We did not understand her at all. Finally, when she was about 2 years old, we found help through a therapist who worked with her, and with us, week after week, helping her learn to cope with "life." Li learned how to manage the things that frightened her, and by the end of the year she was amazed by the trucks, giggled at the toilets, and looked forward to hanging out with the Y nursery workers. And we learned that a bear hug was much more effective.
Li has come a long way. We have learned what she needs to help her cope. LiLi needs to move...a lot! We have enrolled her in swim class and gymnastics. When she is not in gymnastics, she is practicing all of her moves. Constantly.
We have her scheduled to do something everyday. If she has a day off, we have to take her somewhere to keep moving. If we are stuck at home she is sent outdoors unless the weather is impossible. Some days I make her run steps, do jumping jacks, or forward rolls all the way down the hall. If she starts to struggle, Jeff grabs her legs and makes her walk on her hands. He may throw her on the coach a half a dozen times. We will load up the laundry basket with her baby sister and a pile of toys and have her push it all over the house....just to keep those senses under control.
Last night Jeff and I were a little overwhelmed by Li. She wanted bedtime to go a certain way, the way it usually goes, and it was not. She had discovered the plan while Jeff was discussing it with the other yahoo involved. Her big sister was not going to bed at the same time, and she was not happy. She was in her room, doing her crazy dance, trying not to scream.
Her scream, at this time of night, is very, very, very hard to take. We were all tired. We all wanted to curl up in our beds, and enjoy our bedtime rituals. So when LiLi did scream, we all wanted to join in. And quite frankly, sometimes we do!
Last night both of us grown ups could have gone down that path. Oh...I so wanted to jump up and start hollering at them all. I wanted to hop all over the floor and throw a temper tantrum. And so did Jeff.
But God grabbed a hold of our hearts.
He whispered to us...
Look at your Li. Look at her through MY eyes.
I made her. I created her...just for you. I created her just to help you see...
Li experiences life, in a way, perhaps, we all should.
Li experiences life...fully.
Every inch of her being experiences life....fully.
While we are sleepwalking through the day...
Li chooses to DANCE!
Our little LiLi, the kid who sucked the life right out of us....
is one who now teaches us how to LIVE.