Thursday, October 16, 2008

Waiting

Raising a child who has developmental delay is all about waiting. Waiting for the next milestone. It is all about learning how to cope with the waiting, and to find ways to live life to the full whilst you are waiting.

I think there must be a built in “biological milestone clock” in a parent that gets really uncomfortable when one’s child is not meeting milestones in the usual way. Rationally I know he is delayed and I don’t have any real reason to want to rush him. In fact I am convinced that it is best for him to develop at his own pace. Yet I have this strong desire to see him reach his next milestone.

I found it really hard to wait for Matt to crawl. My first coping technique was to set dates in my head – “I will not think about Matt needing to crawl until he turns 1 years”. This helped me not obsess about it and get on with life. The only problem was that when he turned 1 he was still not crawling and I had now set up this expectation in my mind. So BIG DISAPPOINTMENT when that date arrived and he was still sitting. I set myself a few more dates to look forward to, yet each time the anticlimax was too much to bear - so I tossed that coping mechanism.

It was then that I discovered the technique of celebrating - by intentionally looking out for and rejoicing in the tiny, mini, small achievements as well as the big it has helped me to stay positive.

I have found it easier to live life whilst waiting for Matt to walk. I think it is because he is fairly independent with crawling, and is exploring and interacting with his environment. So walking doesn’t seem to be as desperately needed as crawling was when he was just sitting. I think I have also worked through more of my grief with Matt’s syndrome and am more at peace – so that makes the waiting easier.

However the last few weeks have been increasingly challenging. Matt seems to have the capacity to walk but doesn’t seem that interested in doing it on his own. He will walk well with me supporting his hands. With his dad he will walk with only one hand supported (he seems to think that mom needs to still give him two hands). Sometimes when I try to encourage him to walk he will just drop to his knees and choose crawling. Most days I am fine with this and don’t force him. But lately I have found myself getting frustrated with him, irritated that he doesn’t want to try, and annoyed that he prefers crawling. I think when there was no sign of “walk readiness” it was easier to focus on other things and just get on with life. Now that he seems to be on the verge of walking, the fact that is taking so long is slowly chipping away at my patience!

So I guess it’s time for me to get back to being focused on celebrating the tiny, the mini and the small achievements that do happen every day!

10 comments:

Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

I will join you! Alex is so close to crawling I can hardly stand it! So today I celebrate that I fed him his feeds in 30 minutes instead of an hour, and that he seems to be babbling more and more every day, and that we all slept last night even though he is teething.
celebrating with you........

Cindy said...

Celebrating the little steps is definitely the way to go!

I think what kept me from being frustrated with the months that Natalie was capable of walking, yet not walking, was...Lukas did the same thing! He could have walked for 2 months before he actually did. He pushed his little push toy around the house instead of walking on his own, even though he was completely capable.

Knowing that it's "normal" for a kid to be capable of doing something, but not having the confidence to actually do it, helped me to be less frustrated with Natalie taking her sweet time to decide it was time to walk. They definitely need our encouragement to progress, though! They can't do it by themselves.

Hugs!

Kelly said...

I could have written that post!! AnnaKate is 2 and a half now and I just "let go". I realized that my wishing and wanting was not doing anybody any good. AnnaKate will get it and I have to be patient. I also feel that I have really come to peace with RTS and I am really enjoying her small steps and mini milestones. This is not the trip I expected but it sure is great!

Kelly

Johnny said...

I am new to this... so finding your writing is an exciting thing for me. My son Jacob is going to be 6 and does not walk- he can with his walker; but not without. Share your frustration, and your celebration on the small victories. Every day is a blessing, and I'm thankful to have in my life...
Thanks to you again...

angie said...

You are right to celebrate every little thing....even though some days that's tough.

Some little things that helped when Emma was at this stage were
-we got a hoola hoop and had her stand inside of it and hold onto the front. We stood on the outside and held onto the back. It required her to establish more balance and it was similar to her walking on her own, however she still felt more comfortable because she had the security of holding onto something.

-we also did this with a towel. We would roll the towel and put it around her waist, we would hold onto the back of it.

Emma could "walk" (had the ability) for about 4 months before she finally took her first independent steps...then it was about 4 more months before she really walked everywhere.

Hope this helps:). He's doing great...and he's adorable.

angie said...

You are right to celebrate every little thing....even though some days that's tough.

Some little things that helped when Emma was at this stage were
-we got a hoola hoop and had her stand inside of it and hold onto the front. We stood on the outside and held onto the back. It required her to establish more balance and it was similar to her walking on her own, however she still felt more comfortable because she had the security of holding onto something.

-we also did this with a towel. We would roll the towel and put it around her waist, we would hold onto the back of it.

Emma could "walk" (had the ability) for about 4 months before she finally took her first independent steps...then it was about 4 more months before she really walked everywhere.

Hope this helps:). He's doing great...and he's adorable.

carina said...

Matt is doing great! It is understandable that you would feel this way...but, don't sweat the small stuff.
Just as he started crawling, he will start walking. I just know it. Good luck!

hennhouse said...

So very, very true. About the waiting and the clock and the living. So very true.

Kristi said...

Sounds like Noah and Matt are at the exact same stage. When I read your post it was like I was reading something I wrote. I did the same thing with crawling. I said I wouldn't think about it until he was one . Then he didn't crawl at one and I set myself up for disappointment. I did the same thing with walking.. But it was 2 years old. Well he turned 2 three days ago and he is not walking.. But I am different now.. I am at peace with his delays and I know walking will come in "Noah's time" not mine..

Kyle & Tarah Peacock said...

Can I just say thank you for that post. I am not quit in this situation yet, so far things are going as planned. But I know that things can change and I will always have this post in the back of my mind so I can celebrate with what is going on instead of dwell on the things that aren't happening. So thank you!