Little miracles, big acheivements

There’s a poem/essay that occasionally does the rounds on the social networking sites, called ‘The Special Mother’ by ErmaBombeck.  There’s a line in it that I love: 
“She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'". She will never consider a "step" ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!"

I took hundreds of photographs yesterday of Little H trying to get a balloon into his mouth.  I was torn between not really wanting him to put a balloon in his mouth in case it burst and desperately wanting him to achieve this tiny little milestone.  He was so determined, bless him.  Mouth open, head bobbing, fist clenched, time and time again getting close but not quite there.  When he finally managed it, I squealed with delight, took more photos and declared to anyone within earshot “he put the balloon in his mouth” whilst wiping away tears of joy.  I genuinely couldn’t have been prouder. 

Little H is nearly two and a half.  I’m not sure where on the list of developmental milestones getting a toy to your mouth comes; probably somewhere around the 2-3 month old mark.  I could look at the Bounty website; or Baby Centre; or one of the many other ‘helpful’ websites that send out weekly emails telling you what your baby should be doing and when, but I’ve gone past finding them completely soul destroying now and really don’t care.  Little H will do things in his own time.  And each tiny little achievement he makes fills me with immense pride.

I hear mothers complaining about their children not being on the same reading book as their peers, about them being in the middle group for maths, about them not being able to write their own names yet.  Sometimes I wonder if they can see just how much their child has accomplished already and take time to be proud of that? 

I used to teach in a mainstream school and remember marking books with one compliment and three points to improve.  This was the policy.  Identify one thing they’d done well, but point out what they should have done to take them to the next level.  It felt like we couldn’t appreciate what the children had achieved without pointing out just how far they had to go and how much better they could have done.  This was in a primary school.  The children were 10!  The sad thing is, I know my school wasn’t alone in teaching and marking like that.  Pressure to meet certain levels mean that nothing is ever quite good enough.  Conversely, what I loved about teaching in a special school is that we were encouraged to find the positives in everything and really celebrate the children’s achievements, no matter how small.  A much nicer way to teach and surely much better for a child’s self-esteem?

I sat at a mother and toddler music group recently and I watched as the babies, sat (independently) by their mothers, clapping their hands, reaching for toys, making eye contact and smiling at each other.  Their mother’s continued conversations, above the children’s heads, oblivious to the hundreds of achievements their children were making.  That same session H turned to the sound of me jangling bells by his head and smiled appropriately at a large dog puppet.  Huge, wonderful achievements. 

 How lucky I am to see and appreciate each of the little steps my son makes. 
How lucky I am to be able to celebrate everything he accomplishes without worrying about the next steps, where he should be, where his peers are at. 
How lucky I am to be able to value his every achievement, no matter how small.

How lucky I am to witness such miracles and recognise them as such.

This post is written as part of the  #definenormal blogging challenge courtesy of the lovely RenataBplus3 from Just bring the chocolate

Pop along, read the other brilliant #definenormal posts and add your own idea of normal too.  Go on!  You know you want to.

Although it's a little late, I'll link it into #specialSaturday too, the theme of which is 'Achievements'.  Check out  the other special Saturday posts and keep up to date with the new themes: 
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