in a bit of a pickle...

in both the literal and figurative sense of the term, i have found myself in a bit of a pickle today.

i'll start with the literal sense of the term: 

today, emma watched her mama eat a kosher dill pickle. i like them from time to time and was enjoying one this afternoon while emma ate her afternoon snack.

well, emma immediately lost interest in her snack du jour and lurched toward me with her arms (while the rest of her remained firmly seated in her highchair) with an adorably voracious glean in her eye.

so, i indulged her, recalling as i did so our feeding specialist's recent recommendation that we provide our little apple cheeks mcgillicutty with more food options for her chewing enjoyment (for more on that, read this post).

and, i am just so sorry i didn't manage to have the camera nearby or fully charged, because you should have seen our little emma as she ate the rest of her mama's pickle with gusto.

yup, she gnawed on it until it was gone.

now, on to the figurative sense of the term:

so, i've written recently about emma's growing receptive and expressive communication skills.

i've extolled the many amazing virtues of using Signing Time in recent posts such as here to build a baby's communicative skills -special needs or not.

i've mentioned emma's weekly speech therapy sessions, our work with flash cards to identify objects, people, and animals in emma's world (and some that are not, but are good to work with, like farm animals - think pigs, cows, sheep - which we just don't have in our back yard (much to her chagrin, i am sure because she adores the pig and cow in particular)), and our dedication to reading to our little e with an almost religious reverence. 

and, it's really paid off. 

in the past week, things started to come together for emma in a seriously big way.

quite suddenly, she began signing "milk" and trying to say the word, too. she'd sign "more" and try to say it as well. she'd sign "all done" and on more than one occassion has said something sounding quite like "done."  and, she'll combine them at the breakfast, lunch, or dinner table as a verbal and/or signed phrase - such as "more" "eat." 

when she did that, it seriously blew me away. i think i teared-up and laughed at the same time. it's been overwhelming watching her begin to communicate in an intentional way.

and, my list of her accomplishments continues...she says hi and waves hi. she says bye and waves bye. she repeats words we say when she can (as in lemon which i mentioned several many posts back) and asks for her doggie stuffed animals by saying dog, and making the sign for it.

when she sees our two old labradors lollygagging about, she will look at them and sign dog and say dog, dog, dog.

when presented with a picture flash card with our yellow labrador on it, while simultaneously being shown the flash card for another item or person (like her mama) and asked to point to the dog, she points to our yellow lab, luna, and says "luna" and "dog" and signs "dog" in near unison.

it's incredible.

i have no other word for what she's doing or who she is than to say simply - incredible.

so, why do i find myself in a bit of a pickle now?

well, we're supposed to be weaning her off the bottle of milk, as we progress with her ability to drink from a cup and a straw.

the progress has been slow, thus the need for the feeding specialist.

and now, we'll i feel like i've hit one of those parenting crossroads that i imagine all parents reach at some point or another.

my daughter now signs and asks for "more" "milk" "bottle" "more" "milk" "bottle" "bottle" "bottle" with a persistence, a glee, a plea, a longing, a need so gutteral, so visceral, and so serious that i have a hard time denying her a bottle and instead proffering her a cup with a straw (which she'll often refuse). 

i guess it's because she can finally communicate some of her most basic of needs - both verbally and through sign language. she sees that we understand and are so proud of her we (read: i) literally squeal with glee after she expresses each word or sign with a knowing look on her face.

i just can't bring myself to deny her something she has worked so hard to learn to ask for.

i tell myself that it's not like she's demanding a doughnut. she's just very clearly asking for her milk, her way; a way, though, that needs to be phased out sooner than later so her drinking skills progress.

so, there you have it. the pickled state i now find myself in. i know i have to redirect her to the cup with a straw and sometimes i do; really, i do.

but, it kinda stinks.

how about you? have you had a similar experience? if so, any sage advice?

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