It truly is astounding how much growth can occur in just one week. So many firsts were observed these last 7 days that I can’t even begin to capture them all! We’ve been spending much of our days as a Roman and mommy pair. The days have been filled with constant learning and fun while interspersed with several healthy snacktimes and main dishes to keep my little Roman belly happy. We’re still trying to slowly introduce him to the outside world as he gets used to our routine at home and begins to feel more and more secure with us.
One of the most important firsts was Roman sat through a book this week, several, in fact! Literacy is so important to me as a therapist and mother. I see so many children who struggle to keep up in school due to weaknesses in this area (myself included), yet they get minimal assistance once they’ve fallen behind it seems. My father has dyslexia and over his lifetime has learned to compensate in brilliant and creative ways. He’s incredibly gifted (so were Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and JFK), and I believe in many ways his giftedness is attributed to his different neurological wiring. We waste so much time cramming ourselves and others into our society’s cookie cutter molds that we forget to celebrate each of our different minds. We all have something valuable to contribute. While I’ve never been formally diagnosed, growing up I struggled to process print myself. I, too, learned to compensate by putting extra time into my studies and by learning to tackle difficulties head on as I found avoidance to be much more painful. After investing my entire childhood into sports activities (which has its own benefits) and adhering to the less than thrilling requirements of academic reading, I finally have time to sit down with a book for pure entertainment (although many of my picks still tend to be educational). I often wonder if my life would have looked different if I had been stricken by the right book at the right time. It’s just so exciting to open a new/used book for the first time, taking in the smell of it’s pages and being pulled into an alternate world for a short time. So, I WANT so badly to share this treasure with my children. I want their lives to be full yet slow enough to see the value in a good book. I want to read to my new son just as I did and still do with Crawford. However, Roman was not having it at first. When we intially introduced him to a book, it was destroyed within 2 days. Overtime, we learned to use ‘soft hands’ and gradually began learning to turn individual pages without severing mom’s thumb in the process – haha! Up until yesterday, he had no interest in jointly attending to a book. I’ve been incorporating book readings every moment his little body is still, whether it be snack time or during another activity. We practice turning the pages on cue and filling in rhyme words when able. Yesterday we reached a milestone. Ten books were jointly attended to in momma’s lap, my friends! It was glorious to watch him go retrieve yet another book and excitedly return to my lap for me to read to him. I thought I would have to wait a long, long time before enjoying this day!
He is my helper in the kitchen! Those of you who know me know another joy of mine is cooking. Roman has become my right-hand man in the heart of the home. We made pizza the other night. He also helped me make kale chips which he gladly followed up by eating the entire pan. Seriously? The kid is eating kale chips? I’m still in disbelief because the first few days out of the orphanage it appeared we might have a seriously picky eater on our hands.
He went to the park for the first time and loved it! He has a mild form of cerebral palsy, so he’s struggling to walk up the steps and climb without assistance, but with repeated exposure, I know he’ll have it down independently. Just as I anticipated, he loved the slide and swing. He also has a mean left foot too. Watchout all you soccer dudes!
He went to the ice cream shop! He had no idea what we were saying when we told him we were going to get ice cream, but I bet he’ll know after last night’s excursion to Maggie Moo’s. We followed the park up with some ice cream. Imagine the four of us…. windows down, music blaring, with windblown hair and ice cream covered faces. We kept getting a thumbs up the whole time. Roman was so happy, he kept singing in perfect rhythm “la, la, la, la, nah-mmm, nah-mmm”. It was just so sweet to look in the backseat and see Crawford and Roman back there together, finally!
So, with the first week now complete, I’d say it was a great success. After all, happiness is our goal!