We have long passed the overly rigid nighttime bedroom door gap issue, when the little boy wanted his bedroom door to have a precise 7 cm opening when we left him to sleep. PRECISELY 7 cm (without measuring, the 3 y.o. boy JUST KNEW, it had to be THAT wide, not one centimeter more nor less). If we strongly suggested that 8 cm was just fine, and left the door at 8 cm, he would climb down his bed, correct it, more often when we didn’t see. That sort of rigidity was just spooky for us, so we would always try to flex him a bit, trying to lessen his rigidity. How naïve of us...
We have passed (well, sort of) the frantic, hurried, often times aimless body movements when he was over-excited or his food allergy stroke again.
We have passed the super-stubborn, super-strong unbendable will, unarguable irrational fixations, the no-compliance-without-war attitude, and so on.
We have also passed the phase where he hadn’t had the mental capacity of questioning the diet we apply to him, in order to minimize his “hyperness”. But back at 3 y.o., his diet was much simpler, and his expose to the variety of food was still rather limited. Nowadays he would protest his diet limitation whenever he feels like it, which is nearly at every meal (or snack time) when he is in bickering mode, even the ones that are already too definite to be discussed, such as food coloring.
We have passed the times when he wouldn’t sit still in his kindergarten classes, that he had to sit separately from the rest of his classmates, on the chair instead of on the floor for story-time. I still wonder how sitting separately on his chair helped him to not wander around.
We have passed the period when he would want to go to exactly the same stores at the mall, sometimes with the same sequence, every single time we went to the mall. We would try really hard to make each trip to the mall different (different entrance, different sequence, going to different stores with different duration, leaving through different exits, parking in different areas), for him to learn variety, while keeping his comfort in mind, so that he wouldn’t develop some kind of anxiety or confusion.
We have passed his a-little-too-much fondness of long socks, when he would pull his socks of any kind (long, medium, or short) with all his might, so that those socks would cover up to his knees. His shorter socks would have stretched sooo thin that people would question if his mama was a little out of her mind, for not providing decent socks for him. Now this one wasn’t too troubling, apart from Mamaw worrying if it would last until adulthood (this poor Mamaw did worry too much! ;P).
His left hand is now helping his right hand more spontaneously, and instinctively.
He can now hold a snack in his hand and bite off a chunk at a time.
He still doesn’t lick on a popsicle or ice cream cone, and bites it off like eating a banana, he is now 7 y.o.
Most of you would wonder what these statements mean. I should briefly explain.
Most children without coordination issues would effortlessly master licking, chewing, biting off a biscuit and finish it at quite early age. I remember staring in awe at a one year old pretty little girl in a café, who licked an ice cream cone in her mommy’s hand. She was barely walking on her own, but was licking like a pro (well, messy and all, but still, a pro)! It struck me hard, how some things didn’t come easy at all for children with coordination difficulties or other issues. I remember how my little boy couldn’t hold a piece of finger food and bite it off bit by bit. He would hold one, bite just one chunk off, then forgot all about the rest of the finger food while he chewed on the chunk in his mouth. Or he would bite it off over and over again without stopping, until it was all gone, leaving heaps of scraps all over the floor.
While the rest of us learned to write on a piece of paper with one hand and having the other hand mindlessly help holding the paper steady, my little boy’s brain had to be trained, for a long time, so that his other hand would help his dominant hand doing things like writing, eating, etc. Thank God for training! :)
So, dear readers, may these little things remind you to be mindful and thankful. I am tremendously amazed of the little things that God does for us that remain anonimous or unnoticed, although without them, our lives would have been impossible to live.
All this enlightenment came to me because of my boy. He is an eye opener! :)
Past were the years when he would be a “lost boy” EVERY SINGLE time we went grocery shopping or to a mall (later I arranged to do grocery shopping when he was at school, but I had to drag him along during the K-years, coz school was over by the time grocery market started to open). Supermarkets or malls had sooo many things that caught his attention. He would stop so often, by something that caught his attention. I would then go on walking a few meters ahead or turned around a corner nearby, where he was still VERY visible. When his attention shifted from what attracted him, he would find that Mamaw wasn’t where she was, and got panic all at once. He would scream in panic, or run around and got even farther from where Mamaw was O_o Within short seconds, Mamaw who was really nearby picking shallots or fruits or whatever into a bag, would get all the judging stare from supermarket staffs or other customers, because she was sloppy and careless, and her cute, adorable little boy could have been kidnapped or something.
As the boy got older, his distractibility got worse, and Mamaw’s patience grew thin. She made a pact that boy would have to do his best to stay close, because Mamaw needed to do grocery shopping without too much incidents, for her sanity’s sake. But of course boy would soon be distracted again. Over and over again. And again. And again... neverendingly. Now Mamaw had become this cold hearted matriarch eager to teach her son a lesson on grocery shopping. So she would do grocery shopping without much reminding boy to stay close. Her eagle eye surely keeps her boy within safe perimeter while doing her thing, but boy didn’t know that. So his lost boy scenes got worse. Sometimes he would wander around, and couldn’t find Mamaw (though Mamaw could see him clearly!), then he would ask for help from staffs or security guys. But then Mamaw has learnt to ignore those judgmental stares and comments, and just let boy do his problem solving, and in the end just look at the boy’s eyes sternly, hoping that he would learn something from it.
This happened almost every single time we went to mall or grocery shopping. Some bigger scenes were even more upsetting.
Looking back, I think I should have been more sensitive and considerate, because his little heart must have been gripped by fear every time he felt that he was “lost”. Exhausted and beaten-up Mama had tighter nerves and far less endurance indeed...
At 7 y.o., he now roams farther in shops or malls, but does so more responsibly. Now all we have to do is tell him which isle we would be, and he’s good to explore on his own for a few minutes, of course while considering the safety of the place.
And many maaannnyyy more progresses. I can’t keep track of them all, and I don’t have the time nor capacity to take a note of them all, although it would be a good reminder.
Oh how far we have come! The abundance of grace we have experienced!
The little stubborn boy who had to have everything his way has now evolved into a boy who knows his boundaries, submits to his authorities, follows rules (well most of the time ;P), thrives on firm discipline in his daily routines. He has his annoying moments of course, as children his age do, such as talking back, trying to persuade Mama or Papa to bend the rules, but he knows right from wrong, and honorably chooses the way of righteousness, at least most of the time.
I would really love to call this the fruit of our hard labour, but it really wasn’t. It is all grace. Our labour is for our own molding and shaping, his molding and shaping is his own journey. His so far good results? They are all God’s merciful generosity.
He still has to develop his self value, overcome his low self-esteem, and work on his management, especially on school tasks, because his peers are strikingly aware and attentive of their daily school tasks.
But in him I see a God-fearing soul budding, a loving and compassionate soul, a strong sense of right and wrong, a spirit eager to love God 'more than Mama and Papa loves God' (this was his own words from a few days back), a tolerant and considerate and obedient soul. How precious and how proud we are of him.
It’s not like “everything is now OK and under control”.
We are still very much struggling, in many other, more advanced aspects. We are still waiting for God’s fulfillment of His promise of healing. I don’t know if it would come as complete, total healing, or the healing of the soul, the healing of whatever is broken along the way. We shall see. But we do have faith and look forward to that healing, in whatever form it will come.
In September 2012, during a struggle in D’s school, I wrote a blog post featuring this verse:
“Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Now I can boldly say that I AM seeing the goodness of the LORD, in this land of the living! Some of our struggles still remain, but His goodness surely surpass them all.