I just got back from a shopping trip for a birthday present for one of Brenden's girlfriends from school. Earlier this week Brenden came home with an invitation to a birthday party for one of his classmates. I immediately texted Jonathan and for a brief moment, we both knew it was a big deal. For parents of a child with special needs, it's impossible not to think about the future. Will my child be accepted by his peers/classmates? Will he be included? Will they take time to be his friend? Well, for now at least, he is included. And that makes me happy. Now he of course could care less about anything other than going to eat cake and ice cream. But for Jonathan and I, it's a big deal.
We also had another first today. One that came due to a brief lapse in my better judgement, however. Brenden had an appointment at 2:30 to get fitted for new braces. I made the mistake of laying down to "rest" with the kids while they napped. Two hours later I woke up and it was 1:50. Oh boy. I quickly got the kids up, everyone pottied and changed and made it out the door with just enough time to get there and have about 5 minutes to spare to make it in the building, up to the third floor and into the office. On the way there Brenden asked if he could use his walker and walk in. "Of course," I replied, not thinking of the logistics. And those of you who know Brende know that if you tell the kid he can do something, you better keep your word. So there was no changing my mind and putting him in a stroller.
We pulled into the parking lot with 4 minutes to spare. I quickly unloaded the kids and the walker and used my stern voice to tell Brenden he better put the pedal to the metal or else we would be late. When he's out in public walking, let's just say he takes time to stop and smell the roses. He is so nosy and distracted by everything so I really thought we were going to be late. After all, we did have to make it through the doors, into the elevator, and down the long hallway to the office. Meanwhile, as I'm prodding him along, Madelynn thought it would be funny to run out in the parking lot, laughing, waiting for me to chase her. Well, I must say, my guy rose to the occasion. He walked like I have never seen him walk before. Seriously. I couldn't believe how well he did. And we made it in time! This was the furthest he had ever walked without stopping.
After the appointment, of course we had to get back out to the car. This time didn't go so smoothly. As we exited the elevator Brenden of course had to stop and push the button so he could watch the elevator door open and close. While Madelynn took off in front of me, only to realize she had the power to make the automatic doors open, and once again, run into the parking lot. I told Brenden he needed to get his butt in gear and get out the doors as I chased after her. Moments later a nurse from the first floor office came out to see if I needed help, and of course, refusing to admit defeat, I responded, "Oh, no. I'm fine. But thank you!" Only to look over and see Brenden trying to get his walker down off of the side walk. He thinks his walker can go up and down steps, or in this case off the curb. Luckily I was quick enough to save that from turning into a disaster and possible trip to the ER. While Madelynn, again, ran off, only this time back in through the automatic doors, laughing, waiting for me to chase her. Needless to say, after a 20 minute ordeal of getting out and into the car, Madelynn didn't get hit by a car, Brenden didn't fall off the curb, and I wondered why I was crazy enough to let both kids walk in.
Nonetheless, I'm super proud of Brenden. It's an amazing thing to see how much he has improved, even since last week. For the last several months, he has had a support sling that went around his waist and attached to the walker. It was basically there to help him if his legs gave out. But we realized he was becoming too dependant on the sling. His walker at school doens't have it, and they were having problems with him falling while trying to sit down since he was used to the sling being there. I started by just taking it off while we were at home, but have started letting him use it while out now. He's doing great. Now I think it's time to buy one of those kid leashes for Madelynn.....