Saturday, September 15, 2012

I wish I knew

Any parent would agree that it's tough when your child is sick. You never like seeing your little one in pain or discomfort. When Sophie gets sick, it's often a guessing game of what's wrong. She's not yet able to tell us what hurts, so when she started to run a fever Monday night, it wasn't long before I started to feel guilty- guilty for not being able to figure out whether she had a sore throat, a tummy ache, an earache, etc. It kills me that I sometimes can't figure out what to do for her to make her better. Thankfully this time around, whatever bug she had only seemed to set her back about a day and a half. After that, it was fitting that her 16 month old sister, Emerson, picked it up. And just how it was with Sophie, we played the same guessing game with her baby sister.

Back at school on Wed., Sophie's teacher (Mrs. F) and 1:1 assistant (Miss H) were telling me how great her eye contact and patience is becoming. She's more focused and verbal- even getting a little bit of attitude. When Miss H was calling her name (repeatedly) on the playground, Sophia looked over her shoulder to her and yelled, "WHAT!?!". Another time, Miss H told her she had to wait until after breakfast before they could paint; Sophie boldly told her, "I can't wait!" I try hard not to laugh when I hear these stories. I'll take the back-talk if it's being used in the right context. Hell, I'll take any talking in the right context!

For whatever reason, Thursday was more challenging. She was incredibly grumpy and whiny, both at school and at home. And once again it turned into a guessing game of what was bothering her. Was she still feeling sick? Was she annoyed by something she was wearing? Was her iPad too slow in loading her favorite video for the 116th time? Was her juice not the right flavor today? Was she pissed off at Elmo for whatever reason? I wish I knew. Her whining only seemed to put her sister in a similar whiny mood, and whatever I tried to offer her at that point was greeted by a shriek of disapproval and a shoving away of whatever it was. I couldn't make her happy, no matter how hard I tried. Yeah, that's depressing.

But you know, as frustrating and tear-jerking as those challenging times are, those joyous and fleeting moments of clarity and brilliance make me forget a lot of the heartache. Today was my birthday. We decided to take the girls to a botanical garden, hoping Sophie could romp around and get some fresh air amongst the scenery. We found ourselves in a live butterfly exhibit- the kind where hundreds of butterflies flutter around freely in a greenhouse full of exotic plants and flowers. I can't remember the last time I saw Sophie that excited. Smiles, giggles, happy stimming, trying to get as close to some of the little guys as she could. The place was rather busy, but I realized that not once while we were in there did I care to see if anyone was staring at her or wondering why she may have been a little too loud or a little too excited. She was truly in her own little paradise, and that's all that mattered. It was beautiful to watch. Wouldn't it be great if we all could find something to be so utterly excited about?

Sophie gave me the greatest birthday present as well. This evening she tried to tuck me in with Elmo, Zoe, and a brown teddy bear. She told each of us, "I love you, good night," followed by a kiss (which is what I say to her at bedtime every night). I was last in line, and when she got to me, she giggled and tried to kiss my nose after saying those precious words. I grabbed her and squeezed her tight, enjoying the fact that she wasn't resisting my hug. It was just perfect. It reassured me in a big way- almost as if to say that even if I may not always understand what's going on in her mind or world, it's ok because she knows that I will love her unconditionally. And she loves me just the same.

Thank you, Sophie.