, but she still talks mostly in single words – like “yuck”, “eat”, “baba (bottle)”, “want more”. With her limited vocabulary she repeats those words or short phrases many, many, many times a day, and eventually C picks them up too. A few months ago it felt like B was eons ahead with language, but now I’d say that C can say a good portion of the words that B does. She doesn’t use them as frequently or as fluidly – she has less control over her mouth, and the lack of trunk controls makes her a bit breathy. But she says them. She even has a few of her own like “walker” and “stuck”.
A few nights ago we were realising what leaps and bounds C has made with talking recently, and we were feeling so lucky about it. Which is funny because if two years ago you’d have told me I was feeling lucky about anything to do with CP, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But over time, perspectives change – a lot.