From a neglected baby to a robust tween, Kaylyn’s is a constant reminder that no one knows how much potential you have and never to listen to anyone who says you can’t do something! My daughter is an amazing young lady who has already overcome more at the age of 12 than most people will in a lifetime. It’s hard to believe that this bright, vivacious girl was once diagnosed with failure to thrive.
If you have read my story on my about me page, you know that our first daughter Kaylyn came to our family as a foster daughter at about 11 months old. She was absolutely tiny and was diagnosed with failure to thrive. She weighed 10 lbs and we could hold her in our hands. She didn’t move at all and she didn’t make a sound, but she had the most beautiful curly blonde hair and a big smile that melted everyone’s heart.
She had been severely neglected, and we were told by the doctor that, because of her failure to thrive, she could die and if she didn’t die she would most likely have profound disabilities. Looking at her tiny, still body, it would have been easy to believe, but her bright blue eyes were alive and her smile was so captivating that we believed that she had more in her than the doctor saw.
She didn’t move or make any sound at all until she was 18 months old. All she did was grab our finger and smile that magical smile. She stole the hearts of everyone she met. At 18 months, she rolled over for the first time! That was something to celebrate! After that, she began a slow and steady progress over the next year. She had wonderful, speech, physical, and occupational therapists who really helped her. We worked with her to improve her range of motion. By the time she was 2 1/2 years old she could walk although her right leg was particularly weak and it was difficult for her so she still preferred to scoot along the furniture. She didn’t know very many words but she knew how to say “Hi”.
Then one day it happened. My husband and I remember the day vividly. It was like someone just flipped a switch. Just before she was 3 years old, she went from a pleasant, quiet, calm baby, into a busy toddler that would not stop moving. Literally overnight she gained confidence in walking and it was as though she needed to make up for lost time. Her tiny body seemed to need continual movement.
Over the next 2 years she attended therapies and a special needs preschool, and kept us continually on our toes. She learned to talk and she talked and moved day and night. She explored her environment in ways that we wish hadn’t. We learned that dry cherry jello powder really never comes out of light gray carpet. We leaned that vaseline is very hard to get out of of the creases in the couch once it’s been rubbed in. And through it all, she kept her big smile that kept us from ever being able to get too mad when her exploring led to huge messes. She and her little sister were the cutest little terrible twosome! If I ever turned my back for a minute they would find some way to make a mess! It was such a good thing they were so cute!
By he time she was 7 years old, Kaylyn had practically caught up to her age peers. She was able to be in regular classes at school and she started gymnastics to help her focus all of her energy. Now, at age 12, there are no signs she ever had a failure to thrive. In fact, thriving is what she does in every aspect of her life! She dances, sings, plays tennis, is an amazing skier, and goes on long difficult hikes in the mountains with her dad and brothers.
Kaylyn is an active, loving, sensitive girl who thinks of other people’s feelings and needs every day. She had the idea and helped me write this post on why parents should be careful to praise effort instead of intelligence or outcome. That light that we saw in her eyes as a tiny baby shows in her whole personality now. Everyday has something for Kaylyn to be excited about and she is always looking for the silver lining for every cloud. There are still somethings that she has to work harder on than her peers, but she is up for every challenge. Kaylyn is an example to us know that no one can know what someone’s potential is.