Wednesday, 12 October 2011

He's Sixteen Years Old! But He Couldn't ..........

Today was Cameron's 16th Birthday. It is incredible to think that he has been with us for that long. His birth seems like it was yesterday.

It was lovely to celebrate Cameron's birthday with him so alert and aware of what it was about. This year he was excited about receiving his presents and took note of his cards. He was excited to hear his grandparents at the other end of the phone wishing him a Happy Birthday and he grinned every time someone mentioned his birthday. He didn't rip every bit of wrapping paper up into a thousand pieces and hand each individual piece to you as he painstakingly unwrapped his gift but he did still annihilate most of the envelopes his cards came in because he couldn't figure out how to open them.

So what do you give a sixteen year old with a mental capacity of a one to two year old? I dread that question because half the time I have no idea. This year we went for something a little different and I'm already regretting it. We gave him a radio toilet roll holder. We thought it might encourage him to use the toilet and sit for a while - as you know he loves listening to music.

It may well do what we hope but I really should have paid more attention to the box because I missed the bit about the alarm button which of course Cameron found before he found the radio. It is loud and shrill and makes the CD player on full volume sound pleasant. Oh well, I have no one to blame but myself. On a positive note My Little Angel gave Cameron two new CD's so at least we have some new music to listen to loudly and a new Wiggles DVD to watch.

We had a family gathering this evening for Cameron's birthday and we ate his favourite take away - Pizza. His birthday cake was a collection of cupcakes which My Little Angel and I spent the afternoon baking and decorating. No two cakes were the same and we were pretty proud of our efforts when we stepped back and took a look.

Cameron blushed when all the fuss began about his birthday cake and the candles were being lit. He beamed as we sang our raucous version of Happy Birthday and then everyone encouraged him to blow out his candles but that was when my heart sank for him. He couldn't do it.

We spent years and years in therapy sessions teaching Cameron to blow out candles. He eventually learnt how and then he went from the kid who couldn't blow out candles to the kid who would blow out any candle in sight. At birthday parties we would have to throw ourselves in front of him or put our hand over his mouth and pull him away from the table so he wouldn't blow the birthday persons  candles out, sometimes before they'd even finished being lit. If he saw a candle in any situation he would blow it out because that was what he had been taught to do.

Then all the terrible seizures began and slowly the skills he had learnt started to disappear. Blowing out candles hung around for a while but a few years ago it disappeared. We didn't notice at first but it hit home when he stood in front of his birthday cake and looked blankly at us. I wanted to cry.

With all the wonderful things Cameron has been doing lately I secretly hoped that blowing out candles might have snuck back in but it hasn't so lots of people helped blow out Cameron's candles for him before he then spent forever trying to decide which cupcake he would like to eat.

My baby is all grown up and looking every bit the young man. We have a lot to be grateful for - for one he is still with us and we were able to celebrate his 16th birthday with him. He is alert, happy and learning again. We are surrounded by wonderful family and friends who support us and Cameron in every way they can and Cameron shows us every day how much he loves us. We are so lucky.

Happy Birthday Cameron


  1. Happy birthday Cameron. You're a great writer Jane, you make every negative seem small in relation to every positive Cameron makes.

  2. That is awesome! I am really happy for you guys! :-) He will learn to blow candles out again and all will be right with the world. :-)

  3. I love reading every chapter and miss it when you dont write for a few days but todays was so beautiful. Happy Birthday Cameron .

  4. I am so touched by how positive you stay. Happy Birthday to Cameron, and big hug to you.

  5. Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes for Cam.

    I am really touched that people enjoy reading my blog - I love writing it. Just wish I had more time to write more.

  6. Belated happy 16th birthday to Cameron. It is sad to read about the skills he has lost and I am sure it was heart bteaking when. He coulnt blow. His candles but bless him he does look delighted with his newtoilet radio and he has overcome so much to get this far. Well done Cam x x

  7. Thanks Little Mamma - you're right Cameron was really happy and that is his lesson for us all. He enjoys his life despite all the sadness that we all see.