I’m sitting here with Noah as he scoffs his favourite after school snack of toast and butter and a bowl of raisins while watching his iPad. I’m breaking all my rules. I swore my child would not use technology while eating. I also swore he would only eat wheaten toast and not buttery white but as I look at him now the only thing on my mind is that I cannot believe we have reached the end of our first chapter.
With only one week left in pre-school, I am so looking forward to summer holidays this year. Every year I make a point of taking note of how far we have come since last year. What we have achieved since this point 12 months ago and every year since Noah was born, the list has been long! But this year is special. We have made it from baby to toddler to graduating pre-school and as far as I’m concerned, we have aced it!
I remember in the very early days when we started therapy. I was a new mum, I was sad, I was scared and I was overwhelmed by the journey we were taking. Everything seemed to be so focused on all the things my baby could not do or would have difficulty doing. I remember the sadness, fear and frustration as he was pulled and stretched in physiotherapy sessions in an effort to teach him to sit, to crawl, to walk. Every step that I had taken for granted with my first child seemed to be hard for the second and I was being conditioned to expect less from Noah then from other kids.
But even at the very beginning, I refused to believe that he could not achieve what other kids can. As a small baby, I saw determination and spirit in him and I knew he would not give up. I certainly was not going to let him down. I decided there and then that chapter 1 in our story would be to get him to the school gate.
And here we are. He did learn to crawl, walk, run, jump, swim. He did learn to hold a spoon, feed himself, take himself to the bathroom. He has found words to get what he needs, he can communicate in his own way, he has made friends, played games and laughs out loud. All of these steps were hard, some seemed unattainable at times but he persevered, he worked hard, he showed tremendous determination and he made it! Surely school will be a doddle in comparison?
Of course, I’m not naive. I know the journey into chapter 2 will be hard. We are in for a challenging ride and there will be tough times. Days when other kids are mean, he can’t keep up with the game, he doesn’t understand the class, he can’t make his voice heard. I can’t even imagine how we will get through homework and come out in one piece but I feel energised, optimistic and proud that we have come this far. Who’d have thought that when standing in the school hall to attend the open day of his new school, I would be the one feeling happy, lucky and proud? I could not have imagined it when we started out on this journey.
I write about our life because I would like people to know how loved and how valued children like Noah are. There are very difficult times, I have learned so much about life, about parenting and about how amazing human spirit and perseverance can be. And now, as we approach his new chapter in our journey, I could not be more proud to be Noah’s mum.
I am going to sign out now for the summer months. I am going to take the time to go on picnics, swim, read books, make puzzles, build sandcastles, visit friends, manage the family tantrums and organise play dates. I am looking forward to writing about the next adventures in our journey next September. Hope to see you there!!