Early this morning Earlybird ran out into the family room, jumped on the couch and said, "All done paint, Mama!" I looked at him in disbelief and repeated, "All done paint, EB?" He looked back at me as if to say, "Yes, Mother dear, didn't you hear what I just said?"
"Yeah! All done paint!" he reiterated. (And yes, we do painting here bright and early in the morning - he's not called Earlybird for nothing.)
I can't tell you how happy this makes me. A few months back his speech therapist and I worked very hard at every session (and dh and I did at home) to get EB to tell us he was "All Done" with an activity when he was, in fact, all done. He rarely cooperated with that request - he would just move on to the next thing. Sometimes he would say "Yeah" when we would ask if he was all done. But most times he ignored our language prompts - even the picture card showing the sign for all done.
And here today, without any prompting from me - no picture card, no reminder - he runs out from the kitchen, leaving his latest creation to dry on the island, and tells me matter of factly he's All Done. And not just All Done. All Done Paint, Mama. Four whole words, clearly said and fully meant - a sentence, is what I would call that. :)
Yesterday, Earlybird and I were reading books together on his bed. As I began to read Machines at Work for the third time, I suddenly felt EB's little hands on my face, turning my head towards him. Looking me right in the eye, smiling, he said "Ah uh oo, Mama." And when I (heart bursting) said back to him, "I love you too, Earlybird," using our sign for that phrase, he returned the sign and the sentiment once again! And then followed it up with "Big huuuuug!" holding me tightly in his arms. Oh the joy! The connection! The language!
Oh, the love.
This seems to be how EB's speech is coming out. He is using more words and phrases now, almost always unprompted. It seems to me that he is becoming more comfortable with language - forming it and using it - and as that comfort grows we can hear (and I think can expect) more wonderful interactions like these.
Sometimes his language is quite clear, and we know just what he means: All done paint, Mama. He was telling me clearly he was done with his painting for now and ready to do something else. Sometimes his language is unclear, and we work with him on his pronunciation, and try to piece together what he means.
And sometimes his language is unclear, but we still know just what he means: Ah uh oo, Mama. It was not a moment for correction; it was a moment for connection. There was no missing the love in this boy's eyes, or the love in his arms as he hugged me. At moments like these the language comes second, the love comes first.
Ah uh oo too, Earlybird.