I won’t lie, having milestones come so slowly is maddening, but it comes with a gift…with many gifts. The most obvious gift is patience. It is a gift/lesson I need repeated. It sticks longer each time, but having ‘Buddy’ in my life gives me lots of opportunities to practice.

The second gift that comes to mind is, understanding. Understanding just what it takes to make these milestones. Some days it is like watching the world through slow motion. If I slow down and really watch, I can see the neurons fire, the understanding click into place and the first tiny steps occur.

I did not come to this gift on my own. We have been lucky enough to have some incredible therapists in ‘Buddy’s’ life. One of these is Gay Lloyd Pindar. We lucked into a study she was doing that involved Triadic Eye Gaze, or using your eyes to choose a toy by looking at it, and then to the person holding it as if to say “yes, the ball in your right hand, I choose that.” At the time ‘Buddy’ was very low tone and spent most of his time in a tumble form chair watching the world go by. He was 10 months old and had never picked up a toy and brought it to his mouth. Honestly, it was very hard to play with him and was very excited to watch the people in the study and learn how to draw him out. The first day they came to do the intake they said he would need a positioning consult with Gay Lloyd. I had heard of her and was very excited to meet her.

The next week Gay Lloyd came and I met her for the first time. She came straight in and got down on the floor with ‘Buddy’ and had an instant connection with him. After 5 min, she changed the angle of his chair, and put a Boppy on his lap so that it supported his elbows like a desk and handed him a toy. He immediately brought it to his mouth. I was stunned. I nearly cried. It was like she was magic.

I have since had the opportunity to work with Gay Lloyd, Mechthild Rast and many other amazing therapists, and I now realize that they are slowing down and really seeing everything. That is where the magic is. She looked at ‘Buddy’ and saw how weak his muscles were, knew how the muscle structure worked and was able to find just the right spot to give him support without doing the work for him. They taught me how to watch his every move and tease out his goals and his obstacles so that we can work on overcoming them together. It is slow and painstaking, but it is magical too. What an incredible gift to understand just how many muscles have to work together to merely lift a toy. To work for weeks on those muscles, and then to see him do it!!

That is the best gift of all. The intense joy of achieving these hard fought victories over seemingly everyday things. Sure some days I wish things were easier for him…for all of us. But I also look at ‘Buddy’ and am truly amazed at his strength, his determination, and his ability to overcome. I truly appreciate him and what he can do. I know his for his strength and his heart. I love him deeper for every struggle. That truly is a gift. I get to watch my butterfly unfold in slow motion and relish each wrinkle opening.

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"Look, Mom! Both Hands!"

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