Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sammy want a cracker?

Every time I look at Facebook these days, someone is posting something they are thankful for.  Several people are sharing something everyday this month - it's 30 days of thankfulness.  Mostly, people are thankful for their families, their homes, their jobs, their friends - everyone's lives are so blessed with these things, and I can't help but be happy for their happiness too.  It makes me think about what I'm thankful for as well.  I too am thankful for my home, for my family, for my kids, for my job.  My life is so blessed, and while I know that, I also know that I take a lot of things for granted.

Last night, I discovered that Sam likes Ritz crackers.  In fact, it's the first truly solid food I've given him that he doesn't spit back out at me.  Now, I know there isn't exactly a lot of nutritional value to a Ritz cracker, but you have to understand the importance of having him have solid food in his mouth period.  By having solid food in his mouth (and I'm not talking about Gerber baby food...that's mush) he is learning how to manipulate the food around his mouth with his tongue, and learning to chew, and this is all a part of language development for him.  That maybe doesn't make a whole lot of sense to you, but to us, this is a big deal.  So, Ritz crackers it is. 

As I stood next to his high chair last night, trying to coax him into holding the cracker himself, I said to him..."Sam, you have to learn to do this yourself you know. I'm not always going to be around to hold your crackers for you."  Kevin, who was within earshot looked at me like I was nuts.  Did Sam reach out and grab the cracker?  No, I stood there while he nibbled on it.  I was just happy that he had an interest in it in the first place!

Today however, as we were getting lunch ready, I dug out my trusty Ritz crackers to see if Sam would munch on them again while waiting.  I grabbed three, hopeful that he would try.  I put one in his right hand and he grasped it - he GRASPED that little cracker like it was no big deal, even though I was just told last week he was "significantly delayed" in the fine motor skills department.  You know what he did next?  He stuck that cracker in his mouth!  Did you hear me?  He moved his hand up and stuck the cracker in his mouth!!  Granted, it was sideways and he couldn't get his mouth around it, but that's not the point - he put it in his mouth!  For the next five minutes, he held onto that cracker for all it was worth and mashed the heck out of it, completely munching it down!  After that another, and another.  I was astonished, in fact, I was crying.  It might sound silly that I would be so excited over something so small, something that you or I would take for granted, but I was so proud that he learned that he could feed himself.  I was so happy. 

I ran back to my bedroom and emailed his teacher and occupational therapist, because they are half the reason he was able to do this!  All the hard work they've done for him is paying off in something as simple as a Ritz cracker!  His teacher replied that I should buy more Ritz and get him a can of that spray cheese because this was truly something to celebrate.  This was truly something to be thankful for!

A couple hours later, a man from my church called, and started talking about the email that I had sent to his wife about Sam's accomplishments.  I started laughing, and explained to him that I sent the email to the wrong person - his wife has the same name as Sam's OT, and I must have mistakenly sent her the email instead.  But he said, no, it wasn't a mistake.  He asked if he could talk about Sam on a radio talkshow that he's doing tomorrow morning.  They will be talking about thankfulness, and how all too often people just talk about the everyday things they are thankful for - their homes, families, jobs, friends.  He was excited to see us be so thankful for something so small as learning to eat a cracker.  In tears, I said "so, it really wasn't a mistake that I sent you the email by accident."  And he said "no Amanda, I don't think it was."  

Yes, the Lord works in mysterious ways sometimes.

So, tomorrow morning, the story of Sam and his crackers will be aired on a local AM radio show.  You better believe that I'll be tuned in and waiting.    

By they way, anything but Ritz won't cut it.  Tonight, I handed him some Town House "light buttery crisps" and he wanted nothing to do with them.  Guess I'm going grocery shopping tomorrow.

There is a bigger lesson I've learned in all this too though.  I'm so incredibly proud of each of these little accomplishments that Sam makes, but these small accomplishments of his also open my eyes to the things my daughters are doing.  Sam is teaching me to celebrate all the small things - even the things that seem insignificant are worth celebrating and being thankful for.

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