Wednesday, 10 July 2013

New Friends

Felix has made a new friend since our move and, no, I'm not talking about Larry the sheep (although he thinks he's very cool). There aren't a ton of little ones here in town so, the little girl up the road (age 4), thinks it's pretty awesome that Felix has moved in. She told her Mum, yesterday, that she wanted to play with Felix so we organised to go up to the playground. His new friend is exactly the sort of child he used to be terrified of; she is very busy, with lots of energy, and she loves to touch him and talk to him. The fantastic thing is that Felix has been totally OK with that and doesn't seem bothered at all, which is wonderful. I watched him copy her as she climbed things. He had difficulty with some things, but successes in others. It's great to see him being challenged by others and see him try to stretch himself and his abilities. It's also lovely to see his little friend learning some sign language and using it with him... so adorable!

Felix can now successfully climb up the stairs on the playground, by holding the hand rail. He walks across the little bridge and then climbs another couple of steps to the top of a twisty slide. The slide isn't a super fast one, which suits Felix perfectly, because he is able to slide down all by himself without me holding onto him at all. It brings tears to my eyes to see him do something completely independently, just like other kids his age. The huge smile as he slides down tells me that he thinks he's pretty clever too!

Yesterday I met with a worker from Disability Australia (formerly NDIS: National Disability Insurance Scheme). She was here for 2 1/2 hours. I had to answer a lot of questions about Felix's needs as far as mobility, development, basic care etc etc. Most of the questions required a response of 'Needs a lot of help', 'Needs some help' or 'Needs little help', as compared to other kids his age. She and I were both laughing at one point because my first instinct was to answer with 'Needs little help' when in actual fact, compared to 'typical' kids, he needs a lot of help. All of our other kids are grown up now so I have completely forgotten what is the norm for kids Felix's age. To me, Felix is just Felix and he seems to be coping just fine. It's not until I really stop and think about it that I realise I do a lot more for him than I had to do with the other kids. They were talking in sentences, fully toilet trained, dressing themselves, running and jumping. Caring for Felix has become my reality and it's really strange to have to focus for over two hours on what Felix 'can't do' rather than what he 'can' because to me, he's amazing!!  Unfortunately, focussing on the negatives is necessary sometimes for him to be able to get the support he needs to give him the best future possible.

The local playground
Felix and I have been house bound for nearly a week because our car has broken down. Thankfully, there is so much to keep him occupied here. We have been making the most of the small amount of sunshine, and going for lots of walks. As soon as I ask Felix to get his shoes, he signs 'outside' and 'sheep'. It has become part of his daily routine to go for a walk and pat the sheep. I showed him how to feed them some grass but I could tell he much preferred just to pat them. We have also spent a lot of time in our front yard watching the traffic go past. Although our back yard is much nicer than the front, Felix really loves watching the trucks drive by filled with sheep. Some are pulling big trailers with houses or huge machinery on the back and Felix stares with his huge eyes, signing 'big truck' until they are gone. Some of the really slow trucks wave at him as they go past; he thinks it's awesome. Fresh air, animals, cars and trucks... what more could a two year old boy want?

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