Let me let you in on a secret. I’m someone who makes mountains out of molehills. Small beans are almost always a big deal to me. It’s just how I am, but it’s something I’ve often been criticised for, mostly by kind folks who are trying to get me to stop worrying about the small stuff and see the bigger picture so I can go a bit easier on myself. It’s something I tried to cure myself of while pregnant with Mr Boo. I wanted to be better able to put things into perspective before he arrived and inevitably made life more chaotic, as any new child does. (Little did I know…) But now I think I’m a completely hopeless case. I’ve just come to the conclusion that I see the world in a particular kind of way and my radar is too sensitive a lot of the time.
I’ve mentioned before how having a premature baby does very odd things to your sense of time. I was reminded today that it alters your sense of perspective in other ways too. You see, in Premmieland tiny things are a big deal. Quite literally. Our little ones make a big impact on our lives. In the early days (and for some, for many months afterwards) grams or ounces take on a huge significance and minuscule reductions in the amount of oxygen helping our babies to breathe takes a hefty weight from our shoulders.
It works the other way too, of course. Little things can shatter our biggest hopes and dreams. An almost imperceptible flickering of Mr Boo’s foot, for instance, signalled the onset of ankle clonus that first made me believe that he probably would have cerebral palsy given what else we knew about his medical history. And then the little hiccups that started at Christmas landed us with a diagnosis of a ‘catastrophic’ epilepsy, infantile spasms.
Now life is thankfully (mostly, fingers crossed) on a more even keel. But the little things still matter hugely and usually in a good way.
Like today. Mr Boo had his routine fortnightly physio. I wasn’t holding my breath about it, to be frank. He hadn’t slept well last night and was really grouchy when we got to the hospital. I thought, great: this is going to be yet another appointment where I say, ‘He does this better at home, honest, he’s just out of sorts’. But I didn’t have to. It was quite a shock.
The physio got out a new toy, you know one of those ones where you push, twist or punch buttons to get animals to pop up and then you push the animals back down again and the fun starts from scratch. Let me tell you, this is a really challenging object for Mr Boo. The dynamic tone in his arms (intermittent stiffness made worse by exertion) coupled with his difficulties in opening his hands makes working a toy like this about as tricky as it would be for me to juggle four balls. While jumping on a pogo stick. On a tightrope. Without a safety net. While desperate for the loo.
So when Mr Boo pushed a button, grabbed the animal that popped up and then pushed it back down again, all while in a sitting position (when he has much less trunk and arm control) our jaws dropped. The physio looked at me quizzically. We didn’t speak but I knew what she was thinking: ‘Didn’t expect that, but let’s not get too excited just yet. It might be a fluke’. I was thinking the same. But it wasn’t a fluke. He did it again and again. OK his arm movements were far from gainly and his hands were a little more fisted than we’d like, but this bit of play, an activity his older sister could do without effort so many months earlier than him, is HUGE.
I felt like I did when Sissyboo took her first steps at roughly the age Mr Boo is now. That day may or may not come for him. But I know there will be other days like this. And I’ll take them gladly.
That was no molehill we hopped over this morning. We scaled a mountain. And I’m dizzy from high altitude and pride. So much pride. Go Boo!