In my first entry I mentioned that we saw regression in Courtney. There was definitely regression. Back when I first posted I probably would have even said Courtney was developing “normally” before we saw the regression. Back when I posted that we had Alyssa but she was still an infant. The only “normal” baby/toddler development I had seen before Courtney was my nieces and nephews.
I think it was when Alyssa was about 9 months or so that I realized I missed some of the early signs in Courtney. Some of these signs anyone probably could have missed because some of it could have just been a difference in temperament between to kids, but looking back at it now, they were signs. Alyssa loves food and is not picky at all. Courtney has been picky about food since day one. Heck, she literally refused breast milk after a week. When introducing solids the pickiness continued. But it went beyond being picky with Courtney. Whenever I pull food out, Alyssa gets so excited. She will chase you down if she sees food in your hands. Courtney doesn’t show any excitement or eagerness when she sees the food she likes. I remember someone telling me you will know when to start table food because they start seeming interested in table food. I would probably still be waiting if I based it on that for Courtney!
Then I started noticing Alyssa’s social skills. Courtney use to have good eye contact and she would smile if I did but it stopped there. Alyssa and I early on would be able to have non-verbal conversations with are eyes and facial expressions. She watches people like a hawk. As she has gotten older, she will initiate the smiles and the laughs. Courtney’s eye contact decreased as she got closer to the age of 2 which was definitely one of the red flags that lead me to believe she had autism.
Then came last weekend. Alyssa kept walking around with a baby doll. A baby doll that Courtney got when she was 1. Now back then Courtney would give the doll hugs and pretend to feed the baby with a spoon which soon became another skill she lost. When Alyssa plays with the doll, it’s a whole play scheme. She feeds it, she rocks it, she pretends to sing to it, she put it in a stroller and was jibber jabbering at it. She got it back out and fed it more, the play scheme went on forever.
It is kind of bitter sweet to watch these differences and to watch Alyssa grow. Even though Alyssa is showing absolutely no signs of being on the spectrum, I won’t stop worrying like a lunatic about every little milestone for her until she’s at least 3. Joe and I celebrate each one like she just one a gold medal. For some of these milestones, we remark to each other that Courtney never did that. I will sometimes feel frustrated that I didn’t catch these red flags earlier in Courtney, but I can’t dwell on it. I will also sometimes have a little tug on the heart as we slowly watch Alyssa surpass her older sister in some skills. Then I stop and remember. Courtney is making progress and that is all that matters. Courtney is reaching her milestones at her pace. Alyssa is learning to talk using her words, Courtney is learning to talk using a communication device. Courtney is learning how to sit and work and follow 1 step directions, Alyssa is learning how to pretend play. Both are healthy and happy. I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more.