In the special needs world, you’ll hear moms talk about “inchstones.” Milestones are ages apart and there’s no guarantee you’ll get to any of them, so you learn to celebrate the small things.
The small things can start to add up, though, and before you know it, your child is doing some things you never thought possible.
I remember the day I typed that I wanted Charlie to use his hands now during play. He was eight months old at the time and while he could get one arm in the air, he had very little control and couldn’t do even basic things like bang on a toy piano. He had a good grasp and could put things in his mouth, but you had to give him things–he couldn’t get them by himself.
Right before his first birthday he had figured out how to bang and with his left hand. For the most part, he ignored his right hand, but we like our victories and tried not to worry about that too much.
Two months after his first birthday, we were teaching him to feed himself with that left hand.
By eighteen months he had learned to hold and drink from a sippy cup. That’s approximately twice the age of a typical child, but like I said, we count victories in this house.
At twenty months, Charlie could push almost any button you put in front of him with his left hand. Righty wasn’t real useful, but he had stopped sitting on it.
At almost two, Charlie started to use his right hand a little. Mostly as a “helper” to his left hand. It was often fisted, but he was trying to use it. Round these parts, we call that progress.
And so here we are at three.
When Charlie claps, only his right thumb refuses to cooperate. His left hand can do a pincher grasp and we’re working on pointing. He sucks on his left thumb to keep his right hand available. He’s not typical when it comes to his hands, but he’s not far off either.
The inches are adding up. Most days it’s painfully slow and seems like we haven’t improved in ages, but then someone mentions something or you stumble upon an old photo and you realize how much has been accomplished. I might not have picked this life, given an option, but I plan to celebrating every inch of it.