Another Funky Day

If you’ve been reading along with me for any length of time, I’m sure that you’ve picked up on the roller coaster of emotions I’m on trying to parent my sweet little guy. Sometimes I wonder how different this would be from parenting any other child. Maybe I would still have days like today where I’m sad from all the pressure and worry I feel trying to help him meet his full potential. Maybe it’s just part of parenthood. Maybe it’s all hitting me harder because right now the stakes are so high for him.

Atti and his piano

As of yesterday Atti is 16 months old. His adjusted age, what he would be performing at if everything was perfect, is 13 months old. But he still can’t sit up independently, he can’t hold a bottle, he doesn’t crawl or walk. He struggles to eat mushy carrots.

I know I’ve written this post before. This is part of going through therapy. He has fallow periods. There are long stretches where it seems like he’s doing nothing, and then one day I’ll wake up and all of a sudden he’s got a new skill conquered. Those fallow periods are integral to therapy. He’s slowly building muscles, gaining size and strength, conquering all those infinitesimal steps along the way to achievement that I can recognize. I know that in a few weeks I’ll be in a new place, with new skills we’re working on. But the bigger he gets, the more these fallow periods wear on me.

This weekend we went to cousin Micah’s birthday party. 20 six year olds were running around having a wild rumpus while I sat on the couch with Atti just watching. I held the 7 month old baby of Bear’s cousin and I was absolutely shocked at the difference. The baby offered resistance. He stood on my lap like a ship captain. He sat up without my help. It was probably the first time I’d held anything other than a newborn in Atti’s life and the difference was heartbreaking. You tell yourself that he’s not that far behind. He’s not that different, he’ll just catch up. And then to feel it for yourself…it’s kind of hard to stay in your denial bubble after that.

So I gave the baby back, took Atti off his grandma’s hands, went back to watching the other kids run around, and thought about Atti’s future. He’s now 25 pounds of dead weight. What not too long ago was a delightfully snuggly little feature, is now serious work to carry around. His grandma is 5’2″ and already struggles to manage his little body. We are not far away from addressing using a stroller like a wheelchair, everywhere we go. And that would mean a whole lot more sitting on the sidelines and watching as all the other kids ran around and played.

Then on Monday we went to the birthday party of a friend of ours. They took over a little pizza place and we all got together to have a nosh. But we got there late so the place was really crowded and all the chairs were taken. We left the stroller in the car thinking that it would just be hard to manage and in the way, and we’d be fine once we were sitting, but then there was no where to sit. So we ended up standing against the wall trying to juggle Atti, the big diaper bag, and two plates of food. Then Atti choked on a noodle and barfed all over Bear, so we threw up our hands, apologized to our friends, went home and I’ve been despondent ever since.

There’s just such a steep learning curve to parenting this kid. He wants to move so badly. He gets so mad, he throws tantrums, he bangs his head against the floor. His tests say that he’s advanced in a lot of the emotional/intellectual aspects, so my little guy is already entering his terrible two’s, exacerbated by the fact that he cannot do what all the kids his age are doing. He gets mad, my heart breaks even more, and I can’t help but think about what our lives will be like if he never gets more mobility.

Atti in the Exersaucer
I keep trying to remind myself of that parenting mantra – Everything will pass. For good or for bad, everything will pass. During these fallow periods it’s so tempting to think that things will always be like this. That from here on out, this is what my life will look like. But it won’t. He may be going slower than other kids, but he hasn’t stopped yet. So I just have to find a way to hang in there.