He had been in a meeting with his boss and co-workers and they had discussed an upcoming vacation his boss is hosting.
We are going to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and we'll spend a few days playing in the snow.
What will probably happen is that Jason and his co-workers will spend a few days playing in the snow and Emily and I will stay warm and cozy inside.
Jason's boss told Jason that he was planning on hiring a babysitter for Emily for an evening so that we could all go out to eat. (Emily will be the only little one there.)
Jason was thrilled and couldn't wait to tell me.
(That was the good news.)
He then told me that we were staying across the street from a spa and he would watch Emily one day while I went to the spa.
I was quiet for a minute and then said, "Do you not know me at all?"
I probably wouldn't go to a spa even if someone paid me (unless it was just for a pedicure...and Jason may talk me into that) ... but I would never leave Emily with someone she didn't know no matter how much someone paid me.
Jason explained that the babysitter was older and more mature, and that his boss trusted her completely, and that I would have nothing to worry about.
"It's not at all about the babysitter," I said, "but everything about Emily, and I won't leave her alone."
And here is where this mommy's heart is tender to the point of having it be too much.
Other than me, there are two people who would say confidently that they can understand Emily when she talks: my sister Becca and Jason. And if you were to ask them they would tell you that they understand less than I understand, and there are times when even I don't have a clue what she's saying. I will ask her to say it again over and over again, and she will, patiently, until I figure it out.
When she's with me and she's out of her element, or if we are with people she doesn't know, she goes mostly silent, or she'll stop using her words...meaning that instead of trying to articulate, she'll keep her mouth closed and hum what she's saying. There are times I understand the hum more than I understand her words.
She's about as comfortable at my parent's house as she is at our house, but it takes a lot to get her to talk.
She's comfortable in her church class (sometimes), but she is mostly quiet.
She's been in school for almost 5 months, is still a little hesitant about it, and never talks. Her teacher was excited that Emily smiled at her the other day.
I went to school with Emily for a day to see if I could help her break out of her shell a little bit. I don't know that I accomplished that, but now that I know what she does every day, I can engage with her more about school. I can ask about her classmates by name, and I can ask about specific activities.
(On the chance that you really want to tell me to teach her sign language...which I'm doing...keep this in mind: Emily's three year old version of sign language is almost guaranteed to be different that what an adult's version of sign language would be, and even if it were the same, you would have to have someone on the other end who actually knows sign language.)
I recently played a video of Emily counting from 1-20 for Em's feeding therapist, who is also a speech therapist. (We can't see her in that capacity because our insurance won't cover it.) I asked her opinion about Emily's speech: is it typical as far as development goes in regards to a speech delay.
In her professional opinion she doesn't think that Em's speech will improve much more than where she's at right now, without surgery to repair her cleft palate.
(We've known all along that she has a cleft palate, but a lot of kids learn to talk in spite of it, and we've been waiting for Em's speech to develop enough to know what we were dealing with.)
I scheduled an appointment with the cranio-facial team at our children's hospital and we'll go in a couple of weeks.
With ALL of that said...
The amount of anxiety I feel when I leave Emily would surprise you.
There are days where I still cry as I drive away from Em's school.
If she shows the slightest hesitation or concern about being somewhere, my mommy heart wants to scoop her up and never let her go.
The balance between protecting her and letting her spread her wings is a hard thing for me to find.
Knowing that if Jason and I aren't with her, Emily is mostly helpless...I don't know that there's been anything harder for me to deal with so far in her little life.
I recently heard a news report about a three year old who was in his mom's car when it was stolen. When the thief realized that there was a child in the back of the car he abandoned the car and the child. The mom had left her cell phone in the car and when the police called it the three year old was able to answer it, which led to the police being able to find him.
The same night I heard that story I had a nightmare about the same thing happening to Emily, only she wasn't able to answer the phone. I woke up with my heart racing.
(It's no wonder my hair is going gray.)
Em's inability to communicate won't be forever, and for that I'm grateful.
But until then...
If I turn down an offer of babysitting please don't take it personally. Please understand that I'm doing what I can to make certain that Emily has the most emotionally safe environment that she can.
There are so many aspects of Em's life that I have no control over - that I can do nothing about - but when she's with me my sweet girl talks her little heart out, and I can't take that away from her.