Yesterday I had an absolutely lovely afternoon with Apollo. Enoch was working, so it was just the two of us all day long. I have never had this particular parenting pleasure…a four-year-old to myself all day. We ate lunch in the sunshine, checked the mail and took a walk. I loved it all. I bought him a ball at Walmart for $2.50 and help enjoyed it all afternoon. When he saw it he said, “You just wanted to surprise me with something, didn’t you Mom?”
See the second photo? That’s the look Apollo gives me when he realizes he’s been “caught” picking at his g-tube.
What this wonderful afternoon doesn’t show is Apollo’s extreme anxiety. Since having the kids at school all day I have discovered that he is terrified of our floor. The minute the kids leave for school and the house is quiet, Apollo is suddenly afraid to sit or stand on the floor by himself. If I “force” him, he will hold onto my pants for dear life. It makes doing anything (other than sitting on the couch with him on top of me) difficult. This all started when he had a “creepy dream” that must have somehow involved the floor…
I have worried about the effect of chronic sickness on Apollo since he was a baby. If you know anything about child development you’ve heard of the healthy attachment cycle: baby has a need-baby cries-adult meets need-baby develops trust. Except in Apollo’s case, he was hungry and in pain, we tried to meet his needs, but he didn’t feel better; he was still hungry and still in pain. Most adults he met as an infant hurt him (doctors and nurses).
He isn’t the kid you see in memes and inspiring new articles “Childs Always Smiles, Even Through Heart Surgery”. Nope, he’s pretty miserable in the hospital and not chronically happy or cheerful. In fact, he has “unhappy child” written in his medical records to warn doctors and nurses just how difficult he is after surgeries.
His medical needs have most definitely affected him. I try to remind myself, it is all part of his story…he is taking small steps. He now stays in his class at Momspot and Sunday School and enjoys both. Yesterday I dropped him off, for the first time ever, at his grandparent’s house, alone.
Baby steps. Small signs of progress. I keep track of them all.
This too is part of his story.