Saturday, February 25, 2012

With a Skip in My Heart

Morgan just discovered a new, more fun way of getting from point A to point B-- skipping! This was a week ago. We were having our home program at the guest room. When he saw our new spring bed installed, he skipped! With his chinese-y eyes already disappearing and all of his teeth showing in delight, he climbed on the bed and began to skip and jump. His smile was so contagious and he had so much fun I had to join him too.

Our feisty king is a character all on his own. So different from Garret. He seems to have a plan all mapped out in his head that nothing or no one could ever try to stop him if he decides to do things or not to do things. Every time he is asked to do something, whether it is in sped class, therapy or normal everyday things at home, he seems to have this perpetual skeptical look that seems to ask, "What's in it for me?" Of course, his teachers and therapist does not let him get his own way. Work needs to be done and he needs to learn. He certainly is one feisty king. Morgan started his Sped Class last December. And it is only for the past two weeks that he has finally learned to sit down and comply to the tasks given to him without the tantrums, whining, crying and all. What an amazing relief and achievement, my feisty king has reached. The only problem is, once he has set his mind to do the things in sped class or practice for their performance for the program tomorrow, he does not like to rest. He just wants to go on and on even it is scheduled time to rest. Morgan has come so far. And I am so proud of him. My heart is skipping every single day that he goes to class behaved and compliant but most of all happy learning things.

By this time, those of you who have read my previous notes must know already what a sentimental mother I am, maybe o-a to an extent, making the little achievements of my kids exponentially amazing. Well, one of the lessons, I've learned as a mother-- nothing is ever small, mundane and ordinary when it comes to my kids. Ever heard of the term, "Love my own"? Well, I am one very good example. I am fiercely proud of what little progress my kids make. Be it learning how to skip, or blow bubbles, or learning how to sit down and comply to tasks without a hint of crying, whining or complaining-- I celebrate it all. I celebrate my children every single day.

Yesterday, a fellow parent expressed her concern how she wished her child would also learn how to behave like our kids as her own child was still newly enrolled in our sped program. Really apprehensive whether her child could ever learn to sit down and wait quietly, I could see the desperation in her eyes. I responded to her, "We will get there, Ma'am. You will get there. Your child will get there soon. Patience is all we need to have and of course consistency in discipline at home and in school." I added, " We have special children so it goes without saying that the challenges we have in parenting our children are special as well. Our parenting skills are greatly challenged and put to the test. The most important thing you need to know is that you can do this. Your child can do this." She seemed appeased for a little while. But like I said, like all mothers, I know she will always worry. When we love someone more than life itself, there is no question why we worry the way we do. Eventually, though, I know her worries will be dissolved little by little, one day at a time as she sees progress one step at a time. And she will learn to celebrate all the little things. And she will learn that when it comes to her child, there are no small things, only great possibilities. And her heart too will be skipping with joy and no longer with doubt and fear.

Today after our practice at the Superdome for our performance tomorrow together with the Toddlers and Playgroup Class, we brought our boys back to the center for a little session with Teacher-Mama, yours truly. Morgan was still so hyped-up that I made him do obstacle courses; slide, jump on the trampoline, tunnel crawling and end task shape sorting. He complied readily smiling his toothy grin. Garret on the other hand did some table top shape sorting activity as well. Who would ever think, in a million years that I could handle my two boys with two separate activities one after the other in one session? We have certainly come so far. Another cause for celebration. Oh and when it was time to sort the heart shape object, Garret uttered the word---"heart". And oh, how my heart skipped!!!

My boys, together with the other 11 kids at the Sped Center will be performing a prayer song entitled, " If I were a Butterfly" to open the Toddlers and Playgroup program tomorrow morning. And it will be held at the biggest venue in our city. Garret is the fish and Morgan is the worm. And they'll each be thanking God tomorrow that they can giggle with glee and be squirming like they should be....Here are the lyrics, so you'll know what I'm talking about:

If I were a butterfly,
I'd thank you, Lord, for giving me wings;
And if I were a robin in a tree,
I'd thank you Lord, that I could sing;
And if I were a fish in the sea,
I'd wiggle my tail and I'd giggle with glee;
But I just Thank You Father, for making me - ME!
'Cause you gave me a heart and
You gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus, and
You made me His Child
And I just Thank You, Father
For making me - ME!
If I were an elephant,
I'd thank you, Lord, by raising my trunk;
And if I were a kangaroo,
I'd hop, hop, hop, right up to you;
And if I were an octopus,
I'd thank you, Lord, for my good looks;
But I just Thank You, Father, for making me - ME!
If I were a wiggly worm,
I'd thank you, Lord, that I could squirm;
And if I were a crocodile,
I'd thank you, Lord, for my big smile;
And if I were a fuzzy-wuzzy bear,
I'd thank you, Lord, for my fuzzy-wuzzy hair;
But I just Thank You, Father, for making me - ME!

After all is said and done, after all the processing and denial, acceptance and intervention, we will all realize that we are made the way we are for a beautiful purpose. And to be simply alive is reason enough to be thankful and to celebrate. I think this may be the greatest lesson my kids have taught me, what Autism has taught me.

Today, tomorrow and everyday, I thank and celebrate the Giver of Life for my boys, for my partner, for the life I have been given...with a smile on my face, not unlike the charming kind my little prince gives and just like how my feisty king expresses his joy, skipping--with a skip in my heart!