Paige is sitting at the table next to me as I'm typing this. She is eating chocolate pudding - a necessary snack of childhood. She has her legs crossed - something that just cracks me right up - I don't know where she has picked this habit up, but she is doing it all the time lately - as soon as she sits down she crosses her legs like a right proper lady.
She's got a bit of a chocolate mustache, only for some reason, Paige always makes upside down mustaches - that is, its her bottom lip that gets the 'stache, not her top one. I guess its probably due to the underbite she has.
And, intermittently, she is holding our her spoon and looking at it in the sunbeam that is coming through the window. She loves sunbeams, and moves throughout the house during the day to play in them with her toys.
Her therapists would tell you that it is because she is autistic that she plays in the sun like that - that its one of those quirky behaviors of kids with autism.
But, maybe she just likes the sunshine - maybe she likes the way it warms her skin when she sits in it, or the way she can make shadows in it, and watch her finger puppets dance on her legs.
When her pudding is done, she will come to me and ask to have her hands washed - she doesn't much like dirty hands. Neither do I.
And off she'll go to find her duck toy, the one that said 6+ months on the box when we bought it for her for her 6th or 7th birthday. She'll take Mr. Duck and spin around with him for a few minutes, as she listens to the music he always plays for her.
If I stay here much longer, she'll come and ask to play on the computer. She loves starfall.com and can whiz through much of the website. Funny, she can't tell me where her nose is, but she can put together a puzzle or zip through a maze like nobody's business.
After a bit, we'll wander out to the deck, paper and pencil crayons in hand, where we'll draw funny circles, and practice writing her name. And I'll smile as she makes the letter "i" three inches longer than the rest of her letters, and circles the top part of the letter "g" two or three times before she gives it a tail.
And those silly legs of hers - long and thin "first grade legs" we call them in our house - well, maybe she'll cross them again like a lady. And maybe she'll just swing them as she draws - a happy, carefree sign of childhood.
Perhaps she'll fold them up under her "Indian style" or put one leg on each arm of the big chair she is sitting in, reminding the world that she has Down syndrome, and is incredibly, crazily flexible.
For me, it'll just remind me that she is my daughter - precious and perfect in every way.