At the ripe young age of 2 years and 5 months Jackson has started to develop his personality and make progress. While he is still very behind developmentally, he is slowly but surely getting there. It’s no surprise to us, the doctors told us that was how it was going to be. I believe they said something to the effect that he would hit his milestones, just a lot later than a normal developing child. Having said that, the kid continues to surprise us on a daily basis. Just when I begin to think he isn’t ever going to do something, he does it. I’m beginning to wonder if he is just holding back and senses when I am about to give up. For example, at the beginning of the year my main goal in life was to get Jackson to feed himself. You see, I had gone to a birthday party of a one year old who was able to feed himself. The mom simply put him in his high chair, put some food on his tray and walked away while he ate. To that mom, it was perfectly normal. To me this was an experience I associated with going to Heaven. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind feeding my baby. But at 4-5 meals a day, feeding time was pretty much my livelihood. I remember coming home and telling Kevin about all the stuff the one year old could do and how it made me sad that Jackson wasn’t ever going to be “normal”. Kevin’s response was “I feel sorry for those parents, because they will never know what it is like to have a son like Jackson.” (He says this kind of profound stuff all the time and it makes me wonder how Jackson and I got so lucky to have him). So I decided to dedicate a couple of meal times every day to teaching Jackson how to feed himself. I tried diligently, with all kinds of shapes and sizes of food. Nothing. Every once in a while I would put something in his hand and he would put it in his mouth, but for the most part he couldn’t do it. So I gave up. I moved on. I accepted that I would have to feed him. Then one day this summer he grabbed something off his tray and stuck it in his mouth. I almost fell out of my chair. Was it a fluke? A happy accident? Or could it be he was ready? I instantly ran to the cupboard, got some goldfish crackers, put them on his tray, and stepped back. Wouldn’t you know it, the kid started picking them up and eating them. Not every one of them made it to his mouth, but most did. I started crying. I didn’t want to get too excited in case it was a fluke. So I anxiously waited until the next day to see if he would do it again. He did. I cried again. So we went to the store and I slowly went up and down every aisle buying food I could put on his tray that he could pick up and safely eat. The first couple of weeks was just like I imagined – Heaven! He would be eating and I had a few extra minutes to do whatever. Mostly I would stand in the kitchen, watch him eat and cry. That’s the difference between having a normal child and a special needs child. Most parents would be excited and think “cool” that their normal developing kid could feed themselves. Special needs parents cry and feel like throwing a party, or at least posting it on Facebook (which I did).
So back to my question – Who is this Jackson? Well he can make you laugh you’re a—off at the drop of a hat. He can make you say “You are so cute” around 500 times a day. He can make you crazy with his constant babbling/screaming. When he eats his food, he makes these wonderful “Mmmmm” sounds like it’s the first time he has ever had food. He can roll around on the floor like nobody’s business. Currently he is in love with his boy parts and as soon as that diaper comes off he starts his yanking. He loves to go on walks every day. He is an animal lover. He likes anything with lights and weird sounds. His favorite therapy is aquatic therapy and he loves baths. Sometimes he gets this mischievous look on his face and I would give anything to know what he is thinking. Sometimes out of nowhere he will start laughing hysterically and you can’t help but join him. He can let everyone in a 1 mile radius know he is unhappy (boy that kid has a set of lungs). He knows the words “stop” and “no” but has selective hearing when they are said. He likes to watch other kids play. His favorite drink is a chocolate milkshake. He loves the beaches and ocean in Florida, but doesn’t particularly care for the long flight to get there. He’s a faker - if he doesn’t want to do something (especially at therapy), he fakes that he is tired or uncomfortable. He loves roughhousing with Daddy and kisses from Mommy. He has a love/hate relationship with his car seat. One day he is happy to get it in and drive around, the next day he arches his body and fights getting into it. He thinks it is hilarious when you put him in a shopping cart and push him around a parking lot (it’s bumpy). The only store he likes is Costco. He throws fits in all the other stores. He doesn’t like people eating anywhere near him when he isn’t eating. He gets very mad if he sees you (this is why Kevin and I sometimes have to hide from him when we eat). He thinks Mommy is very funny when she is dancing (I try not to take this personally). And every night, when I go into his room after he has fallen asleep to cover him up, well, he can make your heart melt at the sight of him.