Saturday, December 19, 2015

Family Christmas Pary

Dave comes from a large family since his mom is one of 13 children. Every year, all the aunts and uncles, cousins and kiddos all get together for a huge Christmas gathering. I remember when we first were dating trying desperately to figure out everyone's names. Now we all just struggle to remember all the little ones who we only see a handful of times throughout the year.

We put Teddy in his gait trainer right away, so he could check things out on his own. He owned that place! He was everywhere, going across the fake grass, onto the mats and all around the gym where the party is held. He probably spent 30 minutes in his gait trainer when we first arrived, which is a really long time for him to stay content, motivated and active in it. It was adorable when one of the kindergarten-aged cousins was helping to steer him from behind, and he kept looking over his shoulder giggling and smiling at her.

Teddy made it into his gait trainer for a bit more while at the party and thoroughly enjoyed himself. AJ enjoyed himself until his knees became obnoxiously swollen and painful. He had a rash for the past 24 hours, but no joint swelling until partially through the party. He had been complaining his knees hurt, but I knew we were headed for an ER visit when I saw how swollen they were.

We left the ER with a referral to a rheumatologist for AJ but no diagnosis or treatment. (The swelling was gone by the next day, and the rash disappeared a few days later. His follow up with the rheumatologist was uneventful as well, considering all tests and labs were negative or normal. Just a fluke, unless it happens again.)

Despite the fun of spending a few hours in the ER, I ended the day fairly content. More often than not, when we see children Teddy's age or younger able to do so much more than him with so little effort, it eats away at us. Partially, we hate to see him work so hard to do everything. Partially, we hate the reminders of what he can't do because we don't have that side-by-side comparison. (We're not naive. We know Teddy is delayed. But when we see him day in and day out, we see Teddy and what's normal for him. Seeing others his age or younger is a stark reminder that what's normal for Teddy is not typical.)

But this Christmas party was different for me. It was the first time that instead of the sadness and comparison (like I had felt the previous year's Christmas party and so many other times) that I was so proud of him and excited for what he could do. I know that's how I should be all the time, but it's so much easier said than done particularly since it's more of a sub-conscious thing. I hadn't even realized it until after we left the party.

I know I won't always have the mindset that allows me to focus on what he can do, but it's certainly more uplifting than the alternative.

It's not getting any easier to get a good picture of both boys at the same time!