Gabriel and I have been in Atlanta for nearly 4 months now. It is by far the biggest transition I have ever made in my life. I have moved to 4 major cities, including leaving the country, completly alone and knowing no one. But, I have never moved with a child — especially a special needs child.
These first few months have been filled with making sure that all of his services; every therapist and doctor as well as specialists are duplicated here in Georgia. I have personally interviewed each and every one of them to make sure of his level of care and that he progresses at the same level of speed that we had achieve while living in Florida.
Gabriel is a trooper always ready with a laugh and a giggle that can make my clouds virtually disappear! He would live in a card board box as long as his Mommy was there with him! Fortunately for both of us, that will not be an option he will have to explore. Things are tight as I restart my life and business here in Georgia but the move was necessary in order to give Gabriel the best pre-school education that I could.
Gabriel is blissfully unaware of anything except eating, sleeping, playing and pooping! His days are currently filled with wreaking havoc at his daycare — all the while batting his big browns and flashing his wonderful smile — as we wait for his first year at the Buice School to start this August. It is absolutely amazing how much progress he has made physically!
This summer we focused much of our attention on a few basics like getting in and out of his toddler bed and walking. Once we settled into our duplex townhouse, I decided it was time that Gabriel moved from his baby bed into a toddler bed. Up until then, he had only experienced entrapped sleeping.
I needed to teach him out to get in and out of bed. It took one day! For about four hours we worked on getting in the bed one leg at a time. He used the sheets to pull himself in and didn’t use his legs too much. For him, it was a gargantuan effort. It took so much out of him but by the end of the day, he could get in and out of bed on his own.
A few nights later, I awoke to the intense feeling that someone was in the room with me watching me. My heart froze in the darkness. I slowly opened my eyes to find Gabriel standing at the end of the bed — just looking at me. I burst into laughter and took him back to bed. It happened again the next night! I decided, for safety’s sake (we are on the second floor) to put up a barrier that would keep him in bed at night. Not only had he mastered the art of getting out of bed, he was able to maneuver the safety gate at his bedroom door to complete the escape. I can’t help but smile at how smart he is.
We also started walking this summer. He is adept at walking down the stairs (holding my hand of course) and can walk (albeit wobbly) all the way to the car. Once at daycare, we take the long walk to breakfast with Gabriel waving to everyone along the way. His legs grow stronger everyday and he is able to stand alone for about 10 seconds. This may not seem like much to anyone else, but for Gabriel this is a monumental accomplishment!
Gabriel has also learned to color! And the walls of his room are proof of his artistry. I have had to remove all crayons (unless I am in the room.) From walls to doors to window sills — Gabriel’s artistic endeavors tell me he is truly a master at horizontal and vertical lines. A Van Gogh is on the horizon. More to come soon!