I have been stuffing things into Beth’s closet at an shocking rate. Usually, I stuff a thing into Beth’s closet because the thing didn’t magically solve one of her challenges or because I felt the thing was beyond her developmental level and needed to be saved for later. But the current pile in her closet consists of things Beth is just…done with. It didn’t happen overnight and it sort of crept up on me. She is progressing. I feel happy, relieved, shocked, and, surprisingly, a bit sad to say goodbye to the things in the pile. Bye to the potty with the little bear decal on it, that she has lovingly rubbed so many times it is starting to wear off. Bye to the damn shape sorter from hell (A parallelogram, trapezoid, octagon, pentagon, and hexagon on a freakin’ SHAPE SORTER?). Bye to the snake lacing toy, which I made say “SSSSSSS” while pretending it was attacking Beth’s neck in a silly way (lacing sucks…I did the best I could to make it fun). Bye to the pink popper which she only truly mastered after she was too tall for it and had to bend over to push it. Bye to the Animal Hospital with the keys that got her to twist her wrist to get to the M&Ms locked behind the doors. Bye to pink pig piggy bank, which was the first toy she played with and loved. But I am not kidding myself. I have made the mistake of permanently getting rid of toys only to have to buy them again, because Beth remembers every toy, even if she never outwardly showed much interest in it. One day, maybe even a year from now, I may hear “want pink popper” or “want snake” and I better be able to produce it or I will have to buy it again. So, into storage they go. Maybe I will leave the most cherished items in her cedar chest in her closet for easy access. My husband wants to burn the potty, but I think it will go in the attic too. You never know, she might want to see that bear again for old times sake.
Beth is not up to her age level in most regards yet, but she is definitely progressing on all levels in her own way, and on her own time scale. In Beth’s room there hangs a gift that my sister-in-law, Alexandra (Aunt Ali) Kloster, wrote and gave to us for Christmas the year Beth was born. The piece is titled “Beth Takes Her Time”* and it seemed so appropriate given it took us 5 years, and multiple miscarriages and multiple failed fertility treatments, to have Beth. She was our miracle baby, born without fertility treatments after all that we endured. I remember crying when I first read the gift, because it was so touching and meaningful. I did not know then that the gift would have an additional meaning in the coming years. Beth “takes her time” reaching many milestones and learning to work her body, and she works so very hard every day, all the while keeping her sweet spirit in tact. So, in honor of progress, in honor of putting away the first pile of milestones, in honor of our miracle little girl, and in honor of Beth taking her time and being who she is, I share with you this beautiful piece of writing from my sister-in-law Ali.*
Written By Alexandra Kloster (http://www.albertleatribune.com/author/Alix/)
*Beth is a pseudonym for privacy purposes, so I replaced her real name in the title and in the snapshot of the piece shown above