“Rhema, want pop?” I ask.
“Pop. Pop!” she says.
We’ve been doing this for forever, it seems. It was time to change it up. Just for kicks, I held two Mighty Mini popsicles in front of her, one was orange and one was green, and I asked,
“Rhema, what color do you want?”
Without missing a beat, she replied,
Omigoshomigoshomigosh! Rhema wants green! She knows her colors. I can’t believe it!!!
I grabbed her and kissed her. I did the happy dance and couldn’t wait to tell her teachers and therapists. She’s learned her colors! I was so excited that when she finished the popsicle, I got out two more. One red, one yellow.
“Rhema, what color???”
(Insert record scratch.)
Ok, hold on, kid. Let’s try again. I waved the red and yellow popsicles in front of her eyes.
“Rhema, what color?”
I got out two more popsicles, this time orange and purple.
“Rhema, what color?”
“Is… is that your final answer???”
She lunged for a popsicle, and with that my green balloon burst and made a whining hiss as it deflated. She’s 6.5 years old. You’ve been working on this stuff almost every day for 5 years, and she still doesn’t know her colors, shapes, letters, numbers. You’re toast, you’re nothing but green, moldy toast.
I gave her all of the popsicles and walked away.
Later when her therapist T came to the house, I watched her work with Rhema on a coloring activity. T has often said Rhema knows so much more than she’s able to show us. T, like me, simply believes that Rhema is brilliant.
“Do you think she knows her colors, T? Sometimes I’m sure she does. But it’s so hard to know what she knows. Maybe she gets a certain word or idea stuck in her head and it’s hard to get past that. Maybe she’s trying to say one thing and thinking another? What do you think? Does she know her colors?”
T said thoughtfully, “One thing is for sure. She’s getting there.”
I thought back to a year ago when a doctor fired simple questions at Rhema that she could not answer. And he asked us, ‘what question does she answer?’ And I had to say, “Nothing.”
Well, now, look at my girl. She can listen to a question, “What color?” And she can answer it. With a color, an appropriate response!!! My mind is racing with the possibilities of the questions she’ll learn to answer, “What’s your name?”, “How old are you?”, “What is the sum of all the positive integers?”, “What is Shakespeake’s favorite breakfast?” (The answer to the last one is Green Eggs and Hamlet. Get it?)
Oh, how far she has come. How could I forget to be thankful? Thank you, Lord!
Yes, she’s getting there.