Moving on Up

Monday was a big day for the Boos. Sissyboo had an inset day (or an insect day as she insists on calling them – I wonder what she thinks the teachers get up to…) and so I took her to Chessington World of Adventures for the first time. We had a great time, bumping into half her classmates (great minds…), looking at the animals and going on virtually every ride there. She is just 1.2 metres now, which means that almost all the rides, including some terrifying ones, are there for her to try. And Sissyboo is a trier (like me). Unlike me, however, she is also a daredevil. So when she begged me to go on Dragon Falls, a log flume type thing with a massive drop at the end (how is it safe to drop from a great height in a plastic box on water?) I said  ‘OK’ in my best ‘Me? Scared? Never!’ tone of voice.

I spent the whole ride waiting for the drop at the end, heeding the Chessington guide’s advice to put my arms round Sissyboo and get her to hold the empty seat back in front. (The park was so quiet. If half of her school hadn’t been there, it would have felt like Westworld). Anyway, I held her about as tight as I could reassured her (unnecessarily) that it would be OK and not to be scared (she wasn’t) until we plunged at great speed to get soaked in the name of fun. And you know what? It was. Although it wasn’t so much fun that I would agree to her pleas we did it again straight away, I enjoyed it. My little girl is not so little after all.

Back at home Boo was making a plunge of his own. Monday was Boo’s first full day in the Toddler Room at his nursery. Until now, and despite being much, much older than all the other kids, Boo has been in the Baby Unit. It makes sense. No developmental consultant will put Boo past 8 months physical development because he can’t sit independently. Most of the other babies in the Baby Unit can stand before they leave there; many can walk. Boo can’t do either and may never do either, but he is speaking a little and even though he finds them difficult to manipulate, he wants to play with toddler toys: pop-up toys, puzzles, shape sorters. Cognitively we won’t know exactly where he is for some time, but at the moment he seems to be where he needs to be.  Which means, as his physio pointed out, that he needs to be with kids his own age. Toddlers. Even if Boo can’t toddle

The nursery has prepared themselves, Boo and us for this well. Staff from the Toddler Room, including his new key-/one-to-one worker visited him in the Baby Unit and observed him doing his daily physio several times. He did lots of visits to the new room. I went in for a meeting with the room supervisor. Boo’s physio went in to talk to the staff in the new room about Boo’s needs and demonsterate his exercises.

But it still felt like such a huge deal. His difference is so visible there. When we dropped him off for the first time, one of the girls welcomed him and made him giggle but looked at us quizzically as we just stood there for a minute. She was waiting for us to put him on the floor and let him walk over to a toy like the rest of the kids, then she remembered this wasn’t Kansas anymore and let us pass Boo to her so she could decide where to put him safely.

When he came home he seemed a bit more tired than normal, but very happy. But I couldn’t shake off my doubts and worries. It’s one thing to be lying on a playmat in a room of babies, quite another when they are running at break-neck speed to the water tray. What would the other kids think of him, I worried? Would they not want to go near him? All I could see was a life-time of difference rolling out in front of him. And it left me sobbing at my desk at work despite the nursery sending happy pictures of him home to us in his daily physio/activity book.

But then I went to pick him up yesterday and saw for myself how Boo is getting on. As I walked through the door, he was giggling furiously. Another little boy (who apparently adores him and brings him toys all day) was blowing him kisses. Another was saying his name respeatedly. They showed me some pictures of what he had been up to that day. He was standing at the water tray, holding himself up on his own by propping.

He was standing up, people! (Ok, he was using the tray like a standing frame, but we’ll take that.)

Then they showed us pictures of him dancing when they were singing earlier in the day. He looked so happy. So at home. The other kids looked so comfortable around him. And then I remembered, 18-month-old children don’t have enough sense of normal to know anything about what’s different. I hope knowing Boo will mean that some of them don’t associate different with bad or defective when they’re older.

So today, when I dropped Boo off, I found myself behaving like I did at Dragon Falls on Monday. My nerves were still there, but I put on a brave face and held on tight until the moment I knew I could let go.

