Brooke has a new thing lately. More accurately, she has a LOT of new things lately. The past couple of weeks have seen huge developmental upswings. It has felt like one of those watershed moments in time where a lot of hard work seems to be coming together all at once. Where small, slow baby steps suddenly give way to quantum leaps.
Maybe I’m just seeing her progress differently. Maybe it simply looks different from where I’m standing ~ here at home, closer to the action. Perhaps these are no more than the same old miracles that happen every day, but I’m recognizing them for what they are. Either way, it’s a wonder to behold.
She’s been exercising her will.
“Brooke, it’s time to put away the markers and wash up for dinner.”
“No it’s not.”
“Yes, sweetheart, it’s time to start finishing up.”
“No it’s not. I’m doing what I’m doing.”
I’m doing what I’m doing. How I love that!
“Brooke, baby, Mama’s going to count down now.”
“No, you’re not. Not yet!”
She’s been adding colloquialisms to her speech, coloring it in with detail.
“Oh no! I hurted my foot!”
“Oh, what happened, honey?”
Her usual answer would be “I hurted it.”
“I banged it really hard.”
Not just “I banged it” but “I banged it really hard.”
She tried out a ‘why’ question!
One night last week, Katie wasn’t feeling well and she headed off to bed early. As Brooke showered and got ready for bed, I reminded her to keep her voice down so that Katie could get some much needed sleep. She has a habit, when asked to be quiet, of SHOUTING, “We have to be quiet!” but we’re working on it. I nudged again, using the language she knows from school, “We have to remember to use our #1 voice, OK?”
As I dried her off, she asked, “Why are we being quiet again?”
The ‘why?’ Oh, I don’t need to tell you, do I? The ‘why’!!! But even the ‘again’ ~ a superfluous word, really. Simply there to round out her question, to make it more conversational than simply purposeful. It was just so different than her usual speech.
“Because Katie’s sleeping.”
She uses ‘oh yeah’ all the time, but it is a scripted response to yes or no questions. The intonation is always exactly the same and it is ALWAYS used to mean ‘yes’. But this ~ this was entirely different. This was ‘Oh yeah, I forgot.’ Like “Gee, I coulda had a V-8.” It was natural, expected.
But my favorite ~ my absolute, hands-down favorite new development is becoming a pretty regular thing.
Out of the blue, Brooke stops what she’s doing and comes over to me. Sometimes she looks at me, more often she doesn’t. But no matter what she’s doing, she stops to declare, in a loud, earnest voice, “I feel like Brooke.” I have no idea what she really means by it, but it makes my heart soar.
In and of itself, the statement is blissfully devoid of judgement. It begs no comparison to anyone or anything else. It honors of her very being – her Brooke-ness. It is intrinsically accepting and celebratory. I find it breathtakingly beautiful.
I tell her she is the Brookiest Brooke there ever was. And that I can’t think of a better thing to be.