Watching Daniel Bloom

The Power of 3 Small Words (and they aren’t “Happy Mother’s Day”)

Posted on: May 7, 2011


Today was a good great day. At speech therapy this morning, Daniel was at his best – happy, smiling, excited, playful…generally just a joy to be around. He even greeted his speech therapist with a big, “Hi Ally!” when we arrived, looking right in her eyes – which was a first for him.

He kept it up all the way through the session, babbling away (in his incomprehensible way), clearly showing us what he wanted to play, engaging with us both, cooperating when it was time to tidy up…

And then it happened. He caught a glance of his current favourite game at therapy – a game with 4 “treefrogs” in it. We were already in the middle of an activity, so Ally told him we would need to finish up first before we could start a new game.

Well, Daniel was not in the mood to wait, and so,  out of nowhere but in the clearest voice he could muster, he said,

“I want treefrogs!”

That’s right – pronoun, verb, noun…three whole words, all in the right order, with clear meaning and intent. You cannot imagine what I felt like at that moment. My eyes welled up with tears and I thought my heart was going to burst. The intensity of that feeling can’t be underestimated. It was a breakthrough – a huge, enormous breakthrough that we’ve been waiting for – for what seems like forever. I seriously wanted to run, and jump and scream and yell – I was so so so happy. I know it’s just one sentence, and we have a long, long, long way to go, but it’s a beginning. And that’s huge. It also happened to be the best Mother’s Day present he ever could give me.

It struck me at that moment that I’m actually pretty lucky. I can promise you that if I had not spent so many days and many more sleepless nights wondering if he would ever really talk – well, if I hadn’t been filled with that intense fear, there’s no way that I would have felt the opposite side of the coin. That total, complete elation, just at the sound of three simple words.

And I realized that one of the things about having a kid who doesn’t do things “on time” or in the “typical” way is that when they finally get there, each small gain is a reason for big celebrations. I also know that we will have many, many more reasons to celebrate, and I look forward to each one.

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