One thing my daughter continually teaches me, is to celebrate each achievement no matter how small it is to the rest of the world. She works so hard to achieve things like holding a spoon or standing for a few seconds (at age 4, with lots of help, but she was standing!) or learning to recognize the people in her family from the rest of the world. These little steps are huge for us, as we know how hard she has worked for them.
Recently, she achieved one of my most favorite milestones: kisses.
My daughter is non-verbal and while she may develop words in future, right now our communication is through signs, gestures and facial expressions. You might imagine how wonderful this new skill is. We are a family of goodnight kisses, have a good day at school kisses and boo boo kisses, so this milestone is one to get excited about.
Eve takes a person's hand and presses it against her cheek. Then she takes their hand and gives it a kiss. This is reserved for her favorite people and it is a sweet sign of affection. I love that she has found her own special way to communicate love and that she is reaching out to her special people in this way.
Parents whose children meet the developmental milestone later than their peers or who are unable to meet them altogether, often feel out of the parenting conversations. We have a tendency to compare our children; who walked at what age and what their first words were.
It takes a while to embrace that our child is on their own journey and their successes will look different. They may have to work harder without a guarantee that the skill is achieved. We may need time to grieve some things that aren't there yet. And we most definitely need to throw a party when that hard work pays off and a new skill is learned.
For us, the pay off this time was kisses.
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