Anyone who knows me knows that I am a creature of habit. I think, by default, most of us are. I like staying within my comfort zone because it is safe and it helps my neurotic brain feel like it is somewhat in control. Unfortunately this behavior has trickled over to Lola, I think in part, because I have learned I have virtually no control over Lola’s unknown condition. There are no books like “What to Expect When You Have a Child With Undiagnosed Developmental Delay” to learn from. I go by pure instincts on how to best care for Lola and I often have to think outside the box to best cater to her comfort level and abilities. So when my step-daddy Steve decided to put a piece of Whole Foods hard bread in front of her, my initial instinct was to not let her eat it for fear that she would choke. Yet what I saw next would shock me and teach me yet another lesson on letting go. My little rockstar picked up that piece of bread and began to feed it to herself. A minor achievement to some, but a grand milestone in our world as self-feeding has proved to be an ongoing challenge for sometime. She had just begun to feed herself Mum Mum’s again after a few month hiatus of self-feeding. So not only was I mesmerized by what I was seeing, I was also internally saying shame on you for subjecting my own kid to my own comfort levels. Don’t get me wrong, Rob and I are always pushing Lola beyond limits but choking scares the bejesus out of me. But Lola knew it was hard and she would take small bites and chew it thoroughly. And folks, it was all downhill from there.
In the last few days, Lola has begun to feed herself everything from dinner rolls to Honey Nut Chex and sister even fed herself banana pieces. She and I had a lunch date at Jimmy John’s the other day and it felt so foreign yet so good to be able to put pieces of her sandwich down for her to feed herself. Now is the feeding the most graceful thing you’ve ever seen? No, but at this point…who the hell cares?! I’m simply ecstatic with this newfound achievement!! She still has an intense texture sensitivity in her hands, but I only put one piece of soemthing down for her to pick up at a time. I don’t want to overload her vision with clutter on the tray and too much for her to choose prompts her to play rather than eat. But I have to say it’s crazy to hear crunching and drinking all by her lonesome. We really have Steve to thank for this as he helped lay the foundation and in turn, she is just running with it.
Pa Pa Steve also helped us in the much needed shoe department. You may remember, Lola’s feet act as a second set of hands. Sister has mad skills when it comes to the use of her feet. She can manipulate toys, pick up items and test out objects before her sensitive hands even touch them. But we live in the middle of Indiana and while the weather has been mild, it is apparent that winter is right around the corner as it’s chilly outside. And so the long battle with shoes and socks has emerged once again. The second we put them on, she immediately pulls them off. After some brainstorming, we began to put tights on her so at least her feet would be warm and she couldn’t pull them off. Interestingly enough, we began to see an enormous increase of her hand use because her feet were covered up. Yet the shoes still posed to be a huge problem. Well that was until Grandpa Steve bought her a pair of secondhand Nike’s at my beloved Once Upon a Child Saturday Sale. As I was searching for future use clothes, Steve was busy in the shoe department. I giggled as I watched him try pair after pair until he finally found a pair of boys black Nike’s that had both laces and velcro straps. And just like that, Lola was able to tolerate shoes every day since. It’s as if she needed that whole first day to get used to the feeling and now she isn’t nearly as resistant to putting them on. Now I’ll say, I had to backtrack all throughout Target yesterday as she managed to squirm her way out of another set of shoes, but again it’s a start. And a much needed one at that.
Along with shoe shopping and eating, we had a great time with Grandpa Steve. It had been exactly one year since Lola had last seen him (except on Skype) and she immediately took to him and his goofiness. It usually takes Lola time to become acclimated to someone even if she is familiar with them, but no time was needed with Steve as it was love right from the get go.
Thank you Steve for coming to visit…we certainly enjoyed your company and your superior (insert Mom joke) insight!
Speaking of mother’s…yesterday was my mama’s birthday. Unfortunately what was to be a celebratory day for her turned tragic when the news of the shooting in Connecticut broke. I wanted to take a moment to send my thoughts and prayers out to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives. While Lola was sound asleep in my arms last night, I held her closer as I listened to her heavy breathing. I cherished the moment and I vowed to cherish all moments as life is not always what you expect it to be. My heart is heavy with sorrow as the thought of sending Lola to school only to never see her again is enough to make me never let her out of my sight. Their loss is unfathomable and I pray for healing and peace as they try to move forward with their lives.
In an effort to make her day bright with cheer, Lola and I sang Happy Birthday via Face Time to my mom as I played on Lola’s baby piano. I think our rendition could possibly go viral as it was quite a site to see! Happy Birthday Mama!!