Here's my baby 11 months ago!
As I shared in previous posts, Maxim has been a JOY! He's all boy and loves light sabers! A bit too much perhaps. He played baseball on Miracle League with his sister Grace in the spring and loves to hit balls outside. He's very proud of his hitting.
His last game of the season landed on his 10th birthday and I don't think he could have imagined a better day! He received his medal, got a picture with the mascot, went out for pizza and then on to the zoo. Yes, we went ALL out!
He never could have dreamed of a camel ride. Have I ever mentioned how fun it is to watch this child discover?
He discovered the joys of splashing in the water and thanks to our neighbor Maxim became rather confident and accomplished with swimming with his floaties and jumping in the pool. He's praying we get our own someday.
Face in the water and everything!
So many firsts to celebrate. He had a special visit from his GREAT grandma Hartman and spent the week getting to know her.
Caught his first fish with Dad!
Had a blast at Grace Haven's Crawdad Catch in the Creek in July with his special friends.
Time for School to Start
Maxim has come so far in learning. When he first came I taught him how to put together a 4 piece puzzle. Now he does 200 piece puzzles. He has mastered his numbers to 20 and well on his way to 100. He's getting his ABC's down pretty firm now and overall really tries hard with his school work. There are so many pieces he just didn't get to participate in so he LOVES doing music and singing time that I do with Grace and Rainan. It is very toddlerish, but it's really his introduction to sing a longs, rhymes, movement. When we go to this activity I see the three and four year old in him that never got to do this stuff. The boys are kind and do not point out to him that he's doing "little kid" stuff. They have been able to recognize that these are the things he missed out on and needs to get to experience. Now if Maxim had any idea that this was way below Holden and Liam's participation, he would absolutely not do it so I am thankful he gets to explore this time with his sisters.
He loves to watch the boys do their science experiments and learns right along with them.
So on to some of the deeper things Randy and I are learning about our boy who was once a hidden treasure...
Maxim ALWAYS smiles. Hardly a problem, right? I mean after years of working through settle holds and meltdowns, this is the DREAM child, yes? And for a long while I thought this way. There were some "off" moments but I chopped it up to language or just not understanding what was going on.
Then one day it all sort of gelled together for me in prayer time. I had been puzzled over an incident at lunch. Rainan, sitting next Maxim, began choking on an orange. It was moments before I noticed something was very wrong. Maxim was watching her as he ate...smiling. I ran to do the heimlich maneuver, it didn't work. I began pounding on her back and it wouldn't come out. So I flipped her over and put my hand in as far as it could and got a pinch on the end of the piece and was able to pull it out of her throat. All of the kids were feeling panicked and watching carefully. When it was all done and we knew Rainan would be okay, the boys looked at me alarmed and said, "Did you see Maxim?" Gently we asked him if he knew what happened. "Rainan almost died." he replied as he continued chomping on his turkey sandwich. "Were you scared?" I asked. "I am hungry." he said.
This is the most vivid example I can give you to explain some of the situations that have been happening. He avoids anything sad. We've been working with him on understanding feelings, letting him know it's okay to experience those feelings. So many people comment to him on his smile. He is very well aware of this as it's almost always the very first thing anyone says to him. I'm sort of hoping people stop. I know strange, right? Since he has heard it so much he sort of plays it up and well, it may not always be genuine. And really this is where we are starting to explore more. When he doesn't get what he wants now, he's not as fast to just say okay. He's beginning to argue and test a bit. At first I was like, oh no, the honeymoon is over. But then very softly I heard a voice say, "It's okay. He's waking up." This is the emergence. These are the steps through healing. And so lately we have been dangling around in these emotions a bit and I am allowing him to feel them instead of quickly try to remove, fix and move on.
He's beginning to share more details of things from his past. He told me that he took medicine to sleep at night and during the day for his nap. (The things he shares are pretty matter of fact without emotion at this point.) I remember him being groggy if I came to see him a bit early at the institution. I can't help but wonder what role if any taking a sleeping aid night AND day might do in addition to the many things he was lacking. Bits and pieces, here and there, is coming forth and in time I am meeting Maxim, a more fuller Maxim with depth and ideas and concerns. I'm eager to hear his longings, his pain, his hidden thoughts. Those things that my other children have always been able to share. It's a working out that I see already happening through the emergence of showing of tears and disapproval. He fell into my arms and shoulder in tears yesterday and stayed there a while. I just held him and didn't say a word. And in that place I knew something was happening inside of him. He was staying in that place and allowing himself to feel and he pulled back and looked into my eyes for a long while. I was so thankful that he didn't have that plastered smile but a softened face with eyes that were searching into mine. Then he leaned forward, kissed me and gave me a sincere, "I am sorry."
I am so thankful to be on this journey with him. He teaches me so much about hope and inspires me in patience to be able to wait in prayer for these good things. He waited nearly a decade for his moment. How many people do that? He is an encourager. He demonstrates the miraculous to me through this. When I see his willingness to keep going and going, I am spurred on in my own faith to be able to parent his little heart well. If God can do all that he is doing with the background Maxim had, he can surely enable me to give more, love more, wait longer and be okay with not always having an answer. I've learned when in doubt, a hug goes a long way.