Today is my youngest daughter’s 7th birthday. I can still remember when Jaycie was 7 seconds old and now she’s 7 years old! Doesn’t seem possible! She kicked and hiccupped all through labor which the nurses found amusing and fascinating. I was not quite as amused. I expected to have another little Jordan when she was born but when they placed her on my stomach I was surprised. She looked nothing like Jordan! In fact, she didn’t look like anyone else in the family. She was her own unique little being, she’s Jaycie.
I remember they placed newborn Jaycie in those lovely plastic bassinet things so they could measure her, swaddle her, etc. I glanced over at the bassinet and it looked like she was trying to climb out. That might sound crazy but it was obvious to me from day one that she was a little fighter.
As Jaycie grew out of her newborn looks and into her rounded baby years, she became even more adorable. She still doesn’t resemble anyone else in the family but I’m fine with that because it suits her personality. She appeared to be rather strong at a young age because at 8 months I could hold onto her hands and she’d stand up on my thighs. I was so sure she was going to walk before her sister! That wasn’t the case.
Jaycie never crawled. Instead, she scooted around on her bottom using her legs to propel her along. I didn’t think much of this until she didn’t pick up and attempt to walk at the appropriate time. She would walk if someone held her hand but the moment they let go, she’d plop to her bottom. I bought a special sling to put her in so I could help support her while she walked and she could strengthen her muscles. I think that helped but by 2 years old she still wasn’t walking on her own. Then suddenly at 2 years 2 weeks old she just stood up and started walking back and forth! I was so grateful and ecstatic! It was as though she was just waiting until she got every aspect figured out before finally walking. I thought everything was great and she’d then catch up to other kids her age.
While it was an amazing gift to have Jaycie finally walking, her coordination, balance and confidence weren’t improving. We finally took her to some specialists and they said she had “developmental delays.” She started receiving physical, speech and occupational therapy shortly thereafter and went to a special nursery school that helped her immensely! She’s always been quite tall for her age and I still believe that’s a big reason why she’s delayed, her muscles can’t keep up with her growing bones.
Jaycie still receives all three therapies in our local school and I’m grateful the school offers all those services. The problem is that she doesn’t fall into any of the state’s handful of designated categories for children with special needs so she might stop receiving services. I hate having any sort of label on my children, I imagine every parent does. We have to keep taking her to specialists and meeting twice a year with teachers to work on her therapy and school curriculum plan. I know they’re all trying to help her but it becomes infuriating to me when they try to categorize her as something she’s not. There is only one label that fits my youngest daughter and that is Jaycie.
One of the many reasons I’m happy to no longer work at an office job is because I can now focus more attention on helping Jaycie. As Jordan has tended to feel left out because of the extra attention Jaycie has always received, I’m going to include her too. We’re all going to start doing exercises and projects that help develop Jaycie’s strength, speech and fine motor skills. I have to keep it all very fun and interesting because Jaycie is ever so tired of all the therapies she receives at school. She’s learned that saying she’s tired can get her out of activities. This mama isn’t going to accept that!
My beloved Jaycie will never be “normal” because she doesn’t come from normal stock, she comes from extraordinary stock! Normal is boring and predictable and no female in my family line has ever been that! She is the little fighter who tried to climb out of her bassinet at only a few moments old, she just needs to be reminded of that. No matter what, Jaycie will forever be the unexpected gift that I was blessed to receive on July 28th, 2006.