It’s hard to encapsulate Alex in a few words. In a nutshell, to try to sum him up, I might say, ‘Well, he doesn’t walk and he doesn’t talk and…um, he needs help with pretty much everything.’ And that person might go away thinking that Alex can’t do anything, is just a bundle of boy, unresponsive, in our house.
Which would be wrong.
If I had ten minutes I would go on to say…
‘But, hang on, here are all the things he can do!’
He knows it’s me when I go into him in the morning – he sits up, makes happy sounds and is desperate for a cuddle to say ‘hello, it’s good to see you’.
Alex gives the most amazing hugs.
He helps with getting dressed – knows when to put his arms in his sleeves, anticipates clothing going onto or off his head and, so much more excitingly for me, when we undress him he not only pulls one arm out of a sleeve but knows to use that hand to pull the sleeve off the other arm. Honestly, I nearly cried when I saw he’d understood that.
He helps with nappy changing too. He’ll pop his bottom up right when we need him to which just makes the process so much easier. And quicker.
Up go his arms in response to ‘Do you want to come up?’
He knows the sound of rustling probably means food. He’ll stop what he’s doing, turn his head and try and find the source of the noise. Then he’ll look at us, hopefully… Mummy, Daddy, Emma – what have you got…? (and where is mine??)
When he’s sat at the table and someone comes in the front door: he hears. And he cranes right around to see who it is.
He looks for the buttons on a push button book. Uses all his might to push them down, hear that noise.
When his school take him swimming they tell me he’s progressed from hanging on to his teacher for dear life, to floating with a buoyancy waistcoat and now, just hangs on to a woggle. All casual. He’s relaxed enough that that’s all he needs. He knows he’s safe.
He remembers that certain people we know always have watches, or bracelets, on their wrists. And he looks for them each time we meet. Searching for the shine.
His supported walking is amazing. You can feel, when you walk with him, how little he needs you there. How much you are simply a security blanket.
He will not stop talking! Not ‘proper’ talking… but his babbling sounds – which are grouping together nicely – are there. Every day. Shouted quite loudly over our conversation sometimes. In an ‘Oy, what about me?’ kind of a way.
Cake is one of his favourite foods.
Egg is not.
He clocks that we’re going outside when his coat goes on and once we’re there… he’ll flap his arms to tell us – and the world – how happy he is to be out. Blown by the wind. Feeling the sunshine.
He can blow the best raspberry’s I’ve ever heard.
He makes the most complicated clicking noises with his tongue that the rest of us cannot replicate.
He loves – loves! – a bath.
He’s sociable. Enjoys a crowd. Loves the noise, the light.
His smile, his infectious laugh… Make everyone else smile too.
Strangers smile at him. With him. All the time.
My boy is so much more than the sum of his parts.
It just takes me longer to tell you.