I almost nearly cried today. Daddy Mac was feeding Miss Sunshine some ranch dip (yeah, I know...) at lunchtime today and out of nowhere she just started babbling "Dadadada". And then repeated it.
This probably seems like not such a big deal to most of you. Those of you who have babies with cleft palate will fully understand the absolute JOY we had at hearing that sound leave her mouth. See, prior to repair surgeries, babies with cleft are incapable of creating the amount of suction necessary to make most consonant sounds. They can make M, N and Y sounds only. After repair, it all depends. Some babies start babbling new consonant sounds right away. Others take their own sweet time, and still others may require further repair surgeries to give them the capabilities of making these sounds.
Miss Sunshine's palate repair has been declared successful by the surgeons. But we still weren't hearing any new consonant sounds like we were told to expect. It has been concerning both Daddy Mac and I, and also Miss Sunshine's speech therapist. We had really expected to start hearing more babbling than the "mama" and "more" she was already capable of saying prior to surgery. (Okay, "more" sounds more like "mo" but she is aware of what she is saying and uses it in correct context to ask for more. It counts!). We've tried lots of different things with very little success. We have seen an increase in her responsive sounds - sounds she makes back to us when we talk to her or ask her something - which had been on the low end just a few short weeks ago. She did add "uh-oh" to her repertoire (and has been saying it non-stop I might add) at her last speech therapy session. But as far as actual new consonant sounds, it's been absolutely nothing so far. UNTIL TODAY! And even though it's only been once, and it wasn't in response to anything and likely didn't even MEAN anything, the fact that she said it is HUGE. Out of the ballpark, up in the stratosphere, huge. Because it means that she IS capable of saying these things. We now have a better frame of reference for moving forward with her speech therapy, as well as having the knowledge that she is capable and that we can expect results that we were unsure we would be able to get even as recently as this morning.
My heart is singing. I was having a "horrible, terrible, awful, really bad day" (I'm pretty sure that's from a book I read way back when, but I'm too lazy to look up the exact reference so I'm putting it in quotes to make it clear I am NOT plagiarizing) up until the point she said that. It's amazing how much such a little thing can make your entire day turn around.