What is that saying? You know, the one about not seeing the forest for the trees? Sometimes (OK, often) that is the way it works with me. I get so caught up in seeing all of Oliver's challenges that I don't focus enough on how far we've come. And we have come far enough that each time I look up for a couple of minutes I notice that the landscape has changed.
Yesterday I met with our RDI consultant to go over the new objectives. The program has recently undergone a total overhaul, taking it from a linear approach to development to a more 3 dimensional model. It more accurately reflects how a typical child develops. And BOY! is it complex. Something like the ABBLs pales in comparison. Really. So the details and scope of the new objectives had me really excited. But then I started seeing those darn trees every time we read a new objective. I'd wonder, "Can he do that?" and then get a bit more discouraged every time I'd admit that no, I don't think he can.
But then I went home to the boys and set about doing the day's stuff. Our stuff yesterday involved running a series of errands, not your typical fun kid stuff but I try my best to at least make it interesting for them. I've been really trying very hard to give Oliver more and more freedom and running errands gives us a very natural way for him to exercise this independence. This is only possible because he is becoming MUCH less impulsive. And because his receptive language skills are slowly increasing. It used to be that any time we went anywhere I kept a tight hold of his hand. If I didn't then I could count on him running off somewhere, which is highly stress-provoking. I was terrified of him getting hit by a car or getting lost -- and for good reason because he really wasn't aware of his surroundings. I still don't think he is terribly aware but at least I can count on him not taking off at a run the moment his feet hit the pavement in a busy parking lot.
So yesterday we went from the Post Office, to the Ice Cream stand, to the plant nursery, to the grocery store and then back home. It took about ninety minutes and during that whole time Oliver completely managed himself. I only had to call him back to me a couple of times and each time he quickly returned to my side. And the whole time we were out I practiced our referencing activities and he responded beautifully. So when we were at the grocery store I merely got his attention and then looked in the direction we needed to go or the item we needed to get, etc. Now if only Sam were that easy. HE wants to argue over everything.
I am still on high alert every time we are away from home. It is as if every molecule of my body is ready to spring into action at any moment. But just the fact that I don't have to keep an iron grip on Oliver all the time is an indication of how much things have changed over the last six months. So slowly, slowly, I am learning to relax. And the more I relax the more I get to enjoy the view. The forest. And from where I'm sitting right now it looks pretty good.