“Baba baba baba?” Gigi says as she excitedly makes her way toward me with her hurried crab-like crawl. Since Gigi can’t pronounce “m” she calls me “Baba”. She has blossomed and progressed so much this summer. Cruising and pulling up on all kinds of furniture, she’s not afraid anymore. Climbing stairs and standing up on the couch, I can’t turn my back otherwise she might do something dare-devilish. She can now walk if someone holds both of her hands.
She repeats everything we say like a little parrot.
“Gigi, we’re going to Maine,” I say.
“Maine!” she repeats.
“What’s in the cup, Gigi?”
“Cup,” she says.
“What color is the cup?”
“Lellow,” she replies accurately describing it.
She sings her ABCs, far from perfect but seems to know the song’s intonation and what part comes next. She does the same with pop songs, knowing what words are coming and if she doesn’t say it she’ll sign it. “Rockabye baby, rockabye” we hear coming from the radio as she signs baby.
When shown flash cards or a picture book I’m pleasantly surprised at the words Gigi knows. Now if she was to just say the words without the picture you probably wouldn’t know what she was talking about because her pronunciation needs a lot of work but she has a wide vocabulary.
Has it been simply the timing of her development or is this sudden burst of accomplishments a result of summer? Her sisters have been home and had transitioned from their roles of students to their summer roles of actresses, singers, authors, movie producers and artists as Gigi paid full attention hanging onto their every word.
Summer also allowed us to emerge from our cocoons. We left our routine visits to the grocery store and school lot for pickup for more exciting places like the city of Montreal, the horses in Saratoga, the hustle and bustle of New York City, the lake in Maine, and the beaches of Massachusetts and New Jersey exposing Gigi to new stimuli, ideas and concepts.
I am honestly at times surprised by some of her abilities and am realizing that I’ve underestimated her.
I could have spent time this summer taking Gigi to extra therapy. She was recommended to try treadmill therapy to help her walk so we could have trekked weekly to Mass General for a session. But we didn’t do it. We didn’t pursue extra physical therapy or extra speech therapy. And over the course of two months I’ve seen the biggest improvement I’ve seen in a while. Even her therapists are impressed and thrilled. Sometimes life experiences are therapy enough.