Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Up the Down staircase

I've noticed that Caden's development tends to come in big waves with long periods of rest in between. Just when I think he's plateaued, he surprises me with several big achievements at once. And he accomplishes them strongly with no doubt they've been mastered.

At Caden's one month checkup, the pediatrician seemed fine with the fact that Caden was already delayed in some of the very early developmental milestones. I knew I should be patient and accept Caden wherever he is but I also wanted some help. At the time we had not been referred to Early Intervention or any type of therapy. I felt like I was failing my son already.

"He's not smiling yet," I informed the doctor "Well, he kinda smiles when he has gas but that's it."

The doctor looked up from his examination of my baby to ask "And that's not good enough for you?" I could have died right there. I wanted to burst into tears and shrink away. I already felt like a bad mother and didn't need any more help in the inadequacy department, especially from a medical professional.

That night I did cry as I filled in The Tank about the visit. He had also been concerned about Caden not smiling yet and we both felt the doctor's comment as a punch in the gut. I thought we had been pushing for our son to reach higher goals but the pediatrician had made us feel like complainers and parents who would never be pleased instead. I remember standing in the kitchen holding my beautiful baby as we re-evaluated our expectations, tears streaming off my face.

And then Caden smiled. I couldn't believe what I had just seen and told The Tank to get beside me pronto. Sure enough our son smiled again. And again. And again. Suddenly my baby was all smiles. I couldn't get enough of it and we laughed till bedtime.

Caden's first time sitting up, standing, crawling, even walking all happened in a similar manner. We worked on it, waited for it, no results. Almost always he would perform said milestone within a day of me mentioning its absence to a doctor or therapist. It was as if he was waiting for me to make the comment so he could prove me wrong. And when he did conquer a feat, he did it like it he'd been doing it for months. He didn't take one or two steps when he first walked. He zoomed across the room.

One of Caden's current goals is to master steps. He can go up and down with assistance though without alternating legs. He prefers one leg to be in the lead. We have a small stoop under our front door and I have seen him go up and down that single step without assistance, meaning nothing to hold onto, only a handful of times. Bigger steps he looks for a handrail or resorts to crawling up. Forget going down unless he's got a firm grip on both sides. The Tank had recently asked me if I thought the physical therapist was making this enough of a priority in their sessions. Caden had been climbing steps with assistance for nearly 9 months now and it seemed he should be able to do it on his own by now.

Yesterday after I picked Caden up from school, we took the 2 flights of stairs down to the ground floor. He was holding the handrail in one hand, my hand in the other. He steps down each time with the left leg first. The usual MO. His classmates seem to speed past us as they rush out of the building. But I've learned patience and know Caden is doing the best he can. We'll get there when we get there.

Once we hit the parking lot, we make a right turn to go up a small flight of 5 stairs to a secondary lot. The main parking area had been full so I had to park along the side of the building. Caden spots our car up the small slope and takes off, letting go of my hand. Before I know it, he has climbed up all 5 stairs. No handrail, no assistance, no problem. I am jumping up and down with glee and don't care who sees me. I give my amazing son a high five and then much to his irritation, scoop him up for a big kiss. "I am so proud of you, Caden!" He looks up and signs "more". He wants more steps. He knows he's got it down now and wants to show off his new skill. And true to form, he ascends the stairs like he's been doing it since he could walk. Wait till The Tank sees this. I love when Caden makes us eat our words!


Sharon said...

How exciting and way to go, Caden. I am sure that he will continue to amaze you!

Little Miss E said...

Em is the same way, she will take a break and then move forward at warp speed!

I wanted to let you know about the T21 Travelling Afghan Project! I hope you will consider participating and I would appreciate it if you could help spread the word! Thanks!


Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Congrats little Caden!!! So exciting!!!