Monday, January 13, 2014

The people who help you see the progress

Max is making progress, slowly but surely, as he always has. We're hearing him speak sentences every so often. Sometimes, Dave and I trick him into them. Like last night, Max kept refusing to take a bath and Dave said, "We're going to make a cow take a bath with you and he'll say neigh!" and Max grinned and said, emphatically, "No! An oww says moo!"

"Dave, did you hear that?" I asked.

"Wow!" he said.

"Max!!! That was an amazing sentence!" I said-squealed. Max giggled, pleased with himself. I'm assuming he ignored the part about a cow taking a bath because he knew Dave was being utterly ridiculous.

Seeing or hearing Max doing something new gives me a bliss rush. This is both because it's a score, but also because I usually know the effort that went into it—so there's that much more to savor. For months, Max has been typing out sentences on his app, and also stringing more words together. His first true spoken sentence cropped up months ago: "Max is getting a talking Lighting McQueen for a present." As is typical with his accomplishments, Max didn't say another sentence again for awhile. That's been OK with me—I know he can. But, wow, what a feeling when he says a sentence.

It's a whole other thrill when people tell me about things Max is doing. It's like getting a surprise gift—especially appreciated during dry spells, when it doesn't seem like there's been much development. It's validating: Yeah, I know it, he kicks butt. This week, I got several treats.

"Today, we worked on improving his core strength and using two hands together," Max's school occupational therapist emailed me. "He sat on a therapy ball in the gym unassisted and had to catch a large playground ball using his two hands. After a few trials Max did great. He was catching the ball unassisted while maintaining his balance on the ball. He then lifted the ball up over his head using two hands and tossed it back."

Holy arm usage! I've never seen Max raise his up high and throw a ball.

Sunday morning, Max went to an activity. Another mom asked what he did on vacation. She knew it had something to do with the movie Cars, but she couldn't understand what he was saying. So Max took a crayon and wrote out "Cars Land."

Holy spontaneous handwriting!

The person who's given me the best perspective of all is my mom. She has been Max's lead cheerleader since day one. In Max's early years, I often despaired about his development, to the point where some days it was hard to get out of bed. Mom isn't one to make up stuff so you feel better, so when she came to visit and pointed out the progress, I took heart. I believed. Yes, Max was retaining more food in his mouth when he ate. Yes, Max was cruising around faster in his walker. Yes, he had so much determination. Yes, he was the world's cutest baby ever.

I don't go to that dark place anymore, but her observations still give me a high. It's like legal marijuana! Um, kinda sorta.

My mother hasn't seen Max in a couple of months, and she was at the house this weekend. "Max is getting even more handsome!" she gushed. "And he is really coming along."

"What are you seeing that's new, Mommy?" I asked.

"He's putting two and two together—he is understanding so much more," she said. "And he's talking a lot."

It felt so good to hear.


  1. So happy to share the progress! Max is wonderful.

  2. Yay for progress!! When my parents visit, I always ask them how they think Brielle is doing. There's something about seeing her day in and day out that can make us miss the little things.

  3. Great to hear! Max is learning not just how to do things for himself, but he is learning how to get others to understand him too! The thing with Max writing "Cars Land" really is awesome! Way to go Max and keep up the good work!

  4. I love unbiased viewpoints from the people we love. Your mom is a real asset. Not only is Max growing, but you have an outside perspective affirming the progression.

    I tend to think I am unbiased, but I know I am not. I attempt to keep things in perspective, but it is not always possible. So like you Ellen, I love to hear how Fayth is developing from an outsiders point of view.

    O happy day!!! Awesome.

  5. I love hearing other people see the progress my boys have made as well, but sometimes it makes me sad that I haven't seen what they have. Progress is taken and cherished regardless, but I love seeing first hand everything they're accomplishing. I want to hoard all of their progress for myself. Aw, I am such a mom. ha!

  6. The gift of just the right amount of distance. My mother would do that for me. She had the gift of patience from a lifetime of waiting and seeing things come through. What a gift.

  7. Wow wow wow on the handwriting!!!!! I love hearing Max communicates this way when he needs too xxx he's a star!

  8. Progress, progress, progress. I love it!

  9. This post made me feel high. Really! It is like therapy hearing about other children and their progress. Of course, it is way wonderful when my own child makes progress, but I really get a rush when I hear other children are dong amazing things. Hope is a powerful thing!

  10. I could relate so much to this post. My parents are our number one cheer squad and although they live next door and see our son every day they are continually remarking on his progress. Having someone to share that with is wonderful. It makes us feel like we are a part of a team and everyone is cheering for the same goals the same outcomes. Congratulations to Max on his progress. I always think every little achievement adds up to a larger outcome. Our son has shown us that again and again. He took his first unaided steps at the grand old age of 18, last year. All the therapy and hard work came together and it happened. The joy was even sweeter I think because we all knew how much had gone into it. Julie


Thanks for sharing!

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