So, we’re back from our holidays now. After many blog posts, much agonising and even more self-tormenting (these are skills I am very accomplished in, it turns out), I allowed therapy to take the back seat and just get on with the lovely, if exhausting, business of being a family away from home.
Of course, all the while I harboured this secret fantasy that it wouldn’t matter. That we would go to Boo’s first physio appointment in 5 weeks (which we had this morning) and he would amaze his lovely physio by rolling, crawling and doing a tango despite having not done his programme for two weeks.
No: I didn’t really believe this would happen, but there’s always hope right? But you know even if I had tried to make the holiday therapytastic it would have been really tough without all Boo’s equipment (my back is living testimony to that as I type this). We spent much of the holiday battling spectacular teething (last 4 molars) and the even more spectacular nappies that came with it. This was not the place or the time for much therapy. A lightbulb moment for me, I can tell you. There were many on holiday. I’ll tell you more soon.
Letting go of therapy was hard but was important psychologically for me, I think. I hope it will prove good for Boo, too. But it is hard to let go of inchstones. To see them recede further from view.
But then, of course, as always something comes along and surprises you. You spend weeks, months working on one thing and then something else entirely unexpected and all the more delightful for that comes and photobombs your life.
Right there. Out of nowhere.
You see, when I say we did no therapy with Boo while away, I’m not being entirely truthful. I did put him into different positions each day and did some stretches. I also did some of his flashcards for his SALT as our list of September targets is huge and hugely depressing. But I also spent a lot of time talking to him and talking about the different things we were seeing out and about. You call it living; we have come to think of it as therapy, too.
Finding stuff that both kids could enjoy taking into account the 4 year age gap between them and the small matter of cerebral palsy and a not-made-for-accessibility Cornish landscape was challenging at times. I will blog more about our experiences and some of my thoughts about them soon. But one thing we could rely on for a good holiday day out we could all enjoy was a trip to a farm or wildlife park.
Boo loves animals, just as his sister did at the same age (and still does). He finds monkeys completely hilarious, although he does have a tendency to see the world as voice-activated toy and can’t understand why monkeys won’t gambol about and make funny sounds just because he says ‘more’.
And farms are a good SALT opportunity. We can say the names of the animals and get Boo to try to copy the words. We can ask him what noise the animals make. He knows quite a few of those now. So we were wandering around Dairyland Farm near Newquay a couple of weeks ago when Sissyboo (always prone, like her mother, not to be able to see things immediately in front of her) said ‘Where are the pigs, Mummy?’. They were about 4 feet away in an enclosure looking very happy in lots of mud. But before I could show her, something totally unexpected happened….
…Boo got out his peter pointer finger as we call it in these parts (and which we have been trying to get his tight little fists to isolate for ages). With it crooked ET style he did no more than direct it towards the pigs and said ‘dere’.
We couldn’t believe it. Had he really just understood a question and responded with a physical gesture and a verbal resply? And did he actually point at the right animal and use the right word. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
So we did it again. Where are the ducks? A point (OK a bit crooked, but definitely in the right direction) and the cutest sound I have ever heard: ‘dere’. Where’s Daddy? ‘Dere.’ Where’s Sissy? ‘Dere’. He was pointing in all directions. It was just like that bit in the film of Matilda where she starts lifting the contents of her kitchen by pointing at them. And it was just as moving.
It was a lovely moment and has been repeated daily since. (I even got him to show his physio this morning.) And it reminds me of a life lesson I am often in danger of forgetting. Sometimes you don’t need to be always thinking about the next milestone or challenge ahead. Sometimes what you need to be focussing on is right ‘dere’ in front of you.
Well done, Boo! I am so blooming proud of you!