It’s been a few weeks since I have written a new post for one of my favourite linkys, Small Steps Amazing Achievements. It’s partly because I haven’t been able to see the wood for the trees lately and partly because Boo hasn’t read the memo and realised that weekly steps in the right direction are good for the blog. Get with the programme, Boo!
And then we went away for two weeks. I had thought that this would mean more therapy, because he would have more time with us. In practice, it meant more travelling, more out and about time, more fun, but not more physio. There’s part of me that feels I’ve let him and another part of me shouting as I typed that, ‘Boo needs a break too, Boot Camp Mummy’.
He did get his physio, but he also got a break. I think he rather liked it. But not as much as he did his new favourite holiday hobby. Swinging.
Playing in the park is something I totally took for granted when I was a kid. We had a rec near my house, which I loved and a garden big enough to house a double swing and a rather optimistically named skyglider.
Fast forward thirty years and Sissyboo loves the huge park near our house. I would have called it an adventure playground when I was young (how times have changed) and we spend a lot of time there, partly on account of our garden being roughly the size of a large envelope stamp.
For Boo, though, as in many aspects of his life, the park is a different beast. It has its excitements, to be sure, but it is also a bit of a minefield. Our park is reasonably well equipped for littlies (small wooden houses to play in, see-saws, baby slides and swings). Boo can’t use any of these things conventionally because he can’t sit independently. But we brave the stares of others and the challenges and take him fairly often and he loves it.
Most of all he loves the swings. Putting him in them and keeping him in them is a bit of a military operation, though. First there is getting him without his legs going rigid. Then there’s getting him into a posturally appropriate seated position. Then you need to support him so that he doesn’t: a) do his finest leaning tower of Boo pose; or b) face plant onto the safety bar.
We can’t let go. He doesn’t mind too much, but we all know it’s not quite the same experience. For him and, to be honest, for us.
And then we went on holiday and the cottage we stayed in had access to a shared small playground. It had a swing, a swing I’d seen before. It’s not a SEN swing, so far as I know (at least, lots of non-SEN kids I know have had them in their gardens), but it is high-sided, and supportive.
We got Boo in and strapped him in. There was a bit of side-leaning, but his posture was OK and he couldn’t fall out. Hang on. He couldn’t fall out. Did you hear that?
He could swing without falling. Without me holding on for dear life. I couldn’t believe it. I pushed him gently. He was OK. No: he wasn’t OK. He was grinning like a loon. He was laughing like even Boo doesn’t normally laugh.
I was standing in front of him and I continued pushing. Before I had time to compute what I’d done, I had let go.
I was pushing my boy in a swing. And he was having a wail of a time. You won’t get the full effect from this photo, but take it from me, if you could have seen his face…well, let’s just say you’d have been staring a pure unadulterated happiness.
And if you could have looked at me. Well you’d have seen the same.
I never want to let you go, Boo. And I will hold you and your sister near and dear always. But sometimes, some day, I need to loosen my grasp. This swing let me do it for a few, short minutes a day. And while I was nervous, these were special moments and I hope the shape of things to come.
And in case you’re wondering. Yes: we’ve ordered one for the garden. It will take up the whole damn space, but it’ll be worth it.