What is so amazing about this picture?
Well, let me tell you! Cade has had a very strange condition his whole life – that the “macro” functions in his body are just fine – his heart beats strong, he can hang from the monkey bars forever – but his “micro” muscles have developed quite slowly. Literally, the capillaries in his legs/arms weren’t strong enough to help blood flow, so as a baby, if he was even a tiny bit cold, his extremities would turn purple – like extreme hypothermia. We’d rub his arms and they would pink up, so he was fine, but it was also distressing. His “micro” muscles are just slow to develop.
As a parent, you never know what tiny signs will be the ones that you don’t want to miss. In Cade’s case, we took him to a pediatric cardiologist – a cheerful office, on the surface, but terrifying for parents to need to be there – and the doctor said, in 6 months, he’ll be normal, for now, he is fine, even with lax capillaries. But you have to check on each thing, so that you can sleep at night. It’s similar with their emotional health – you listen for each comment, trying to find the meaning behind their words (or their tantrums!) With the body, mind, and spirit’s health, you have to “listen to what they mean, not what they say.”
Later, a friend who knows speech therapy pointed out to us that Cade couldn’t say the letter “h.” If you try to say “help,” notice how much breath the “h” takes. It actually requires a lot of lung strength, which again, Cade hadn’t developed. 6 months of daily exercises finally gave him an “h.” I still notice it when he says he is “happy” – because of the support we had to “help” “him” get to say it!
When we came to Malaysia, the school the boys attend expected 4-year-olds to be writing their letters. But Cade, though his arms & legs were strong, had very week hand muscles. He couldn’t squeeze a clothes pin all the way open. He held his pencil in a fist and couldn’t draw lines, curves, or zigzags – much less draw a picture or write a letter. Unlike many communities in the USA, we don’t have many programs or professionals to help with those basics. But look at that picture above! After nearly 9 months here, Cade had a breakthrough about two weeks ago and suddenly began drawing people with actual body parts and now is writing full sentences and math equations. (The trick was that I found that linking my index finger with his gave him something playful & competitive, and it got to where I’d put my foot on his chest and we’d both pull our linked fingers with all our might – then he’d get to squeeze my hand as hard as he wanted. Also, Nana brought a preschool drawing book that Cade attached to and could actually begin to use!) And, because he could suddenly do so much more in class at school, his enthusiasm is stronger than it’s ever been. It’s pretty amazing.
We have to celebrate the little miracles – but it occurs to me that this one was not a little miracle, rather, it was a big one. All the right things came together at the right time. But because so much went into it, I will be thankful each time I see him write his name. And, now we will have double the number of truck pictures being drawn at our house!!!