Izzy has been signing the word eat for months. Sometimes she signs it and means eat. Other times she signs it and wants a drink. Therefore, we are working with her to say “cup” and “eat” with her voice.
I have an app on my iPhone that has short videos of words. This morning. (If your jaw just stopped open because you’ve read my previous post on NOT giving her my iPhone, please know she only uses speech apps on there. Oh, and she watches the occasional Maccabeats video.) I was working with Izzy to help her practice the word eat. I pressed play on the video of the woman whose mouth says eat slowly and then at a regular pace.
“No,” Isabelle said instead of trying the word.
“Say eat,” I replied as I replayed the seven second video. Why isn’t she trying it. She always tries it.
“No,” she said again when the second video ended.
“Isabelle, say ‘eat’,” exaggerating the way I moved my lips to make each sound in the word.
“No,” she said with a frown on her face. She turned away from me.
“Sweetie, come here,” I said. I took her tiny toddler hands in mine and waited ’til she looked at me. “How come you won’t say the word eat?”
She looked away.
“Please look at me, Izzy.” Her eyes looked up immediately so I tried a new tactic since I knew she wasn’t going to answer my question.
“Is saying the word eat hard for you?” I asked.
“(Ye)sss,” she responded with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen.
I slid my hands up to her shoulders and pulled her towards me. I gave her the tightest hug I could muster to help me from crying. “I know it’s hard for you, Izzy. But sometimes we have to try things even when they’re hard for us. That’s the only way things become easier.” Stop talking, Stacey. You’re saying too much. Too many words for her to take in. “Let’s practice it again, okay?”
She shook her head yes.
“Would you like to sit on my lap?” I asked.
She plopped down into my lap. Together we touched the play button on my iPhone. The woman’s mouth appeared and said eat again. This time, at the end of the video, Isabelle said “eh.”
“I heard you say ‘eh.’ What a good try, Isabelle.”