There’s a tree, standing there
In such an ordinary way
But as I look around
Everything keeps changing
In Some Small Way by Celine Dion
It’s funny how easy it is to overlook one thing when I am hyper focused on another. When the “something else” is so all consuming —and, rightfully, important —the perspective is gone. Poof. Until something innocuous brings back clarity and perspective returns. The forest can be seen for the trees after all.
Nik’s most recent bout of the ongoing mystery illness —which may in fact have just been his first ever really, really bad cold —threw me into such a panic. I mean, the seriously high fever, the rash, the chest x-rays and talk of multiple infections —all take on a slightly different meaning when our entire history of parenting has been in crisis or near-crisis mode. It is so hard to shake the blinders of fear which block out the bigger picture. Yet, now that the crisis seems to have passed, I can see a little more clearly today.
Nik is still not sleeping through the night but his bouts of panicky wakefulness are getting shorter and are spaced a little farther apart. He’s still got a bad cough and I think his throat bothers him; when he wakes in the middle of the night coughing and congested he gets panicky and we have to nebulize him to give him a bit of relief, though his lungs sound clear and his chest x-ray was normal. But, we do what works, right?
Today is a better day; Niksdad left at the crack of dawn for his student nursing shift at the local hospital while Nik and I slept in until nearly nine o’clock. Pure heaven! The fever is nearly gone and Nik’s color is a bit better. More importantly, his activity level is far greater than it has been in a week. For the better part of the past week, Nik has done a lot of lying on the floor playing quietly with some favorite toys and clearing off the sofa cushions and pillows. Nothing terribly productive —so I thought.
Somehow —when I wasn’t looking, or perhaps looking but not really seeing —Nik managed to continue to grow and make progress. Proof, yet again, to this forgetful mama that he may have been down —but never out. In all his quiet play this week, Nik took his mastery of the zipper to a whole new level. Not just the pincer grasp required to hold the pull, but the whole magilla. The up, the down, the pinch, the pull, and knowing to hold the two sides together. The understanding of the concept ; mastery of the zipper means freedom. Another giddy step toward independence.
Wait! Wasn’t that one of the OT goals for him to master —over the course of the entire school year? Never underestimate the skills of a motivated and determined child!
And the diaper-removal technique has definitely been mastered. I am waiting for the day I turn to see him butt-naked —having not only unzipped and removed his pants with his newly refined motor skills, but then also having removed his diaper. Sorry, I won’t be posting photos of that feat. When it happens, you’ll have to take my word for it.
And the ability to sip from a straw —once a tentative endeavor at best? Nik’s recent bout of fever made him thirsty enough to simply DO IT. And that one wasn’t even on the horizon yet as far as school was concerned. This opens up a whole wealth of possibilities for advances in oral motor skills for both feeding and, hopefully, speech.
And he’s really started to use some clear and specific vocalizations for expressing displeasure, anxiety, and disdainful rebukes. Ok, it’s not always pleasant but it is progress!
And social skills —you want social skills? We’ve got ‘em. Well, some anyway where there were none before. From the appropriateness of kicking the nurse at the hospital (I stand by that one!), to the new found cooperation he’s been exhibiting with his pediatrician (I’m not sure who adores whom more!), Nik has been responding mostly appropriately around other people. Showing curiosity about familiar voices in unfamiliar contexts (his teacher for the visually impaired came to our house yesterday —a first and the start of new services. Yay!), to adapting his method of play between Mommy, Daddy, Nanny, and Granddaddy. To consistently wrapping his arms around my neck in the middle of the night as I picked him up from his crib; I used to have to try to keep him from leaning backwards and tumbling out of my grasp. Now, he clings and gives forehead kisses. Once in a while, I’ll even get a kiss with his lips. Sheer bliss He is clearly communicating his love for me and Niksdad. That has to be the best gift of all.
Every day happenings in a “normal” family. More wondrous advances for us. Just imagine what he would have done if he hadn’t been ill!
The boy is super, indeed.