I woke up this morning to my stomach doing jumping jacks. Sounds a bit odd, I know, but there is no better way to describe it. (Anyone out there who has dealt with an anxiety disorder of some sort, or has experienced strong feelings of anxiety, will likely know exactly what I mean). It’s as if my stomach has a mind of it’s own, and it’s not able to settle down from what can only be described as a plyometric workout routine. I wondered what the heck was going on…had I simply woken up in the wrong stretch of a sleep cycle? Doubtful, this was pretty damn strong. I sat down to meditate on it, and it didn’t take long to hit me: we had Evretts “IPP” meeting with his daycare and all of his therapists coming up at 9:30. (I realize now that I never did ask exactly what the “IPP” stood for, but that’s because I imagine it stood for something along the lines of “Individualized Progress Plan”, or “Individualized Participation Plan”. It is a meeting to discuss his progress in various areas, and make a plan that will help him best moving forward. Just in case you’re wondering ;)) The funny thing was that I had thought that I was looking forward to hearing from everyone how things had been going. We already knew that he LOVES it at the daycare & is adapting very well, and all of his therapists are people we know well now and are very comfortable with. I had no conscious clue that I was feeling an ounce of anxiety about this meeting, until those symptoms attempted to pummel me upon waking. Oh what mighty power the subconscious mind can exert over us when we fail to acknowledge it, ha!!
You know what I think happened? Autopilot. Let me explain; when you have been to a vast amount of various appointments (as I have in the past 1.5 years or so), whether it be with Dr.’s, Therapists, Specialists, Lab Appts, etc., your brain makes a strong association between “appointment” and “danger”. Then, the amygdala “triggers” your body to prepare for emergency, activating that primal fight or flight response. You don’t even need be aware of it. I know that I certainly wasn’t aware of it this morning!! But thankfully, I have also learnt enough about the brain & body (and anxiety) to tame the “beast” and get back to neutral (at least most of the time, ha!!). So, following a short meditation session & stretching, I set about getting the little ones their breakfast. I was very mindful of getting ready to go s-l-o-w-l-y, focusing on only one thing at a time. Afterall, racing about only makes our minds race further in consequence; so, I purposely went slow (in order to go fast). This helped, as my physicality showed my mind that there was nothing to be all worked up about, and before I knew it, we were off to the meeting. Mind no longer racing, and no more inner jumping-jacks going on; I was ready to hear whatever was to come, and was truly looking forward to it 🙂
Even though I had been already fairly aware of what everyone at the meeting would have to say, and what our goals are moving forward, it was still a bigger surprise than expected to hear just how much progress our Bug has truly made!!!! Sometimes it’s hard to really see the details of what’s right in front of our noses on a daily basis, and hearing it from others can be a huge source of joy, and a big boost!!!
So, how did the meeting go?….
Bug is almost always full of joy at daycare, much as he is at home…minus when someone needs to take him away from his beloved water table, ha!! He is using at least a word or 2 every day now, sometimes even 2-3 word phrases, and new ones are emerging all the time. True, it isn’t all super consistent just yet (except for “mom” & “daddy”, which really warms our hearts…and of course “no” is a consistent one!), but he is well on his way!! Afterall, only 5-6 months ago, he was using NO WORDS. Needless to say, daycare, his integration worker, and our awesome SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) are pleased with his progress in the speech department.
He is climbing his mountain…
Our Occupational Therapist is also happy, which was a pleasant surprise for me as I wasn’t sure how well he was coming along in that particular department. (He doesn’t do some of the OT items as willingly for me at home as he does at daycare, so they often get to see more of the progress than I even do) A few months back, darling Bug didn’t have a proper pincer grasp at all, and could not coordinate pointing at anything. Now, that pincer grasp is STRONG, aaaaaand he can color and CUT PAPER!! Wow…the cutting paper (with help, of course, he only just turned 3!) BLOWS. MY. MIND!! He is also slowly learning to dress & undress himself, whereas a few months ago we would have had to manipulate his various body parts ourselves to get every item of clothing on. Lifting a foot for a shoe? Nope, that never would have happened. This morning, he almost got his winter boots on all by himself. What a big boy!!!
Just keep climbing, just keep climbing, just keep climbing, climbing, climbing…
Our physiotherapist was last to speak. I hadn’t seen her in person for a few months, so I felt the most nerves about what she might have to say….<cue the internal jumping jacks again>…. But, I calmed my amygdala again with deep, centered breathing (ha!! take that!), and then she said the greatest words on the entire planet, with a smile on her face and great enthusiasm: “He is catching up!!!” Hallelujah!! Amazing!! I smiled so hard that it almost hurt! It would take me an entire separate post to explain all of the ways in which he has advanced with his gross motor skills since October…so that’s actually a story for another time, but let’s just say that I couldn’t have wished for anything better to come from our meeting today.
Onward and upward on the mountain our Bug goes…
Upon coming home, I decided that even though it was a bit chilly today (even for Northern Manitoba, ha!!), Evy & I would go outside and play. Next to water, OUTSIDE is the next best thing. (Don’t even get me started on lakes…this kid is a fish!!) He absolutely loves it, no matter how cold it is. We bundled up, and headed out for some one-on-one time in the snow with our wonderful dog, Gus. Although he didn’t have much to say verbally, he was so in-the-moment with me the entire time, that I can easily say this will be one of the most memorable afternoons of my life. I love this sweet little man so much, he has my heart wrapped right around his tiny fingers. And when we were getting tired out there, he lay down in the snow and stared up at the trees pointing to the winter sky. Thank goodness I captured that gorgeous moment of pure wondrous joy in a photo, I will treasure it forever.
As if that wasn’t enough joy for one day, he also learnt a new word!! “Uh-oh”!! He accidentally knocked over a big mega-block tower that his big brother had built (I didn’t tell him yet…I wasn’t ready for the stomping and pouting, lol!), and he looked at me, made the funniest expression and said “uh-oh”! He continued showing off his verbal, fine motor, and gross motor skills as we played trains and goofed around while the baby had a nice long nap, and I was especially mindful of (and grateful for) all his steps forward.
Higher up the mountain he goes…
Here’s the cherry on top of the sundae: he followed his first “command”! We had not yet seen success when asking him something. If we asked him something such as: “Evy, can you get your cup?”, it didn’t even seem to register with him that we were speaking to him, or that an action or response was needed. When we took a break from playing trains, and snuggled up for some tv time, I asked him to pick the show. I turned on to “previously watched” on Kids Netflix, and said: “What does Evy want to watch? Can you show me?”….and to my great surprise, he walked across the room to the tv, spent a brief moment checking out the options, and then pointed to “Puffin Rock”. My eyes welled up with tears. My heart overflowed with joy. My darling bug UNDERSTOOD ME, and did something that I asked of him (without physical help from me) for the FIRST. TIME. EVER!!
Even in this very moment, my heart is still overflowing with gratitude.
(And may I just say, put that in your pipe and smoke it, amygdala!!)
He is going so far.
He is scaling his mountain!