Well, it’s been WAY too long since my last post. So long that we have a one year old. Wait, that can’t be right. I know, I know… we hear it ALL THE TIME. “The days are long but the years are short.” “Time flies, soak in every moment.” “Before you know it, he will be graduating from high school.” Ya, I know. It goes by crazy fast. But I still just can’t believe we have a one year old.
We have been blessed to have Kai in our lives for a whole year and yes, it’s an exciting time full of celebration. We hosted a huge first birthday party/fundraiser and had a blast with family and friends. Sure, it was wonderful and all but along with all of the joy comes anxiety, stress and worry. For even a “typical” functioning child, it’s hard not to look at milestone charts and see where your kid falls in comparison to other one year olds. I took Kai into his 12 month check up to the pediatrician and of course did the usual weight, height and head circumference measurements. Wait, is that the usual? Honestly, I don’t know. Do they always measure kids head circumferences? *Squirrel* Anyways, then we watched a little video about feeding, activity and “next steps”. Now, I can’t complain when it comes to feeding. We have been blessed that Kai hasn’t really had many struggles in this aspect and seems to eat pretty much anything, fairly well. But when I say he eats pretty much anything, that’s not without assistance. He still struggles to feed himself due to his lack of vision and the dexterity/fine motor to get the food into his mouth on his own. But I have to give him credit, he’s getting better.
The part that I struggled with the most after that 12 month check up was the “activity” portion. According to the Child Mind Institute, the Milestones at 1 Year are as follows:
- Gets to sitting position without assistance
- Crawls forward on belly by pulling with arms and pushing with legs
- Assumes hands-and-knees position
- Creeps on hands and knees supporting trunk on hands and knees
- Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
- Pulls self up to stand
- Walks holding on to furniture
- Stands momentarily without support
- May walk two or three steps without support
Milestones In Hand and Finger Skills
- Uses pincer grasp
- Bangs two cubes together
- Puts objects into container
- Takes objects out of container
- Lets objects go voluntarily
- Pokes with index finger
- Tries to imitate scribbling
Out of those 16 “milestones”, Kai consistently does two of them. TWO. Do you know how hard of a pill that is to swallow? Now, I know… we NEVER expected him to be functioning at the pace of a “typical” child but it still doesn’t make it any easier. And can I chime in really quickly and say that I hate the term “typical”. I mean… what is a typical child really? Every kid grows, progresses and learns at their own pace. But if I’m being completely honest, I don’t even really know how else to identify other kids without challenges without calling them “typical”.
Now, I could go on and on when it comes to the other milestones. Language, cognitive, social and emotional milestones but that’s not what I intended for this post to be about… wallowing over everything Kai can’t do right now. I’m simply here to say it’s just hard. It’s hard being a parent, period. It’s hard teaching our children, period. It’s especially hard when things just don’t come easily and it seems like the days drag on and your child’s development is stagnant if not regressing. It’s just hard. Am I right?
And then we add in his vision impairment…
Do you know how often I hear, “it looks like he’s sleeping”, “he must be really tired”, “he’s not awake yet”, or “what a sleepy boy, he still doesn’t want to open his eyes”. Now, if you’ve said this to me before, it’s all good. I’m in no way upset with you! lol And this is also NOT an asian joke. (If you don’t know me or my family, my husband is Korean, making Kai half Korean, half Caucasian) Where am I going with this? I’m sure you’re asking yourself. Well, Kai often has his eyes somewhat closed or looking down. This is simply because he cannot see. I must admit, I haven’t spent much time around anyone who is blind or has visual impairments but I can imagine they aren’t looking at you with eyes wide open very often. If they can’t see you or simply have nothing to focus on, I would assume they don’t always have their eyes open. But maybe I’m also making unfair judgements which I don’t intend to be insensitive. I think this is the case for Kai, people always mistakenly think he’s tired, asleep or just waking up when really, he’s just looking down because he doesn’t see much of anything. Now, how much of his visual impairments are confirmed? Who knows. Until he can tell us what he can see or can’t see, we truly won’t know. But one thing I do know, this is the hardest part about this entire journey with Kai. Amber, what do you mean? He’s been through so much and faces so many challenges. How can it be? How can this be the hardest part? Because he may be blind? No. I understand that with technology nowadays and accomodations in education, Kai can live a very full life even if he ends up being 100% blind. He will have just as many opportunities to be successful, have a career, meet a girl, start a family, etc. Will it possibly take him longer to learn things? Yes. Will it be another added challenge in his life? Yes. About 90% of what we learn is from what we see. But will that mean he can’t do these things? No. So… I don’t get it then, Amber. Why is this that hardest part of this journey? Well, you know when people ask you if it’s hard to have kids or if it’s worth it? And people say, it’s REALLY HARD but once you look into those eyes and see that little baby looking back at you, it all melts away and it makes it all worth it. Well, that’s why. I’ve never been able to look into my babies eyes and have him look back at me. And maybe, I never will. And what I’d give to be able to do that…words can’t express.
So, here we are. How can it be? We have a one year old who still may not be able to sit on his own or see much of anything but throws temper tantrums like any other one year old and yells “dada” (trust me, I’m still working HARD on mama”) at the top of his lungs, and he’s perfect. And he’s ours. And it’s okay to be “unfine”.