Thursday, November 29, 2012

When the Milestones Don't Apply

In the beginning, when you learn your child has a delay, then a disability, you spend a lot of time worrying about the "will he evers".  Will he ever talk? Ride a bike?  Read a book?  Have a girlfriend?  Be able to go to the store without a meltdown?  The list goes on and on and on....

When the milestones don't apply to you, you feel adrift. No moorings to give a sense of where you are and where you are going.  It can be a frightening, disconcerting place to be.  It doesn't surprise me at all that when the messages you get are so vague and unclear, the trajectory uncertain, and the future presented so blatantly negative, so many people cry out for a "cure" and chase every miracle drug or therapy out there.

But what if we tossed those milestones out?  What if we accepted that some brains are going down a fundamentally different path, and their development cannot be tracked on growth charts?  What if we were, as parents, able to accept this different, unknown world for what it is, and accept the child for who they are?  And what if... through that acceptance... the child was able to become who they are meant to be?  The very best version of themselves.  And what if our definition of 'success' changed as well?  And our definition of what is a good life?  Is it possible that doing that could lead us to where we need to be, instead of just where we want to be?

I have been working hard at accepting Jman's development for what it is.  I try very hard to push when he is ready for it, and not push when he isn't.  I try to be sensitive to what his needs are and what his next step is.  It can be agonizing, because sometimes those steps seem insurmountable.

And then it happens.  Giant, huge, amazing things tumble out of him like floodgates opening up.  He goes from disorganized mess to got-it-going-on boy.  He does what I didn't know he could do, and does it with style.

Step-by-step, he teaches me to chill out.

He walked right in and sat in the dentist's chair.
She cleaned his teeth!
Hell, she TOUCHED his teeth!
"Don't worry, Mom.  I got this"
I will never, ever, ever, not believe again.


Anonymous said...

Great post. I love the thumbs up in the last picture.
One challenge I find with not having the usual milestones is forgetting that my son may be ready to another achievement. I get used to doing things for him and don't give him the opportunity to practice new skills independently. I know this is all about me and not about some shortcoming in my son: I'm the one is impatient or doesn't see that there may be another way to do something.
Thanks for sharing this story. It's the kick in the pants I need to be a better parent.

Floortime Lite Mama said...


icansaymama said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I really like this post! Will visit frequently!

Maybe you want to check mine, too? My son is undiagnosed as well.


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