I finally get why my 4th grade teacher gave the coveted Spelling prize, a 101 Dalmatians kite, to my best friend and not to me. I had the highest grade in the class and while she had an A, it was a lower percentage for sure. Was it favoritism? Why had she chosen her over me? It was something that baffled my 10 year old self. While I understood it eventually, I didn't really, truly get it. Not like I do today at least.
My son is almost 19 months old and today he said the word "ball." I know that sounds like an unimpressive reason to write a blog post. I know because he is my third child. My other two said the same word as one of their first few. Those moments passed with little or no fanfare. We were happy but really it was just another word added to a growing vocabulary. It was great but expected...unimpressive.
This time was different. My baby has a speech delay. A few months ago his test results ranked him at an 8 month old level for communication skills. He didn't respond to his name and we quite frankly (along with his speech therapist) weren't convinced he could even hear us talking to him.
I've waited so long to hear his sweet voice form words.
Today, he said "ball"! It's the first object he's named. I'll never forget watching him work so hard to mimic his therapist's "bah...bah...bah" sounds and his determination in getting his little mouth to form that word after many failed attempts... How he clapped for himself when he finally got it right... the huge grin on his face... I can't even express how proud and excited I felt.
It's so different watching your little one learn something when he or she has to work harder than peers to get it. The victory is so much sweeter.
That's what my 4th grade teacher already knew all those years ago. Getting the highest grade in Spelling was great but something else was even more exciting. Watching a student who was struggling and getting Cs at the beginning of the year fight her way firmly into straight As...that's an amazing accomplishment. A huge victory worthy of a prize.