Bryan and I have often said that when Dora the Explorer is on TV, our house could be burning down around her and Avery wouldn't notice. She LOVES her some Dora, and a few other Noggin shows as well. Just a few minutes ago, Bryan woke our groggy girl from a late afternoon nap. To avoid a "meltdown" we put on her beloved Dora while she thaws out and drinks her rice milk. I walked in after laying Kaylee down for her nap to join my sweet girl on the sofa while she watched... we always hold hands and snuggle, but today... she gazed at me.. for like 5 whole seconds with a big smile on her face... as if to say "Hi Mama... thanks for sitting with me, I am so happy to see you!" Avery often "glances" at me and Bryan... to check in or make sure we are still there... but a gaze, a true gaze is rare. Rare and precious. She has been doing this from time to time this week and I love it. It isn't something measurable on a developmental assessment, or something many of you with "neurotypical" children can even really understand or appreciate, but to me it is a step towards the holy grail. It means she is connecting.
Earlier in the day we went to a birthday party. They are getting easier for Bryan and I to tolerate... especially if we bow out a bit early before Avery is expected to sit and eat pizza and cake... neither of which she will touch. It was a bounce house place with several types of equipment for the kiddos to play on. There was a big slide, and I hiked up to help Avery get to the top (since her motor planning/strength still prevents her from doing this on her own) and watched her slide down the big slide. Before I could reach the bottom, some friends of mine helped her off and she was visually checking in with their FACES to find me.... and once I reached the bottom, she looked right into my face and was relieved, and we went to the next thing hand in hand. I know it seems silly to celebrate such natural human tendencies... but for 15 months we have been watching Avery slip further and further away from us, and now, even if just for a few moments of each day... just maybe, she is finding her way back. We are here sweet baby girl.... and even if it takes a lifetime, we will be waiting to welcome you with open arms.