A nice moment watching TV between Maya and Demetrius
I had a race yesterday morning, afterwards I met Kim and the kids at IHOP for breakfast.
Demetrius had not had his medicine, so the clinking, clanking and white noise of the world’s busiest breakfast spot made getting through his pancakes more than a bit tough.
Of course, as always with the boy, a few bites in and he needed to head to the boys room. I took him and he hit a stall and began singing his song as he took care of business.
At the urinals was a boy with a cane hanging from the counter. A couple of years older than Demetrius. He had cerebral palsy, but he was going to the bathroom all by himself. He had to drop his drawers down below his knees to keep his balance. And when he was finished, he took a good minute plus just to pull his drawers back to the appropriate position. He wobbled as he tried to keep his balance, and when finished, he grabbed the top of his cane and pulled himself over to the sinks.
He was focused, Demetrius was singing, and I was closely watching this boy. He leaned on his cane and took one big step left. He had a bit of a hard time turning the faucet on….he did, and then he went for the soap. Now imagine having minimal control over your hands, which of course, are almost balled up – but he managed to get his palm of his right hand still – and with the other push the buttom to get soap. I took a few long seconds – but he was successfu.
But my guess – it took a good three minutes to wash his hands. Because he had such poor motor skills, it just took everything he had to wash the hands and between and around each finger. He did it. Then he had just as many problems with getting a paper towel.
I would say an exercise you and I take advantage of, and pay no attention to, each time we do it, took this poor boy about five minutes. By then Demetrius had come out of the stall and washed his hands and we were heading back to the table.
I wondered, how many practice sessions had this boy had where he had wet himself trying to pee on his own, or cut his fingers trying to get soap out of the dispensers, or just for some reason or another, failed at peeing and washing his hands? How frustrating was it for him, how depressing trying to just learn how to do this one simple exercise….but he was doing it at a restaurant by himself – and his parents were out there in the throng of tables with bacon, eggs and toast, trusting he could do it himself now.
I was inspired. His body is as hard to work, I think, as Demetrius’ mind is for him at times. Yet he’s mastered this enough to say he can do it himself. Hardly pretty, but functional, and he should be proud of himself for doing it.
While I’m typing away here, Demetrius is in my office watching Happy Feet, repeating as he watches it, some former episode of Spider Man. However, I am thinking that in two years, maybe he’ll be doing things on his own that I can’t imagine now, no matter how hard, he’ll be doing them, and I won’t be standing over his shoulder, worrying ceaselessly.
It wasn’t the good time at my race, or anything else that had me smiling (endorphins included). It was this boy, in the mens’ room of IHOP.