Happy New Year! It is time to make some resolutions. My understanding is that the more you share your resolutions, the more likely you are to keep them. I don’t always find this effective for me, because I can’t remember one resolution that really stuck in my life…ever. However, this year I have an opportunity that I have never had before. I get to share via FamilyConnect, and throughout the year, I’m sure I’ll have a chance or two to answer for what I write today.
Of course I have personal resolutions that relate to losing a few pounds, balancing my budget, and in general being a better person; but these are not unique to Eddie and of no interest to anyone but me. So, I’m going to talk about a resolution that relates directly to my son with a visual impairment. I’ve decided, I am going to push Eddie to do more for himself, and to complete whatever parts of any activity he can. For example, he might not be able to put his shoes on, but he can certainly Velcro them. He may not be able sort the silverware, but he can put them in the drawer.
It seems that because I am his mom, I can’t help but enable. Isn’t that in a mother’s blood? We see our children struggle, or run into obstacles, and we want to help them. We want them to succeed at whatever cost. The problem is with children who are blind, our assistance is often to their detriment. If I never let Eddie try to do anything, he will never learn how to do it. That is SO easy to forget when we are surrounded by children that simply see and do.
My biggest struggle in this department, seems to be eating with utensils. I’m guessing this is a battle in many homes. For at least three years, Eddie has eaten independently with his fingers. Therefore, he has no desire to use utensils. We have created a monster. A child that stands out in the cafeteria, stands out in restaurants, and stands out at our own dinner table. This is not OK with me, but I allow it to continue. Why? Well, it is easier…and faster. If I make him use utensils, it becomes a struggle that takes three times as long and I have to eat before or after he’s done because we work as a team throughout the meal.
Even listening to my explanation makes me cringe because I have talked about this before; many times. I know better. I know I don’t want him to eat with fingers forever, and I don’t want to work “as a team” during every meal for the rest of our lives. I know that if I diligently work with him during every meal at home he will eventually be independently eating with utensils.
That is what has led me to my New Year’s Resolution. In general, I resolve to push Eddie towards independence. The measure of this resolution will be him eating independently, with utensils, by this time next year (and hopefully much sooner).
Since I’m feeling brave enough to share my resolution, please post yours as well. What will you strive for this year for yourself or for your visually impaired child? Maybe by going public, we’ll all find more willpower to “stick to it.” Here’s to an exciting 2012!