Going home tomorrow. Callum is sound asleep in his room, Janet is asleep on the other side of this room. It's a unique headspace we get into here; though Janet and I are by now longing to return to the weird, wired (and happily agnostic) Baltimore life we know and love, we also know this is a special place and we are so thankful for our time here. It has been a real gift to have this time with our son - the past 3 weeks have brought a developmental explosion for him. Over the course of this stay, he's started saying things and interacting in ways that represent a huge leap forward. I know these developmental leaps are totally "normal" for toddlers, but I don't know how many parents are lucky enough to be able to immerse themselves in them when they happen. That alone is reason to prize this time. Yesterday morning he was a little snotty, so we did cough assist and suction on him - before cough assist now he says "ready?" with a big smile (and when he's not into it he says "no cough!"), and he totally slayed me when after suction he said "suck-a-nose." This is the tip of the iceberg. It has all come along in the past 3 weeks. He now typically greets me with "Hello Dada! How you doin'?" and when I ask him in return, more often than not he says matter-of-factly: "a-doin' good."
"Suck-a-nose" will probably become the official name of the suction machine.
Let's face it, it already has.
Physically, we are seeing a little more "oomph" in his shoulders and his back, and more muscle tone in his legs, specifically his hamstrings. Sometimes he's been arching his back when he's picked up - that's new and unexpected. It's so hard to measure Cal's progress, mobility-wise. Do we expect him to one day suddenly be able to roll over or sit up unsupported? There's no real answer for that. I often find myself wondering if it's wishful thinking that makes it seems like he's gained a little function in one area or another. But then I try to take a step back and look as objectively as I can at what's happened, and it's indisputable that he's made gains. We know what he was capable of at 5 months, and what he lost at 6 months, and the things he's done in the past 6 months that seemed impossible when he was a year old. The tiniest improvements to be sure, stuff like: being able to pull his arm up to reach out for something in front of him when he's on his tummy, or being able to shake a cat toy and make the bell inside ring. But every little bit of mobility he has is hard-won and priceless.
With this much concentrated Callum time AND a therapy schedule that honestly also gives us a little bit of a break - all too rare - that lets us really enjoy the social time we have with him even more, I feel in an ideal position to really take in all his new ways, his new skills and how he's starting to respond to the world. Plus the weather has been beautiful, and our hosts here on the farm, and the folks at Futures Unlimited, are some of the kindest people I've ever met, so there is a lot to appreciate. We've had some great time outdoors in the sun after Cal's therapy days, he's "met" the deer and goats on the farm (they come right up to the stockade fence, not shy at all), he's had some great bathtimes in the sunshine, it's been awesome. Three weeks on, though, it's definitely time to return to our regular lives - there's a nagging sense of things needing to be attended to. And it's going to be great to see our neighbors and friends, and Cal's day-to-day therapists back home, who are so supportive, all of whom we really miss. I think they're in for a treat when they work with him next.
We are making a vow to step up his home program too, since we won't be back down here again til next Spring.