I teach a class of girls from eight to eleven years old, and I happened to mention Mr. Rogers this evening, and no one had heard of him. I could feel my face fall as I thought of this. I tried to explain to them what he was like, and what the show was like. He is on DVD at our local library now. There is something about him which seems to affect me now as much as then, and, I can't help thinking, maybe even more than when I was a child. There is so much background to what he is saying now, that what he says fills in more experience than it used to do. I daresay this is more Mr. Rogers than you're used to hearing about from anyone these days, but it really has been quite astonishing to go back to him again. "It's you I like" has made me a better person the last few days, more than any goals I have made for myself have done. He says, that, too, now that I think about it--that it is hard to grow, unless you can be accepted for who you are right now. That simple idea helps me with myself, and with other people, too.
Isabel has some delays in receptive and expressive speech, which seem to be lessening lately. I'm encouraged by this, but confused about how much to worry, or to do. I know that if she had been my first child, I would have patiently waited and done nothing, and been sure it was the correct course. I am not so sure this is the correct course now, but neither am I sure I want to jump into evaluations and therapy, as helpful as I know they can be. I can't help feeling, in the back of my mind, that this, this way Isabel is "doing" language, is the way she has done everything else. She was watched, and studied, and she has done these two things for a long time, and then she has done it, all of the sudden. And I see a kinship there, with liking to read the manual of a camera from front to back before I turn it on, with the almost unconquerable desire to "start at the beginning", no matter how ridiculously far back that may be, and no matter how repetitive it may be, rather than to jump in the middle. But, I might be wrong. And she might need help. So we're easing our way into the pool, and I'm almost thankful for the wait list and endless backlogs before we can see the audiologist, and the developmental pediatrician, the speech therapist, and possibly the regional center. I'm hoping to somehow travel both paths, I suppose. Wait, and not wait.
In the meantime, I'm enjoying who she is. This evening, after James went to bed, Isabel and I looked at "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "Colors". She smiled and roared quietly some more, but it was the "Colors" book that piqued her interest. She turns to the yellow page, and says, "ba: ba: ba:" for the duck, then turns to the blue page, and signs "butterfly" with her hands apart, with many flappings. On the orange page she says "shhhh" for "fish". We talked about strawberries on the red page, and I signed "strawberry" a few times. She liked putting my hands together to make the sign.
Isabel also likes "What Does the Baby Say?", by Karen Katz. She gives her own version of most of what the baby says. Most of her versions are imitations of the rhythm and intonation, rather than the words. James is this way, too. Isabel's "talking" reminds me of the saxophone in Disney's "Fun with Music" saying, "well, what do you know about that?" in notes. I like how surprising her little musical outbursts are, and how shy and smiling. She is so very pleased with little things. I like that about her. James likes that, too. It is easy to make her laugh, and she likes to be caught when James chases after her. I love her serious face and bouncing curls, and the sudden outpouring of dust and bark all over her clothes when she dumps the bucket of tanbark all over herself with delight. And I like it when she says, over and over, "zizi. zizi. zizi." I love you, Zizi.