Friday, February 27, 2015

the orange dump truck...

Recently, Grace has shown a tendency to pick one toy that she prefers.  Here at the feeding clinic, she is fixated on an orange dump truck.

She typically finds it every day and will pick it up and carry it around. 
Sometimes she likes to sit and spin it's wheels.  Over and over and over.

 Out of all the toys here, this is clearly her favorite.
 A few days ago, she was holding it and a little boy wanted to play with it.  When Grace put it down, he went to pick it up and his mother stopped him.  Telling him, no that was Grace's toy.  He promptly threw a fit.  So mom took him out of the waiting area into the feeding room.  He continued to cry.  Grace stood there watching him.  Then, she picked up the dump truck and walked into the room with him.  She put the truck down at his feet and stepped back.

I said to him, 'Grace is sharing it with you.  You can play with it.'  So he picked up the truck to play with it.  Grace just smiled.  My sweet and special girl shared.  Intentionally.  To provide comfort to another child.

I was almost in tears.  Sharing is something that moms spend untold hours trying to instill in our children from a very young age.  However, this is not something that we have actively tried to train Grace to do.  She is not one to typically play with a toy for very long and due to her developmental delays she chooses baby toys.    When they were all little, her brothers would allow her to play with a toy until she got bored and then they would just pick it back up.  We never made her share because we were usually so darn happy she was showing a preference for something and using her hands.

When it was time for the boy to have his feeding session, Grace picked up the orange dump truck and walked out of the room.

We have long suspected that there is more to Grace than we have been able to tap into.  It is difficult to get a sense of what a person is capable of when they are non-verbal.  But this uninterrupted time of being with Grace has shown me that there is untapped potential in there.  Our job going forward will be to figure out how to reach her and help her grow into it.

As difficult as it has been to be away from home and my other loves, this time is precious to me.  I always dreamed of mother daughter time when I became a mom.  My visions included mani/pedi sessions, trips to Manhattan, shopping and lunches at fun tea houses or funky cafes.  You know, girl stuff.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my heart's desire would be fulfilled in a feeding clinic.

My love for Grace has always been larger and more encompassing than I thought possible.  In talking to other moms of special needs kids, it's just the way we love these little humans whose special needs are more visible than the rest of ours.  But this time has been a balm to my soul.  A gift of encouragement from a gracious and loving God.  As our third week draws to a close, I wanted to make sure I remembered the gifts and not just the sleepless nights, isolation and loneliness that have been my companions these past weeks.



Linda said...

That is really amazing, Ann! So many steps required in order to give that child the truck. She has to be aware that he is in distress and why and understand that she can help! I'm so happy for you that you have a glimpse of what Grace can do. Have you explored language aids for her? I'm not sure what they're called, but talking apps?
I have to now read the older posts to see how the feeding is going!

Anonymous said...

What a great story. This time alone with Grace is giving you the space and quiet to see more of who she is and what she is capable of...what a surprise blessing to come out of it. Jamye