Have you ever been in a situation so long that it is difficult for you to keep perspective, where you are constantly focusing on what still needs to be done that you forget about all you have accomplished? That’s where I’ve been finding myself lately. While I know that our life is far from perfect, I have decided to become aware of how far we have come in the past four years. So…
This is from a collection of posts in which I focused on milestones, while looking for the positives and honoring the advancements O has made on his journey as a boy with sensational needs.
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein
I love the beach. My husband loves the beach! My girls love the beach! So, it only makes sense that O would love the beach, too. Right?
Unfortunately, O showed an extreme dislike for the beach! At 13 months old, during his first real trip to the beach, O didn’t stop screaming. We had taken him before, as an infant, but he spent those trips cradled in someone’s arms, most likely sleeping or being fed, not experiencing the sights, sounds, and textures of the beach.
For a long time after that trip, 2 years to be exact, we avoided the beach. After all, it was not very fun, when two active girls, who love the water and the sand, had to cut their playtime short because their brother wouldn’t stop screaming. But, we missed the beach.
So, last summer, during our family vacation to San Diego, we tried the beach again. We were very careful to search out the best spot. As M drove the car around San Diego, I scoped out all possible beach locations. Finally, we found it. It was a small patch of beach that was very near an area of grass and a play structure. That way, if the sand was a no, we had back-up.
Although it wasn’t an instant love, he played in the sand and in the water. We were there for several hours. What progress! I was so thrilled, I sent photos to O’s previous teachers and OT, who had worked so hard with him on experiencing and tolerating different textures. This was a real milestone for him, for all of us.
Hoping this means we can be a beach family again!
One of O’s gift to me for Mother’s Day was a butterfly made out of his footprints. He actually let someone – granted it was a trusted adult, in a trusted environment, but still – put paint on his feet. Then, he kept it on there long enough to make a print with it.
Such an awesome gift, especially from a kid who, for the longest time, would not even go near a table that held paint supplies, as if the paint held some type of poison or was dangerous in some way. He really was that fearful.
All His Stuff
When O was little, he did not like stuffed animals. When I say he didn’t like them, that is an understatement. He had a very intense negative reaction to them. So much so, that he would not even go in the same room with a few of them. He especially disliked the really soft, fluffy ones that looked and felt like hair. There was one blue elephant that the girls and I fell in love with. It was given to us before O was born and was made out of the softest material. We loved it…he did not.
Although he still is not fond of dolls with hair – he finds his sisters’ Barbies particularly aversive, just too much hair- he now enjoys cuddling with his stuffed things. He has a favorite bear, two pillow pets, a stuffed Thomas the Tank Engine, and many more.
Now, his bed is full of stuffed things. And, more are added daily.
Although loving stuffed animals isn’t one of those critical life skills, it is something that makes life enjoyable. And, now when O tells me every night, before I leave his room, “Mom, when you leave I’ll be lonely,” I can say, “You won’t be lonely. You have Teddy and Thomas and Piggy and Pluto and…” I name every one of those stuffed things, and, before we know it, he’s fast asleep.
My Boy and His Bike
A little over a year ago, I could not get O on a bike. He wouldn’t even sit on it and let me push him. It was just not happening. This was a huge concern for me…what little boy doesn’t ride a bike?
So, we made this a goal. We worked with him. First, just sitting on the bike. Then, sitting on the bike and having someone push or pull it. Once he was comfortable with this, it became time to teach him how to pedal and steer. This was not easy, especially for a kid with problems with motor planning, meaning…he can see what you want him to do, but has difficulty getting his legs, feet, etc. to actually do it.
Once O started preschool, this became part of his weekly routine, to ride on the back of a two-seater or pedal one himself. Gradually, he got more and more comfortable with pedaling, steering and stopping a bike, at school and at home. He even asked me if he could get a bike for his birthday. He actually wanted a bike! So, of course we got him one. It’s not a huge bike, but it looks like one a “big boy” would ride, as that was one of the criteria I was given.
He loved the bike! And, after thirty minutes of riding the bike in circles around the island in our kitchen, the motor skills associated with this new bike became part of his motor-memory and he was ready to ride…anywhere!
Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway! – John Wayne