It’s 10:30 at night and she is still awake. She seems blissfully unaware of the fact that she’ll have to be up at 6:00am which means that I am waking up at 5:30. She continues to giggle as I go over to her bed for the umpteenth time to tell her to go to sleep. Her head pops under the blanket as she fakes sleep. After a “Go to sleep!” and a kiss she settles down. I sigh and finish my cup of tea before getting ready for bed.
A few minutes later I hear the bathroom light flicker on. Light streams into the room. She’s not in her bed. I hurry to the bathroom to close the door so that the light doesn’t wake the other girls and to see what Little Miss is up to. She’s standing in the bathroom with pee soaking her pj’s. She couldn’t undo the zipper on her footsie pj’s. I make a mental note to not let her wear them to bed the next night and to give her less water before bed. I help her out of her jammies and give her a wet soapy cloth the clean herself up. Then it’s off to her cubbie to find her clean clothes.
Having used the bathroom and in fresh clothes she snuggles back under her covers and gives me a sloppy kiss goodnight. I turn back to my area and don’t even bother to look at the time, it will just stress me out. Time to sleep.
Last September Milagros joined our “dorm family”. Her name means Miracles. She is just that. Doctors weren’t sure if she would live but she did. Miss Milly as we call her is a bundle of joy. Life before she came was much easier but now it is so much more full. She brings a smile and joy to each day.
Sadly there are many things that Milly didn’t and doesn’t understand or know how to do by herself. She is Deaf just like all my other girls. Unfortunately many in Mexico and around the world think stupid, incapable, disabled, broken…. Milly is nine years old, she was eight when she came. She went EIGHT YEARS without having a clear form of communication! Eight years without having anything explained to her or having a way to express her thoughts! Eight years without being told “I love you” or even knowing that she has a NAME! Most of the boys and girls come to our school without having a language. Sure the would make up jesters and things to get by a little at home but never to a point of full communication.
As a result of missing out on language in those yearly years many of our kids have delayed education. So learning is a bit harder for some of them. Try learning to read and write a language that you have never spoken or heard, just after learning that you have a name. Not so easy…. I admire all of my girls for that.
For Milly it’s more than just missing out on language in the early years. There are some things that just aren’t clicking for her or that she does that just don’t make sense. The first few months she was with me we had to watch her like a hawk. You never knew when she would cover her tongue with blue marker, pick up wood chips and eat them, lick a plywood wall or walk up to a bush and bite a twig off. Thankfully those days have pretty much past.
You would think that Milly came from a horribly neglected background but she didn’t she came from a home with parents that adore her! That’s part of the problem. They let their fear of her deafness get in the way. As a result she never developed her fine motor skills because they did EVERYTHING for her. There are many things that she still after months can’t sign properly. We have slowly been teaching her the basics, that she has a name, that everything has a name, how to hold a fork, how to wipe herself, to change her clothes, wash her hands, how to be nice to people….
I know that it’s more than delayed education and learning. There is something else wrong, I don’t know what. Milly’s mom and dad have never had her tested, our school doesn’t offer testing. There isn’t really an accurate way to test her because her level of understanding concepts is still so low. Some have suggested autism. I don’t really know.
What I do know is that I will continue to love, to teach, to help, to encourage and pray for God’s grace and patience. Life is so much better with Milly in it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now that she is visiting her parents for the summer I miss her. I’m praying that they will realize that she is a beautiful little girl, capable of so much! I pray that they will desire to learn to talk to her in her language, Mexican Sign, and stop talking to her with their mouths and gesturing. They have wonderful daughter who is waiting to share with them if only they will be willing to realize that she CAN.
The fall isn’t too far away and I’m excited to see what new adventures it will bring for Milly. I love and miss that Little Miss!
This post is part of Mindful Mothering Mondays,