Thursday, July 3, 2014

You never stop appreciating the milestones, big or small

"Child will ride independently in bumper cars," said no child development book ever. It's another one of those things that parents of typically developing kids wouldn't think twice about, a child zooming around in a bumper car. But when Max did it for the first time last year, it was a big deal. And it was just as much of a thrill watching him do it again when we were on vacation last week, and browsing through the photos last night. 

That's the thing about milestones and the inchstones: You don't stop savoring them. I stood on the side of the ride and watched in awe as Max adeptly maneuvered around, swerving to avoid car pile-ups and giggling when a little girl rode into him. Otherwise, he looked very serious, like driving the bumper car was his job

At random times when Max walks, says a word, feeds himself, picks up an object, uses his pointer finger, reads a word, writes his name, climbs the stairs, goes to the bathroom or uses his iPad speech app, I'll suddenly be filled with gratitude that he is able to do what he does. I take none of it for granted. Years ago, I was talking with a friend about Max's speech and she said, jokingly, "Oh, if he ever talks, you'll wish he didn't!" And I bristled and said, "No, I wouldn't. If he talks like you and I do, I would never get tired of hearing it." Max talks in his own way. And I never get tired of hearing it, especially "Ohmmy" and "I ugh ooh" ("I love you").

The happiness that filled me as I watched Max riding the bumper cars felt like no other. It's bliss that comes from knowing just how far he has come, and the promise of things still to come. A bumper car ride says this: Max can manipulate the steering. He is confident enough to go alone. He is no longer intimidated by the din of the rides area, like he used to be. He takes pride in his ability to ride.  

This boy is going places. And I am there on the sidelines, watching in awe. 


  1. What a wonderful feeling that must have been! We also take joy in the little things that other people totally take for granted. Swiping a subway card in China, climbing onto a horse on a merry-go-round, making a piece of toast...all huge achievements for our 12 year old. It's somehow comforting to know other people celebrate these little achievements also.

  2. What I notice in these pictures, and in the video from last year, is that Max doesn't appear to be wearing his headphones! As someone with reasonably-minor noise sensitivity, who knows how loud places like that can get (between the bells, and the buzzers, and just the natural exuberance of kids), I am so impressed that Max seems to be reacting fine without his mufflers! Like you said, the little things....

  3. I rode my first roller coaster at age 4. One of the special effects scared me, but I loved thrill rides ever since.

  4. He does look super serious in those pics and it's adorable! Maybe he'll be able to drive a fire truck yet, he sure looks determined enough! ;)

  5. I don't have the same kind of disability as Max, but when you have physical impairments, there's nothing like getting control of your own movement through some kind of vehicle. Mainly I think of wheelchairs and scooters, but now I'm wondering if bumper cars should be an essential to-do list item for kids with physical disabilities. You get some control and room for safe experimentation.

  6. Max looks AWESOME in that driver's seat! This is just the beginning of bigger and better things to come :)


Thanks for sharing!

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