language · slice of life · speech

A Cup for Water

Here she is! She got the plastic cup she requested WITHOUT having to repeat herself or with me chiming-in to clarify what she said.
Here she is! She got the plastic cup she requested WITHOUT having to repeat herself or with me chiming-in to clarify what she said.

If you’ve never had or worked with a child who has fought for every word s/he says, then you probably won’t understand why something as small as what I witnessed this afternoon feels so monumental. But my kid has fought for every single word. And that’s why things that might be commonplace for a child with typically-developing speech feel so huge.

We were snacking with friends at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore when Isabelle declared she wanted another apple juice.

“Too much sugar. I’m not getting you another apple juice,” I replied. (Remember: This kid has been eating Halloween candy for the past week!)

“I’m thirsty,” she declared.

“You can have some water,” I replied.

“Okay,” she conceded.

“Let’s go to the counter and ask for some water.”

I stood up, took her hand, and led her to the cafe. Just as we approached the counter she broke away from me. She climbed on a foot bar, looked at the barista, and said, “I’d wike a cup of wada, please.”

I froze a couple steps behind her. My mouth hung open. Did I just see what I thought I saw? Who was this confident kid? 

Even though her words weren’t perfectly clear, the barista understood her. “Here you go,” he said handing her a plastic cup. “Go over to the soda fountain and press the button for water. It’s beneath the lemonade.”

Once I finally found my words, I thanked the man and praised Isabelle. I don’t remember my exact words to her because I was gushing. I told her I was proud of her for using her voice to ask for something. I told her I was delighted she took the risk to speak to someone who she thought could help her get what she wanted. I told her I was thrilled she used good manners without me having to remind her.

This doesn’t happen every day. In fact, it rarely happens. Getting Isabelle to order in restaurants is hard. She rarely does it unless she feels very comfortable. I think it’s because she knows she’ll most likely be misunderstood and that bothers her. I never would’ve expected her to do something like this in a place where she’d only been once before. But she did. And for that reason, I’m a very proud mama tonight.

Head over to for more slices of life.
Head over to for more slices of life.

16 thoughts on “A Cup for Water

  1. Being Isabelle’s Bubbe, (Grandma), I personally know how intelligent and sharp she is and how hard she has worked to get to this point. She constantly surprises me each time I see her with new vocabulary and stories. Approaching a server and asking for a cup of water on her own, is a very big thing for her to do. I’m very proud of Isabelle and her fighting spirit and know I’ll be seeing great things from her in the years to come.

  2. Such a beautiful post to read this morning! These victories are so hard-won and deserve to be celebrated!

  3. What a great milestone for your lovely little girl and you 😉 Celebrate? Yes! She sounds like a determined little girl!

  4. Stacey, this is such a celebration!! I am so proud of Isabelle. She is gaining more confidence by the day. So happy this happened and you were there to witness this moment! (love the picture, too, by the way)

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