Over the years we have become accustomed to Cameron learning or starting to learn a new skill and then losing that skill after a seizure. It was incredibly disheartening but it became the norm and I would sit beside his bed on the ward after we had saved his life yet again and wonder what he would be able to do when he woke up. When we found out what we had lost I would sometimes curl up and shed a tear for all the hard work gone and independence lost.
However, I have a theory that if Cameron's brain has done something just once he can do it again, the pathway was there. I hang on to the memories like that sentence he said in front of a room full of my family as my Grandmother lay dying (or so we thought) - "Wake Up Great Gran". I don't forget that Cameron was almost toilet trained five years ago after watching his little sister and joining in or the odd times that he has done something unexpectedly like build a tower independently or thread some cotton reels.
Therefore it is all the more exciting to see some of these skills reappear because it says to me that my theory is on the right track.
Cameron is toilet training himself again and I am doing nothing. I have learnt over the years to keep right out of it. If you put Cameron and myself into a toilet room together one or both of us will come out crying - it's inevitable. Both of us become so frustrated and we were put under so much pressure when he was very young that we both snapped. Imagine telling a mother of a severely brain injured child to toilet train her child before he was one - he couldn't even crawl. I know now that was ridiculous but at the time I was a sleep deprived, stressed to the max, first time Mum who was doing whatever the therapists told her to do. Sixteen years later I am cheering from the sidelines and helping to put on the pull ups.
Over the years I learnt through research why Cameron couldn't toilet train and I learnt to stand up for myself and say - NO. I had to do it again during term 4 at school last year.
It's exciting to watch Cameron's independence this time around and his sudden realization that he is wet - that has never happened before. We are going through a LOT of pull ups but that is okay, it is all positive and feels right.
Last night for dinner we had a tube pasta salad and chicken kebabs. Normally we would remove the meat off the skewers for Cameron because otherwise he will consume the wood along with the meat. Yesterday we tried again to see if Cameron could eat the meat off the skewer and guess what - he ate the meat off the skewer just like the rest of us. The wood was intact. We all kept eating and Cameron suddenly decided he would eat with his skewer instead of his fork. My Marvelous Man drew my attention to Cameron stabbing his pasta with the skewer rather expertly. As we watched and admired his excellent efforts a new idea occurred to Cameron - threading. He proceeded to thread the pasta tubes onto the skewer. How clever was that? In fact so clever that My Little Angel thought she should join in and thread her pasta on to her skewer too.
In the past we have stopped Cameron picking up his food and generally making a disgusting mess but now things are changing and Cameron is playing with food like a young child would - he is experimenting and discovering. It's very exciting and developmentally totally appropriate.
He spent one meal using tongs and moving food out of the serving bowl and onto his plate and then back again. The dog enjoyed the mush that was left at the end and we were all very impressed with Cameron's new found skill.
Last night when I walked into the kitchen before dinner I discovered Cameron was serving the dinner.
He needed no help and understood exactly what he was doing. There needed to be a little bit of portion adjustment before the plates could be sent to the table but he did it all by himself and he was very serious about it.
As I start each day I wonder what this day will bring - surely not another new found skill? But lately that is exactly what each day is bringing. Along with pure joy and a lot of shock.