Tryst with Special

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Best times are here to stay, so what if some days were glum, some were bone-tiring and some hair wrecking too.

Over past few years, I have promised myself to make hay as sun shines, while when things do hit North Pole, I can still see the sunshine.

My encounter with ‘special’ came early on in motherhood.

I embraced all, I have been adventurous, after over 10 years living as a highly ambitious career woman I moved with the flow. With motherhood I thrived for balance, hence consciously took a call on slowing down from speedy competitive corporate arena to watch my little ones grow. My life seemed picture perfect, family of four, beaming wide smiles, holding each other on well-mowed grass in sepia tones. So when some remarked older son was not participative or inclusive, I brushed them off, hey, no spoilers on my frame!

I was bringing them up by the book, at least in the beginning, checking page by page and mostly matters cohesively fitted in.

My older son was adorable, loving, ever nuzzling, people turned heads wherever we went. I reciprocated. He the early talker pleased us with rattling off nursery rhymes when he was just two. Loved to be read to and possessed vast vocabulary at that age. He would imitate everything he heard & would quickly build a grammatically correct sentence around every new word. Well boy, I carried a chip on my shoulder.

Verbal skills superseded everything. He got his ‘P’ & ‘Q’s right every time, what if couldn’t jump yet. Mealtimes were undoubtedly a long process but his appetite for books was unbeatable. He would talk us through everything be it cycling, wearing his shoes or writing. In my heart, I applauded his reasoning power though it was a task to get him to ‘do’ any of them. There were behaviors that one can easily regard as typical terrible twos, I kept saying he will overcome or grow out of it. He being himself was so delectable that he would win anyone through his charm and yes, ‘words’. Boy who I will not trade for anybody or anything. Clearly expressed what he felt, “I am upset because…”, “I am sad, because…” or “I am scared, because…” His grasping skills, cognitive sharpness made me conceited. As a parent I knew I had to bring up my child with good values & build his self-esteem, our home did reflect these ideals. We were learned, smart and contemporary parents. Therefore when people around started correcting me about certain aspects I was dumbfounded. Why? I agree some things did nag me, like, not chewing food, walking tiptoe, unable to jump, and constant falling, at times giving deaf ear, some behaviors here & there. But it was OK nothing Earth-shaking, thought me!

Then one day after persistence from class teacher, I didn’t agree to begin – she was expecting all sprouted from the same box, visit to a developmental pediatrician happened, my son was 2.9years old and my younger boy 4months. Holding the infant in my arms and listening to the words about my toddler, I could not grasp. Vague sounding names or was it diagnosis she blurted out. Unsure, I consulted couple more, questioning their inadequacies or my own incapacity of discerning the issue.

Then he refused to go to school. Something was upsetting him. Behaviors that were neglected came to forefront and were more blaring. I was confused, did not know which way I was marching.

What was that, life pace accelerated, all of sudden my son was doing therapy 6times a week, most my assumptions were moving towards grave. I thought I was raising a textbook child.

I would carry one baby in my pouch and teach the other to walk, climb down steps, cycle, and chest out- chin up- talk; spell the gamut and I was fixing them. I was tired mentally, physically by doing and by crying. I was lingering on power of hope.

Alas, we did find out and affirmed one cannot reprimand the child of behaviors that he has no control on. He needed assistance and we had to facilitate. Simply put, his nervous system did not work like other homo sapiens, they were wired differently. In my lexicon, Asperger’s Syndrome made an entry, cognitively superior species lacking emotional intelligence & significant life skills.

In the course of awareness, acceptance and sprinting for this child, knowingly or unknowingly I had neglected the younger one. Here, he was 5 and couldn’t recognize alphabets, shapes or colors. I bundled & picked this child, ran to the doctor, for her to validate a neurological disorder, dyslexia.

As my mind was racing to lay out the action plan, she held me tight with her gaze and asked, “how are you coping?”. Oh hell, I was coping; I was juggling to put together all the pieces, clutching my head, swimming against tide.

I could have slept through pulling the sheet around my head, instead, I decided to roll up my sleeves and get my limps wet. I pledged grit, passion, and perseverance to resurrect, to demonstrate what Mitch Albom said in one of his book, “The most inspirational man I know reached his own potential by helping a child reach his.”

With soulful delight, now following couple of years of toiling the needle, I warm my heart to see them sculpting their own niche.

The big boy celebrates who he is, truly different. His world comes with no biases. He has set off on a growth journey of mastering learning, conquering the unknown, flavoring the old thoughts with new unique light. All this thrills him, to discover his own truth.

The younger chap is his best in wild, rolls on the mud, grins and squints a bit when the sunray pierces his eye.

Along the way, I probably have set some affairs right with unconditional support from guardian angels, my boy’s mirror joy, when I watch them pillow fight I want to freeze the frame, their laughter is infectious, their eyes sparkle and eludes all pain.

My sojourn is just like any other parent with slight modification in the load I am carrying. Nevertheless, as I sail through I don’t want to be robbed of their growing up moments.

There is a path, and am no keener to find out where it leads, however, while strolling I do want to feel the shrubs on my feet, smell the soil and hug the wilderness. There is so much here & now than looking out for the finishing mark. Fear of being swamped by mucky water still remains, but then, universe echoes, I am the chosen one, I am meant to survive.

While I tell my story, I want to share three life lessons, in hope of shortening the learning curve for parents such like me,

Firstly, reach out to your children, listen with ting when they are talking to you, they may express in fewer words, however, there is much more spoken through their actions, moods, and behaviors. Keep watching for the signals, green light will flash soon.

Then comes, reaching out to coping groups, out there, moms and dads going through similar feelings, anxiety and helplessness come together to shine their light on each other. This gives a tremendous impetus to keep moving to provide the best care for child and family.

Lastly, reach out for help, it’s Okay to ask for help from a professional to stay stable mentally. If you are strong, the child will read the strength in you and If you are sad, the child will too stay sad & grumpy. Children are our reflection; our mental state is of prime most importance, we must and must pay attention to self.

Be a warrior, watch the spring flowers bloom and know ‘no man is an island’

– By Kavita Lobo

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