Something has been going through my mind lately as I continue to carefully study Sissy and make my own observations and evaluations to send to the developmental pediatrician. One of the things that I've become very aware of and truly miss, is having a deeper relationship with my older girls.
By the mid teens, most teens are having rather philosophical conversations with their parents as they try out their wings and consider new ideas and beliefs, gain more knowledge and maturity. There begins to be talk of a future as an adult and they share desires and hopes. I realize that this might sound more deep than many teens may get these days, but I do know many, many parents who are having these experiences with their teens at this stage.
I truly don't think Sissy imagines anything other than returning to her orphanage in China. She can't even begin to imagine getting older, much less being an adult. She still thinks living on the street holding a cardboard sign is a viable option. She's memorized our conversation about being an adult and just fills in her side of the conversation with things I've said. It goes something like this...
Me: So, what do you think will happen when you are an adult?
Sissy: I know I need to work.
Me: What would you like to do?
Sissy: I don't have any skills.
Me: What are you doing to learn skills?
Sissy: Obey mommy. Not lie.
Me: But you aren't doing those things. You aren't obeying and you are sneaking and lying a lot.
Me: Do you have a plan?
Sissy: (starts looking confused)
Me: Have you been doing your speech exercises?
Sissy: Not every day.
Me: Have you been doing anything to help yourself learn and grow?
Sissy: You said I'm not growing any more. (she's thinks I'm talking about height)
Me: Do you understand what I'm talking about?
Sissy: I will live outside.
Me: I've already told you that you can't do that.
Sissy: (nothing - she can't go any further)
Communication is everything. How do we communicate with a newborn baby who isn't verbal or anyone for that matter who isn't verbal? We do it through looks, actions, touch, care, etc... What happens, though, when children don't respond to this?
A healthy newborn will grow up and learn to speak. It will develop and conversations will go from a mother's soothing words, to encouraging and imitating baby's sounds, to repeating real words, and, eventually, to having basic conversations that will include questions by the child. As the child's knowledge and experience grows, the conversations become more complex, the child's ideas gain depth and understanding of an ever expanding world. The parent can broach new subjects and the child can respond and vice versa.
This doesn't happen with Sissy and happens with tremendous delay with Jie Jie and Blossom. I wonder where we'll be three years from now?