Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Celebration List

A while ago I felt God reminding me that I am to be a "praise-singer" for Matt, I'm to be his biggest fan, I'm to celebrate his triumphs big and small. This way I will not get caught up in stressing about all the things he can't do (like eating anything that isn't pureed) or I wish he was doing (like walking) or I wonder if he will ever do (like talking).

So I started by sticking up a Celebration List on my kitchen wall. On this list I write down all the things I celebrate. I try to do this every day, but sometimes I forget. Since Matt is turning 21 months tomorrow I thought it would be appropriate to share what I have written on my Celebration List in the last month...

Matt threw a ball for the first time.

Matt fed himself with a spoon for the first time (and then threw the spoon across the room - with much glee).

Matt opened the flaps in his book on his own.

Matt smiles at people and seems curious about them.

Matt ate his first FLING (a baked maize chip that is puffy so it melts easily in your mouth - but this is a HUGE achievement for Matt).

Matt initiated an interaction with a friend (whilst we were at church).

Matt drank 3 sips of thickened liquid from a normal cup.

Matt went shopping with me and wanted to touch and feel everything I put in the trolley.

Matt showed interest in my friends cat (up until then it has seemed like he hasn't noticed that cats exist).

Through Matt we have met many inspiring people that we would not have otherwise met.

Matt has started communicating that he wants more of an activity through body language.

Matt can cruise along the kitchen cupboards

Matt has learnt to wave

Matt has learnt that people wave when they say bye-bye

Matt has started drinking from his sippy cup by himself! (Up until now he has relied on me tipping the sippy cup into his mouth so he could drink from it).


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Book Review: So Now What?

So Now What? Winning over depression and loving a boy with special needs. By Celeste Smith

This short but moving book is written by a mother of a boy Mitchy who has Cerebral Palsy and a measure of autism. I was touched by how honest Celeste was about the many struggles that she faced – from battling depression; to dealing with the grief of having a child whose life does not fit into the “normal” category; to managing the practical challenges of helping him develop. She shares thoughtful insights on interesting topics, such as: how to prepare her son to accept his disability; disciplining a disabled child; and the impact having a disabled brother/sister has on the siblings. I found I could glean many helpful hints that will enhance my parenting as well as my coping skills. Through out the book there is a thread of hope (even in the hardest times) and that hope is Jesus. Celeste weaves her faith into all aspects of raising her boy. This hope and faith ensures that the reader finishes the book with a real sense of celebration at the life of Mitchy.

I am sad to conclude this book review with the news that Mitchy died this last month of a drowning accident. I am broken by this news as I feel like to have known Mitchy personally after reading his story. My deepest prayers go out to his parents and siblings in this time.

(This book is published by the author in South Africa, 2008)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I love this face!!

The things Matt gets up to

Here are some fun Matt moments that we managed to capture on camera. These show that raising a kid with special needs isn't always a tough, uphill battle. Don't get me wrong, we still have our challenges and there are tough days. But as we learn to not to take life too seriously, and to enjoy each day for what it brings, then we find there are actually lots of FUN moments to be had...

There are books to be read and flaps to be lifted!

There is toilet paper to be pulled and torn and scrunched up in a deliciously fun way!

There are trucks to ride, well we are not riding them on our own yet so mom has to push.
But it is just the most fun to be pushed!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Book Review: You are Special

You are Special. By Max Lucado

Max Lucado has created a world of Wemmicks (little wooden people) and this story is about a character called Punchinello. Wemmicks give one another stars if they have done something good or are something good (like being pretty). If they do something that they consider bad (like being clumsy or having chipped paint) then they give each other grey dots. Poor Punchinello was always getting grey dots because he wasn’t seen as good enough by the other Wemmicks. This story really connects with me because I often care too much about what others think and I fear for Matt that he will grow up feeling not good enough because he is not the same as “normal” children. I cry every time I read how Punchinello’s understanding of himself changes when he meets the carpenter who made him – Eli. He tells Punchinello: “All that matters is what I think. And I think you are pretty special…because you are mine.” He also tells Punchinello why the Wemmicks’ stickers don’t stick on another character called Lucia, Eli explains “Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what others think. The stickers only stick if you let them.” What an invitation by My Maker for me to take more seriously what He thinks about Matt, than what others may think. I find this book ministers to me every time I read it to Matt. Highly recommended for every child (and adult).

To see the Amazon webpage for this book click here