This young man is stealing my heart, as I watch his heart develop more every day.
Last night I was busy putting 6 little children to bed. My darling niece started calling from the bedroom, but I was in the playroom with two other children, and couldn't hear her. NatureMan dropped what he was doing and ran to take care of her. She just needed to potty again before bed. He led her to the bathroom, moved the stool for her, and raised the toilet seat...then stepped outside and cracked the door. I'm so proud of all these little moments. These are glimpses of the future: my precious son someday caring for his own little children.
NatureMan had some struggles early on. He had inner ear and breathing issues. Week after week, we'd be back at the doctor's office treating ear infections, doing breathing treatments, checking oxygen levels. At one year old, he wasn't trying to walk or talk. He already had an inhaler, and had been hospitalized twice for breathing problems. We ended up with a nebulizer at home, and would often need to do round-the-clock treatments. I was in college then, and wrote a paper on some of his issues... trying to find some answers.
We'd been seeing an ENT who, at 18-months, suggested tubes.
Watching my baby be wheeled away for surgery was one of the hardest moments of my life. I know that's minor surgery, compared to what many kids must go through, but it was hard for me, nonetheless.
But within a month of the surgery, he finally started to walk!
Soon after that, he started speech therapy at the hospital.
At 2-years old, he said his first words! "Bubbles."
His speech therapist would turn on a bubble machine every time he said the word. They worked on the word "baby" but he wasn't able to say it before his little brother Dash was born.
NatureMan had speech therapy for years... through the hospital and then for a year at the church, and then she came to our home for the next year or so. He made leaps and bounds.
When he was 4-years old, he would take my face in both of his hands, and gently turn me to look at him when he was talking. He wanted me to see his lips. Because that's how he had been "hearing" us for so long.
At 5-years old, he was speaking well! No one would have known the struggle behind it.
He still occasionally pushed my hair behind my ear and leaned in close to talk. Being heard and understood was important.
For years he's struggled with the fluency of reading. Now, at third grade, he's starting to catch up. He's feeling confident enough to leave me notes everywhere, even if everything isn't spelled correctly. (If it's incorrect, it's always written phonetically!) If he's upset about something, he slides a note under his door. When he's thankful or happy, he leaves me notes in the kitchen to find. :)
He looks to books for information and stories now, no longer relying on me to decode it all for him. He reads for enjoyment... although the fluency and comprehension of harder books still eludes him. If it takes too long to figure out one word, then the entire sentence comprehension is shot.
This is just another reason I'm so very, very thankful for the blessing of homeschooling. We've always been able to go at his pace, encouraging and helping him. He never needed a "special class," or to be held back a year, because of his developmental delays. No one made fun of him for being unable to pronounce things, or for his reading difficulties.
Any assignment that needs extra time and attention, gets it.
Plus, I get to see him all day, every day, developing into an amazing person.
NatureMan, this is my note to you,
just to say, "I love you!"
btw, it's 10-10-10 at 10pm :)