Let me take a step back for a moment. This is a HUGE leap forward for Ronan. For so long we didn't know how Ronan's immune system was. We didn't want to expose him to any possible illness. Crowds and noisy environments were sometimes too much for Ronan. He was a medically complex and fragile child. To even be considering starting him at a program like this is a big step in Ronan's development.
The center Ronan went to has children 18 - 36 months at a wide range of stages. We visited the center last week, and to be honest, I was worried. We have fallen into this period of normalcy with Ronan. Things seem manageable. We are doing things I would expect to do with any child. Visiting the center was a slap in the face for me - I did not realize how different our lives are in some ways. Ronan is so much further behind than any of the other children. Although there are two others with glasses, no others have hearing aids. None have a facial palsy. Granted I do not know the journey each of those children has had, but seeing the other children running around, talking, and doing other more advanced activities was a reminder how how much further Ronan has to go. I was also (and still am!) worried about other children pointing out these differences or simply ignoring Ronan. I know that one day we will have to deal with these realities, but I am hoping we get a bit more time in before we have to take those realities on.
Today was amazing. Ronan was assigned to the red group with two other little boys and a little girl. The other children were all between 2 and 3 years old. Ronan immediately took to the two women who were the red group leaders. He sat in "circle time", and played with a few puzzles. He stacked rings. He read books. Better yet, other children immediately came up to him and played. There were several times during the day when Ronan interacted with other children. I simply cannot explain how wonderful it was to watch this. We could not have been more proud.
Ronan did get a little overstimulated a few times, but Paul and I were there, ready to cuddle with him. Best part of the day? There were two: standing in the corner with Paul while watching Ronan do a puzzle with another little boy, and seeing Ronan trying to pull himself to standing!
|Team work with a puzzle|