When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.-- Jiminy Cricket
Joy is Star of the Week this week in her class.
Her teacher went first, to demonstrate. The Star of the Week gets to do a poster all about themself, bring a special snack, fill up the classroom Estimation Jar with something-or-other for the class to guess how-many, and a couple of other goodies.
Joy went next.
We worked on her poster during the weekend. Lots of questions to answer, some of them to the best of our ability since Joy doesn't tell us directly. (Favorite color? Not sure -- we asked her, and let her pick a magic-marker as a way of telling us. It came up pink, which I suppose is fair.) Rose wrote the text, Joy did some "Song Spots" artwork, and here's how it turned out, with selective blurring on certain details:
I baked a couple extra loaves of our super-special zucchini bread with mini-chocolate chips to send for snack. We filled the Estimation Jar with little Lincoln Logs, a task that we ended up doing several times at home because Joy was having so much fun dropping the logs into the jar and back into a basket.
I sent the poster and zucchini bread and estimation jar in with Joy, and then came back after lunch on Monday to talk about the poster.
When I arrived at the class, I met a rush of excited students who were practically falling over themselves to tell me how much they loved the zucchini bread! They'd eaten almost every crumb. It was clear they could identify with Joy on why this would be listed on the poster as her favorite food!
Joy was able to stick with the group for the entire poster presentation, her aide by her side. Her classmates were interested to hear that she gets to sleep in a tent every single night! When I shared that her favorite animals were monkeys and bunnies, one of her classmates who has been over to visit a few times in the past piped up about getting to see Joy's pet bunnies (no longer with us, alas.)
But the real magic happened on the question about Joy's favorite book. I'd put down "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" as our answer, and asked the class how many of them knew that book. Every hand shot up! And to cement the connection, I softly sang the first line: "Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me!"
And then I was just about to move on to the next question, when we heard a quiet utterance from Joy. She had picked up her aide's hand and begun tapping in rhythm, singing, "bow beh, bow beh..."
Joy wants to sing? Joy gets to sing. The class all joined in as I led them through a memorized rendition of the entire book, with Joy smiling and singing and tapping along. They were all with me, all the way through. A glorious connection.
After the poster, I stuck around to help as the class moved on to a math lesson. But first the teacher went in search of a book. She didn't have a copy of Brown Bear in the room, but she did have "Baby Bear." So while the class did math, Joy and her SEA went through the whole "Baby bear, baby bear" book over and over again. Joy simply glowed.
Last night at home during her bath and after, I heard Joy talking. There were definite, separate words -- some one syllable, some two -- with pauses between, and different vowels and consonants. It happened three different times. It felt like there was a sentence there each time, but each time was different. And I couldn't understand. I was in awe, feeling something new and big pushing through, but not quite connected enough myself to understand what was there.
JoyDad said afterwards that Joy had been singing bits of Brown Bear to her therapist at her clinic session. That might be part of it. I'll listen for that next time, assuming that this wasn't an Elvis Sighting that goes away for goodness-knows-how-long.
But it might have been something completely new. I think there may be something big about to happen. I'm wishing on my Star, because this just may be a dream waiting to come true.