Today my girl said “turtle.” She said it without me prompting, or trying to get her to repeat the sounds as I articulated the word for her.
As I looked through her folder from preschool, she pulled out her hand over hand drawing and held it up to me and said, “turtle!”
I cried. I cried because she so rarely uses her words, preferring to gesture and say just beginning letters instead of full words. Words like “nonverbal” come up in connection with Down syndrome, and I’m often worried they will apply to this girl. So I’ll take each word she does say. I’ll celebrate the small things. I’ll take them as signs that she may speak one day. That she’ll talk our ears off, and come home with notes declaring she “talks too much in class.” So for now, turtle will do. I’ll take it, along with her huge smile that lit up the room as she helped hang it on the fridge, once again saying, “turtle.”