January 16, 2012


I hold my breath as I lay a new puzzle before Grant. While matching is one of his many strengths, anything demanding fine motor skills is one of his biggest weaknesses. I show him how to hold the magnetic "fishing rod" to pick up the pieces.

I guide his hand as he grasps the rod. He is excited at first. He wants to do it. I watch his eyes dart around the puzzle board. I can tell he is figuring it out. Together we pick up a couple pieces and then I release my grip. It is time for him to figure out how to do the puzzle on his own.

He tries. He tries really hard. But Grant's unsteady hands won't do what he wants them to do and he begins to cry. With soothing words of encouragement and guidance, I urge him to keep trying.

But Grant has had enough. He is extremely frustrated and the crying turns into a small meltdown. I step back and take a couple deep breaths to keep my composure. Puzzle pieces lay scattered on the floor. I pull Grant close and hug him tightly.

"I love you, Grant. I am so proud of you for trying the puzzle. I know you are frustrated but you cannot throw your toys." 

After he calms down and signs "sorry", we put the pieces back into place and I plan another time for Grant to work on the puzzle. I don't know how long it will take until Grant masters the puzzle but I know I will need to be very patient.

Then, after all the pieces were back in place, Wesley, Grant's younger brother, excitedly scooted over to the puzzle. Without any instruction, he picked up the stick. After less than thirty seconds he figured out how to maneuver the fishing rod. It took just another minute before he completed the "fishing expedition".

I smiled and clapped for Wesley. I am so proud of him. But inwardly I am taken aback. I have been reminded of Grant's severe developmental delays once again.

I fight hard not to compare Grant with other children while we are at a store, at church, or on a play date. Now I will have to fight that battle at home. To win the battle I must keep my focus on my blessings. My heart must remain in a state of thankfulness. I must remember that God is in control and I have a wonderful inheritance.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6
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A couple days later...

After snack time and some sensory input, we tried the puzzle again.

At first Grant tried to pick up the pieces by holding the magnetic bar directly on the fish.

But then, after a minute of trying....

...He did it!!

I know the picture above is blurry but it shows Grant "fishing" the puzzle piece correctly for the first time. I love his big smile. He is so proud. And we are so proud of you, Grant!

Never give up.
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The following quote has been floating around on Facebook the past couple of weeks. While it was originally said about Fragile X carriers, I think it applies to many special needs parents:

Most [Fragile X] premutation carriers whom the teacher encounters will be the mothers of children affected by FXS. These mothers are remarkable for their insight and strength in finding interventions that can help their children. They are called carriers because they carry a specific gene they pass on to their children. I call them carriers because they carry all the hopes and dreams possible for... their children. They carry their fears, anxiety, struggles, defeat, and pain. They are capable of carrying the joy of success and the disappointment of developmental delays all at the same time. They carry a favorite toy, an old picture or a funny cap to bring comfort and security wherever they go. They carry mental ammunition to their school placement staffings and strategies for treatment. They carry the strength to defy all odds and march on with fortified courage and unconditional love. These are the carriers I know.

~ by Doctor Randi Hagerman, Medical Director of the MIND Institute and Professor and Endowed Chair in Fragile X Research



  1. YEAH for Grant and Wesley!!! It is such a blessing to those around you to see how God is working in/through you to show your boys the love of Jesus!

  2. Love the story and illustrations with the pics, even the blurred ones. What a blessing and gift! Joining in counting today!

  3. Well done Grant, I felt every moment of this blog post as our son is also on his own journey, at his own speed. I was so pleased to hear Grant succeeded, this is a great achievment all round, he is a lucky boy to have such a wonderful Mummy who had the patience to try again and again to help him get there xx

  4. Good job, boys. I can understand the bittersweet part, though. I love the smile in the last pic.

  5. First - YAY Grant! Secondly - I totally get your ... "weirdness" of it all. It is sometimes so hard to say to the twins how "smart" they are because they do things so quickly... and not feel guilty. Great post. Great way to explain the duality. Kristen

  6. "Weirdness"... exactly. :) I hesitated to write this post as I was fearful I would sound like I was complaining. There are so many complex emotions that accompany parenting a special needs child and a "neuro-typical" child. I love my boys so very much and I am learning to put my expectations and emotions into perspective... easier said than done some days.


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