Developmental milestones are the focus in the beginning months and years. From early development when a baby tracks an object or reaches for a toy, to the later milestones of jumping, writing, or speaking in sentences. These "mile"stones seem like a goal that is miles away and unobtainable. Some refer to these as "inch"stones. An inch versus a mile is a goal that can be less intimidating and one that is far more achievable. If you add up the inches, they will eventually equal a mile. So, it doesn't matter how you get there, or how long it takes you, as long as you get there.
Gross motor, fine motor, visual and speech delays are a cause for concern, yet expected when the initial prognosis is poor. Even so, no one is prepared for the fact that their child will not be "the best" in everything that they do. Every parent hopes and dreams for success and greatness from their children. Little did I know that these small accomplishments would be equal to my child winning a gold medal at the Olympic games. Finally hearing the words, "I wuv you mommy" was music to my ears. Watching her walk across the room into my arms seemed like a miracle. At the beginning of this journey, the doctors told us that both of these things might be fantasy, not reality.
Focusing on milestones can consume a parent of a special needs child. Reading a pamphlet or researching the internet will guide a parent of a typical child, but there is no pamphlet for our special children. Only a statement that "time will tell". Even now, at our last well-child appointment, the questions from the Pediatrician only remind me of all of those things that Olivia is not doing. I used to dwell on this, but now I am prepared to let it roll off my back, like water off of a duck. Even with 6 years of practice, some things still stick like a fly on molasses.
As a first time mother, I often wondered what it would be like to not constantly evaluate and assess every movement, every sound, every fault. That feeling came with a bit of jealousy as other mothers were concerned with how to dress their child, while my concerns focused on would my child ever be able to dress herself. My nightmare included the fact that Olivia might never be able to walk, talk or see. I soon learned that Olivia was a special gift to me. I was lucky to be chosen by God as a suitable caregiver. I accepted the challenge and assume great responsibility for her future.
Focusing on milestones can be overwhelming, especially when your baby hasn't rolled over, sat up, or been able to bear weight "on time". But what have they accomplished? What milestones have they reached that the doctors once said they might never do. These are the areas that we need to map out, inch by inch.
...our adventure continues
Olivia's "inchworm" mom