To kick off summer, T scored his first bloody busted upper lip after a biking accident.
But let’s rewind a week to the morning of the same day T marched in the Pride parade for the first time – when the hubby took him out on his bike.
The bike was a gift from his Ama, my mom, when he was 3. Last summer, he showed a one-day interest in trying to figure it out. Then moved on.
So a year later, it was a big deal when the training wheels came off.
T was reluctant at first, struggling as we all do with balance, but once he overcame his anxiety and figured it out, he quickly enjoyed it!
He even came inside the house looking for me so he could proudly tell me.
Every day since, T’s been going out on his bike, practicing.
We even took it with us to our overnight trip to Elora. Look at him zip here at Elora Quarry. We could not feel more proud.
As parents of a child with FASD, an invisible disability, we serve as his ongoing training wheels.
We’re his external brain to help navigate the world around him – advocating, educating, raising awareness, translating.
Thankfully, these training wheels also exist in community – like community supports, therapists – and in school, they’re the IEPs and most importantly, the Child Youth Workers and teachers.
The goal is to always move T towards independence, when we’re able to take off the wheels, but also understand that wheels may need to go back and stay on in certain contextes.
This is hardest part of the FASD parenting journey – it feel like our wheels are constantly spinning or the rubber is burnt thin but we still gotta keep cycling.
But it’s also incredibly rewarding when we experience the payoffs through T’s eyes.
Despite the ups and downs of the school year – some of which was beyond anyone’s control – T ended off on a high, with many successes, including an A on his report card (for science) and improvements across all subjects including B+ for gym, music and art, subjects he struggled with participating in during previous years.
We are so proud of him and most importantly, he is proud of himself.
And the areas he still needs to improve on – like emotional regulation, collaboration – we’ll keep the training wheels on… and burning rubber. 😆🤣
It’s important to teach T to get back up when he falls, figuratively and literally.
On Monday night, as I was preparing dinner, the hubby texted me to prepare wet paper towels to meet T at the door because he had fallen off his bike and was bleeding a lot.
In T’s words, “It looked like a murder scene!”
It wasn’t quite as harrowing as that, but there was a lot of blood on the pavement and T’s upper lip was busted up.
The hubby said T was hesitant to go back on the bike after his accident but after some gentle encouragement, he got back on like a pro.
And we told him we’re very proud that he did that!
He will continue to have many more falls, figurative and literal, and it’s all about getting back up and learning to avoid those falls in the future.
And to have a sense of humour about things.
T’s lips became quite puffy and I told him he looked like a Kardashian.
He didn’t find the joke as funny as I did.