I got introduced to a new word the other day over at Special Needs Disability Parenting: BLOOM. The author was reflecting on how daunting the typical "milestones" can seem, when they feel so few and far between for our kiddos (and typically-developing kids are just galloping along.) She spoke of giving due celebration instead to the advances that would to others seem small. The baby-steps, the inchstones.
We've had some very nice inchstones with Joy lately.
Schoolwork is paying off! It's rather a new phenomenon for Joy to suddenly show us something that we haven't been working on at home and weren't particularly tracking with from school. Recent example: Joy has been excited to play catch at home lately, with a soft inflated kick-ball-size ball. All of a sudden, we started seeing her do occasional two-handed throws over her head, something we'd not taught her. "Oh, we learn that in gym!" cried Rose. And sure enough, Joy had been working on it both in gym and with her one-on-one staffers.
Another was when we went to the library earlier this week and encountered a chunky wooden bead-stringing set that went with Eric Carle's classic book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. There was a wooden butterfly attached to the far end of the string, and the "needle" was the caterpillar, and all the foods that the caterpillar ate were the beads to string. Joy knew exactly what to do, even though the "needle" was a long rectangle and had to be inserted just-so, and we hadn't done beads at home for a quite a while. But she's got a bead-stringing task-box at school!
Another delightful set of inchstones stareted with the Christmas tree and stockings and cards that she left unmolested this year. Right behind her dining chair, those cards are. Easy reach, and stimmy-favorite material. And yet she hasn't pulled down a single one.
The tree as well, she only made a very few grabs for it this year, even though she was easily tall enough to take it down with one good pull had she chosen to do so.
Emboldened by our success with the tree, I tried something new when we took the tree down. I replaced it with a plant that's been exiled to the back bedroom (now Rose's room) for years. I can't even remember when we pulled the last plant out of our common living area for Joy-proofing purposes. Long, long since.
The plant has now stood in place of the tree for a week and a half. We had to warn Joy away a couple of times, but she has mostly let it be.
This plant is a survivor, and not just of Joy-depredations. We rescued it from JoyDad's mother's condo after her passing in 1998. A number of weeks had gone by between the funeral and the final housecleaning, and the soil in the plant's little six-inch pot was bone-dry. We didn't really expect the plant to survive even the trip home from Chicago, let alone the long run.
Not only is it still going strong, it's some inches taller than Joy now.
We reckon that Grandma P would approve, and is somehow celebrating the inchstones right along with us.