Because my babies are growing up. I will never stop protecting them, but we all need to take a plunge sometimes and I need to let go sometimes, too.

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17 thoughts on “Moving on Up

  1. itssmallsworld

    Oh goodness, your posts always make me cry! In a good way, mind. Well done to you and Sissyboo, sounds brilliant (Big calls them insect days too and I too have wondered what she thinks goes on). And well done to Boo and his new found buddies xx

    Reply
  2. over40andamumtoone

    Wow, that made me cry. Children that age are so much more accepting and it’s a great learning curve for all of them and it sounds as if it’s doing your little one the world of good. I can only begin to imagine how brave you needed to be – a big step for Mum too :)

    Reply
  3. Aedin

    Yay-go Boo!!It’s a whole new world for him at that level!I always think babies/toddlers suddenly seem so much more grown up when they “go vertical”!x

    Reply
  4. gemgemmum

    Kids are so accepting :)

    It will really do him good seeing what the other’s do both physically and cognitively :)

    Reply
  5. Stacey

    This is my first time reading your blog (I came from a link-up on Love That Max) but I really enjoyed reading this post. I am not sure what is wrong with your Boo, so I will delve into your blog and learn more about you and your family soon, but I wanted to comment because I was struck by this: “I hope knowing Boo will mean that some of them don’t associate different with bad or defective when they’re older.” Our boys are five and almost three. We have a friend at church with Down Syndrome. K is in her late 20s, and the boys have been around her all their lives. I have never seen them look at her like she is any different than anyone else. Granted, sometimes they hide from her, but they hide from most people depending on their moods. It is our (husband and my) hope that because the boys are around K on a regular basis and see what a wonderful person that she is, that they will grow up unbiased towards people who look or act differently. Neither my husband nor I treat people differently because of any quirks they may have and we do not want our boys to either. I have seen kids their age look at or treat someone different because of their quirks (our five year old has sensory issues and speech issues as well, so he is sometimes subjected to the looks and comments from his peers), and frankly, it makes me mad. That is why it makes me happy to read how the children in Boo’s appear not to see how he is different. That is wonderful!

    Reply
    1. mrboosmum Post author

      Hi Stacey. I just wanted to say thanks so much for reading the post and for your wonderful comment. Boo was born at 29 weeks and after initially doing really well got meningitis on day 3, which nearly killed him and has left him with cerebral palsy and (controlled) epilepsy. That is the short version. The long version is the 6 months of the blog. Great to connect with you via Love That Max, one of my favourite linkies. I’m going to hop over later to see if I can find yours! Great to connect with you.

      Reply
  6. Pingback: Each Parent Has His/Her Own Course Too | Ain't No Roller CoasterAin't No Roller Coaster

  7. Jane

    Again I’m sitting here in tears reading your post. I know I have said this before, and our journeys are so different, but I can really relate to your feelings. I felt like this in September when Ethan had to move up to his new room, a move that made his differences stand out so much more. I have been told that the children have taken to him and don’t bat an eyelid when Ethan charges through their games. I’m so glad that the move has gone so well and it sounds like Mr Boo is thriving in his new room. It also sounds like you had a lovely day at Chessington, well done you ;0), I haven’t been there for years and didn’t think it had much for the little ones but perhaps we should look into it next year.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)
    x

    Reply
  8. redpeffer

    I’m so pleased you felt able to support both Sissyboo and Boo in their development needs. It’s not always easy for so many reasons, but to let go enough in both circumstances is good for you and them. Children are wonderfully accepting and some will continue to be so as adults-I hope they’re (as much as possible) the kind of people you all meet always. In the meantime, go Boo and go you xx

    Reply
  9. Astrid

    I’m coming over from Love That Max. I’m myself a forrmer preemie so will continue to follow your journey with Boo. I’m so glad he enjoyed himself in the toddler room. It’s great that the other kids seemed to be so accepting. Go Boo!

    Reply

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