So much of your life is done by prompting or scripting, so when a new spontaneous thing happens, no matter how small, it’s super exciting for us all!
Allow me to explain.
You are no stranger to music. In fact, most of your early language was derived from songs - I will never forget you singing “I will wait, I will wait for you...” by Mumford and Sons as a little girl.
Fast forward to today and music often presents some auditory tone challenges and you’ve become rather particular on which songs (especially on the radio) you like (or tolerate) vs. those you don’t. It’s pretty safe to say you are definitely not shy about making your displeasure known when you don’t like something.
In fact, anything that makes noises such as iPads, phones, TVs, etc are not generally a “go-to” for your entertainment and/or education due to the auditory distress they may cause. In our little world I find this to be a blessing and a curse.
You see Addie, children are naturally attuned to music and movement which is why mobiles are often used in soothing infants. Even as parents we instinctively rock a baby and hum or sing lullabies to help in comforting our little ones. I know when I get the chance to hold a baby I instantly start swaying from side to side and humming to them. Heck, even when I hear a baby crying I start swaying sans holding a child!
While infants see music as soothing, during toddler years (around age 2) the soothing takes a new form of feeling, spawning coordination of body movements learning to move from side to side, clapping and moving their arms to the rhythm of music. This is often a combination of the feeling music brings out in all of us, and imitation of watching others dancing. A truly adorable milestone every parent enjoys witnessing. “Look at our baby dancing!” I still remember very vividly Clara and Gabe busting a move to Justin Timberlake as pint size versions of themselves. Adorable!
As a parent, one of the greatest pieces of advance I often give is to never compare your child to any other child. Unfortunately, this is not reality and we are all presented with developmental milestone charts on the regular as our children grow, comparing them to a set of standards on a sheet of paper.
These standards are a baseline of neurotypical children and continually remind us that our journey is indeed different and more “neurodiverse” (a word I learned this week from Dr. Devon MacEachron) - living in a world where outward expression and social cues are challenging. With this we find ourselves often waiting in the wings a little longer on reaching those important developmental milestone standards.
Patience is the key we are always reminded.
While some of the more obvious things like walking, talking, and getting dressed are usually what we think of as development milestones, it’s not until we see smaller things - like a forward-facing hug,
pointing at objects, or dancing to music spontaneously that we realize these things were lacking. That said, it makes it all the more joyous when they are finally achieved.
This weekend was one of those times.
During a commercial break from watching our beloved Detroit Lions (winning),
you spontaneously jumped up and started moving your head back and forth, your body side to side and lifting your arms up and down to what seemed like the music on the television. Not 100% sure of exactly what you were doing, I asked “Addie, are you dancing?!” You turned around flashed your signature smile at us as if you were excited that we noticed, giggled, then continued on with your unique dancing until the music stopped.
Having never seen this before (this wasn’t just jumping up and down) we asked Alexa to play the same Aretha Franklin song from the tv. Sure enough you were feeling it all over again!
You weren’t imitating anyone, no one asked you to dance, this was all you! Feeling the Motown in your blood! A very proud moment for mommy and daddy.
The late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin having a special needs child of her own, I’m sure would’ve been very honored that her music moved you to your soul.
So, Addie, this weekend you discovered the joy of dance all on your own! Being a former dancer myself this melted my heart to the core that you truly felt such joy through movement. Let us not forget the icing on the cake that it was Aretha Franklin and during a Lions Win! ;)
Keep it up baby girl! We love you!