A year ago, Simone didn’t talk. There were a few words, but she was mostly a silent child. Her spoken vocabulary hovered around nine or ten words total. She had just come off a terrible sleeping period that put as much strain on my marriage as anything ever has. She was, in many respects, still very much a baby. And babies aren’t people. Not really.
This last year has been transformative. We put Simone in speech therapy and I lost track of how many words she uses somewhere around Christmas. Now, it isn’t unusual to hear her come out with a sentence of 15 or 20 words. That’s huge. With all that talk has come a great deal of personality.
Part of my exhaustion today is that I inexplicably came down with a monster headache. This happens to me about twice a year. It lasts for maybe six hours and then I’m fine. It’s weird. Anyway, I went into the bedroom to lay down. A few moments later, in comes Simone. She wants to lay on the bed with me. She has brought her new toy boat and her new toy fish which nana and grandpa have given her for her birthday. She gives them to me because they will help me feel better (“Daddy, you need my fish.”), and then she lays down against me (“Mommy said, ‘sit down and read to me’, but I said, ‘I just want to go and lay down with daddy.’”).
She can’t sit still because she’s three, and my headache got a little worse, but the motivation is there. And this kind of thing isn’t unusual for her. She is remarkably compassionate. And it’s not something I feel I can take any credit for as a parent. Cate and I do our best, but the constant concern she shows for the well-being of others is beyond anything we could have taught her.
She is asleep now and fell asleep excited for her birthday in the way only small children can be exited about things. I am excited, too. I am excited to see her grow up because over the last year, I’ve started to see the person she’ll become and I like that person very much.