Using a Fork has Never been a Priority

This morning my son used a fork to eat his breakfast.

I didn’t ask him to use a fork.

Honestly, I don’t even know if I gave him a fork. He must have grabbed it off of the counter.

See, he was eating waffles and sausage. And in our house, when you have a child that struggles with fine motor, waffles and sausage can be a finger food.

I wasn’t motivating him to use a fork.

I didn’t do hand over hand either.

I didn’t remind him after every bite.

I didn’t even mention using a fork.

I didn’t watch him get frustrated and give up.

I didn’t watch him get mad and throw the fork.

Instead, I watched him pick it up, concentrate, stab his waffle, and eat it.

I glanced around. I looked for Jamie. Was anyone else seeing this?

I took a sip of my coffee.

I thought, it must be a one time thing.

Only, it wasn’t.

I watched him go onto eat an entire waffle and two sausages with a fork.

He didn’t wait for me to feed him.

He didn’t use his fingers.

I about fell over.

Well actually, I danced around, screamed, celebrated, and high fived my boy.

My very amazing boy.

I want to be clear that using silverware has never been a priority for me.

I learned as my son got older, that I needed to pick what our goals were going to be.

My son needed help in almost every area. Using silverware seemed pretty low on the list.

My goals for him started with health. I needed him healthy. I needed to be able to confidently say that my boy felt good.

And then they were around safety. I needed him to be able to walk in the community. And not run out of our front door into a busy street. Or open his car door and dive out while I was driving.

Then I needed to find the right services for him. The ones that were going to challenge him and better him. The ones where I trusted the staff to love him and keep him safe.

After that it was benefits and services. I needed to learn to navigate the system because we were drowning.

Then I needed him to sleep through the night.

And be able to use the toilet.

I needed him to eat food. I needed him to not yell constantly. I needed him to sit.

Then communication. Communication was huge. We needed a speech device.

Then managing the constantly changing and intensifying behaviors. Hoarding, lines, photos, paper, bed stripping, you name it. I think we went through it.

After all of that, I had to get a handle on his anxiety that was crippling him. I needed to give him a chance to be a part of this world.

The goals were always changing. Drinking water, eating fruit, spelling, getting dressed and putting his shoes on.

You see, silverware wasn’t high on the priority list. It just seemed so minor.

But then today, this awesome kid, dove into a waffle with a fork like it was no big deal. And later spaghetti too.

So many of us take things like using a fork for granted because for most, these skills come easy.

Not in our world. We pick and choose what skills matter. We focus only on the ones that do.

Proud mama moment today.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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