Photos by Leslie Talley Photography
A couple of weeks ago his occupational therapist approached me about the fact that Elijah was throwing some temper tantrums when she was trying to get him to walk from the classroom to the OT gym. He would pitch a fit and cry and dig his heels in with her. As soon as he would see another therapist, he would smile his cunning smile and throw his arms around her for a hug, back away to make eye contact and give another smile and then fling his body against her again for another hug. The boy knows how to work it. However, we were on to his games. I told the therapist that we just need to get everyone on the same page: Elijah needs to walk in between sessions and circle time. No more being carried everywhere. He may throw a fit for awhile, but he can do it....he just doesn't want to. He needs to be walking to gain his strength so that he'll be walking without having to hold hands or use a walker or a push toy. He needs to gain strength so that he'll be independently walking, which I know he will LOVE when he figures it out. The therapist was happy to hear me say this, and remarked, "He's just really strong willed." I laughed out loud. I said, still laughing, "Oh- he's not strong willed. HE'S (pointing to Christian who was looking at a toy in the other room) strong willed." The lady does not know strong willed if my Elijah is it. Still makes me chuckle just thinking about it...
Today, Elijah's Physical Therapist was thrilled with his progress. He has been using the pediatric walker to walk down the long hall from the classroom to the PT and OT gyms. He used to be exhausted by the time he got to the gym and would refuse to play and would just cry. However, the last two days, he has used the walker to walk down there- making adjustments almost completely by himself- and then arrives at the gym happy and ready to play. YAY!!
Tonight, the boys had a mellow night. Homework for Christian got finished early, and we had nowhere to be, no commitments to uphold. I let them just do what they wanted to do, which for Elijah is to... make a mess. He loves to open the dresser drawers and throw everything out. He tries to get at the books. He throws his blocks. And if he sees my computer sitting unattended on the table, he gets a special glint in his eyes, smiles, drops his head like a sprinter about to begin a race and crawls warp speed over to my computer. Even as I come barreling over the furniture to try to beat him to it, he manages just a fraction sooner than I. The mischievousness at it's peak, he lets out a euphoric giggle and begins strumming his fingers all over the keyboard. He has succeeded, if only for a moment.
It has and will continue to take Elijah more time and more effort to do the things that come naturally to others. However, when he is motivated the delay is nearly non-existent. There may not be real words or independent walking, but there is mischievousness a-plenty!