These last two weeks have been crazy.
They’ve been crazy with good things (like promising work projects and planning our upcoming family vacation) and some downright icky things (tummy bugs, waiting for Geoffrey’s test results to come back).
But in the midst of it all, I’ve got some amazing news. Really, really amazing news.
Jo Jo’s verbal explosion.
Over the last year and a half, Jo Jo’s speech development first slowed, than stalled, then reversed itself entirely. We watched, frustrated and helpless, as she stopped saying words that we knew she knew. It took months of persistence and investigation (it turns out Jo Jo has some pretty significant hearing loss) and hours and hours of speech therapy, but our little girl has turned a corner.
We’re hearing full sentences now, unprompted. “I want milk.” “Give me a hug.” “Watch Yo Gabba Gabba with Teddy.”
And finally, the best of all. I walked into the house with her last Thursday after school, and as I took off her pink princess coat and kissed her little rosebud nose she cupped my face in her hands, beamed, and said, clear as a bell, “I love you Mommy.”
My eyes welled up and I was just about to burst into tears (silently kvelling over this moment that I’d waited for for oh-so-long) when she puked all over me. Apparently a nasty stomach bug is making the rounds of the Stamford preschools.
But while it lasted it was a beautiful moment.
Teddy’s growing up.
Since September, Teddy’s been in a drop off toddler program two mornings a week. Those first few months, it seemed an absolute disaster. He’d yell and scream at drop off, and when I came to pick him up I’d find my usually loquacious son huddled morosely in a corner.
I wondered if maybe he just wasn’t ready, or if maybe all the stress we’d gone through at home recently was just making him even more clingy to me. But last December, a couple weeks before the Christmas break, he stopped crying and actually started interacting with the teachers and other kids in the program. He talked to me about going to school and seeing “Miss Wendy” and how the “mommies always come back.”
When school started again the second week of January, I wondered if we’d be back to square one again with him. I braced myself for the inevitable screaming and hysterics at drop off.
I made a big show of packing up his little Thomas the Train backpack that morning. Diapers, wipes, a change of clothing, his Epi Pen (“I always take my Epi Pen,” he told me solemnly.) As we walked together to the car, he grabbed my hand and said, “I’m a big boy now. I don’t cry.”
I wasn’t so sure. I figured I’d reserve judgement until we actually got to the classroom. But as soon as we walked in, he let go of my hand, said “Bye Mommy” and went straight to the Play Doh table without a backwards glance. He didn’t even look back as I left the room.
I cried a little bit as I drove home. It’s a rite of passage I’d been expecting but wasn’t quite ready for. But when I picked him up two hours later, he ran straight to me and showed me the stamp he’d gotten in class. “I missed you Mommy!” he said, then, proudly, “I don’t cry because the mommies always come back.”
Then there’s Geoffrey, the youngest. Who’s now everywhere and into everything at once.
Literally overnight he went from a cute little bunny hop that just barely got him from one object to the next to full on lightening speed mode. It started last week, when I left him in Jo Jo and Teddy’s room while I changed Teddy’s diaper in the bathroom. I heard some loud protest crying from Geoffrey as we exited the room, then silence. I figured he was entertaining himself with some appropriate (or not so appropriate object) but then literally ten seconds later he showed up in the hallway, singing “Da da da” at the top of his lungs. When he saw me, he broke out in a huge grin, then shot me this proud look like, “I found you!”
“Baby Geoffrey!” Teddy said in amazement. “You’re crawling!”
Oh, and he’s pulling to stand too.
And insisting on feeding himself, which means mealtimes have been a (very fun) disaster.
Clearly, he didn’t get the memo that because he’s visually impaired, it’s supposed to take him longer to figure all this sort of developmental stuff out.
Finally, I’m saving the best news for last.
After only two rounds of chemotherapy, my dad’s gone into remission.
I was nervous writing these words, because the superstitious part of me doesn’t want to jinx anything. But I just can’t hold it in any more. I really can’t.
He has physical and occupational therapy almost every day at home, and each day, he’s getting stronger and stronger. I can hear it in his words, in his voice, in the way he talks about the future. My parents are coming to visit us in a few weeks. “It feels good to actually plan again,” my father said to me yesterday, and I know exactly what he means.
I know there will still be setbacks. Days where I still cry, days where I just don’t want to get out of bed, where it’s a struggle to get showered and dressed and keep it together in front of the kids. But right now, at this very moment, everything seems to be exactly where it needs to be.