Below are pictures of just one of the many pretty outfits Grandma Utah sent to Marissa for her birthday. She sure has great taste! Thanks Grandma for all the cool clothes!
Marissa has been trying to develop words for a long time now. She has been able to tolerate her speaking valve (PMV, which is the purple piece on her trach) for just over a year now, which means that for nearly the first year of her life, she had no voice. So, considering that, she is doing really well at talking. She can say many simple words clearly and really does attempt to say almost everything we say. She has gotten very good at mimicking. So good, in fact, that mommy and daddy are really having to watch what we say! For example, the other night I said "crap!" and I heard a little voice behind me call out "rap!!" Oops!
It seems as though her speech has really taken off in the last week or so. Her speech therapist was here on Monday and she and Marissa read a book together. The therapist would say a word and Marissa would repeat it, not in perfect form, but she was still speaking. I love hearing her attempts at speech. It really touches me that she tries so hard. One of the most heartbreaking things we had to realize when we were told she needed the trach was that she was not going to have a voice. At least not until she was strong enough to use the PMV, and no one could give us a timeline for that.
Parents of a typical child might occasionally want a mute button for their child (believe me, I know what that is like, having grown up in a family of seven kids!). Marissa has a mute button, but I refuse to use it (simply taking the PMV off). Her voice and attempts at speech are just that precious to me. I get sad when she gets sick because she is not strong enough to use her PMV and I miss hearing her sweet little voice.
I shot this video this morning to try to demonstrate some of the words Marissa can say. Some of what she says is hard to understand, but the try is definitely there. I tried to shoot several different videos to demonstrate all the words she knows, but she got to a point where she was tired of performing!