I can’t be the only one who worries about posting about ‘achievements’.
These children of ours, the not neuro-typical ones, pull back from the norm in so many ways and Small has done this to me a couple of times now.
He’s doing this!
Oh, no, he’s stopped doing that now.
But I think also that all achievements are important, even if they turn out to go away again because, if only for a time, they are there. They are present.
So, watch as I get Small ready for his bath.
He is sitting on his changing mat, next to the bath, trying desperately to pat the bin because it is shiny. I am trying desperately not to let this happen because… well, because it’s a bin, and make a mental note to myself – again – to put it somewhere else. This does not happen.
‘OK, we need to take your top off now, are you ready? Jumper first’.
And I go to take his jumper off and… he puts his arms up for me to do this. He puts his arms up, he pulls them out at the right time and rights himself as it ricochets off his head. He does not fall back with the effort.
He does this again with his top and vest.
‘Well done, clever boy’.
Small looks at me, fleetingly, then taps his stomach gorilla style with both fists and claps.
I have no idea if this means well done me, but I like that it might, ‘Yes, well done you, you cheeky monkey’.
He is getting equally adept at putting clothes on. If I put his top over his head he will push his arms through.
I only really noticed how much he was helping when he got distracted one time – a label, a toy had caught his eye – and I was having to feed his arms through, rag-doll like instead.
Trousers are still beyond us though as he can’t stand independently. We do do it sometimes, just to try, and Small leans heavily on my shoulders as I wriggle his trousers down and he giggles at the oddness of it all. I think it’s important we attempt it, get him used to the idea, show him what’s next.
Again, again, it is the tiny forward-in-development accomplishments that make the most enormous difference to our lives. Every tiny achievement brings us that little bit closer to ‘ooh, that just got a bit easier, didn’t it?’