His Mickey Mouse themed day was sweet and he adored his birthday decorated cheesecake - a yearly tradition since Noah can easily consume cheesecake and is his all time favorite treat. We sang Happy Birthday twice, because once for Noah is never enough. He has such awareness now at age seven. His realization of wanting to blow out candles but can't. The urge to hold and touch a birthday cake... but can't because his waving hands will knock it to the floor... one of us lightly holding down his hands so he can do his best to blow out a candle, or bring the cake close enough for him to hold it. The quest as parents of course to make a birthday as normal as any other child would be able to experience.
This was also Noah's first year in his GoTo Seat Floor Sitter by Firefly. He's always had to sit in someone's lap to open gifts or be with us as a family on the floor. But this year, Noah got the pleasure of unwrapping his own presents sitting on the floor and not having to be cradled in someone's lap. It was a new experience both for him and for us and he really enjoyed it. In fact, so much so that he was a bit upset when we couldn't keep him supplied in gifts to unwrap. It made the world of difference for how he enjoyed his birthday and Christmas. It is one of those products that you think how did I my child ever live without all these years?
Noah also was gifted with the cutest little cookies for his 7th birthday from Mia's Cookies. We had the pleasure of meeting Allie, the owner, at the Birdies for Butterflies fundraising event earlier this fall. She makes the very best cookies and it was so special that she thought of Noah and helped us celebrate his special day. Airplanes happen to be one of Noah's favorite things, she even sent some Minions which Noah and Luke absolutely adored. It's the littlest things that build the biggest memories.
Christmas came in a flash. I think both boys had a memorable Christmas. We genuinely owe thanks to countless people for providing our children with gifts under the tree. Something we couldn't have done on our own without the loving support of our community and foundations. Christmas blessings that made their holiday something I know they will cherish for years to come. Noah has several favorites. Of course the Minion Guitar that Santa brought that Luke insisted that his brother wanted; Beat Bo, Fisher Price Beat Lights, A Musical Mat, Piano Touch Pad and an interactive Bear that talks to him, a dolphin light and sensory bob frog.
This year was the year of the dinosaurs and superheros for Luke. It's interesting to watch a typical child like Luke transition in toy interest, when Noah's very much stuck at age seven in a toy category that is interactive or deals with lights and sounds. Cognitively Noah understands and he still has an interest in dinosaurs and superheros just like his little brother, but he has a hard time playing with them and can only bat them around on the floor or look at them when Luke temporarily abandons them on the floor within his reach. I do wish though that we had the ability to gift both boys with age appropriate gifts. Noah's to a large degree sometimes still feels like we lean on the baby side of toys. It's not because his brain is developmentally in a baby stage - but because his body physically is. There are so many things I'd love to make better for children with special needs - one of them being a growing toy line that is priced within a any parent's reach that caters to children like Noah who have physical limitations but the mind of a typical aged child so they aren't stuck in the baby toy isles their entire childhood.
Noah ate a ton of food. So much I still am amazed where is tiny little stomach put it all. It was likely two adult servings pureed and he scrapped that bowl clean - and had desert. It was a mixture of ham, heaping spoon of mashed potatoes, demi glaze, buttered carrots, 2 dinner rolls, 3 garlic and butter roasted brussels sprouts and 2 deviled eggs pureed together. You might think wow all together how can that be good? But it did taste wonderful as I always do a taste test before serving it to him. And it was a really yummy puree. People might not realize the efforts that go into making pureed meal combinations. Things you might think might not be paired well can sometimes wind up making the best purees. He even topped off dinner with Christmas English Trifle and Chocolate Cherry Pudding Pie.
Chris did he honors this year of taking down the Christmas tree and decorations, sparing me from all the work and maybe the flooding of emotions that comes with the holiday season. He worked incredibly hard delicately wrapping each ornament in tissue paper to protect them and boxing it all up for me. It offered me much needed relief. Something so small was so big and I'm so appreciative of his efforts and help, it was like an elf came a long and just scooped it all up and made it disappear. Everything still feels a bit out of order, but that is likely because my mind is working on overdrive. While I think of marching into the new year, my biggest wish is to have less stress. I'm not sure that's a realistic expectation when you're a special needs parent. It's something every parent longs for, but by the nature of the battles we fight, the challenges we face to help our children live the best lives they can, to be their voice, and to make sure we're on top of every hiccup to make sure that all is okay - it's like having the weight of the world on your shoulders at all times.
But I'm trying to hold promise in 2016 that through the power of positive intention and asking for God to be my guide, I'll be accomplish amazing things for Noah and the special needs community.
Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.