If there's one quality I want to foster in Gavin and Brian, it's generosity. I want them to be generous with their time, their love, their spirit and their good fortune. Growing up, my parents encouraged giving to those less fortunate than us...and my Dad and I loved to do volunteer projects together.
Since the day Gavin was born, I feel like we've been on a constant receiving end of generosity. When he was hospitalized, people brought us meals. When I lost babies, people brought us meals. (People have brought us a LOT of meals to the point that I started to think of things I could make up JUST to get these amazing meals) Neighbors and friends have sent us hand me down clothes. Other friends and neighbors have given us toys. Blog readers have sent care packages and toys. One especially generous blog reader, a retired school teacher who we lovingly refer to as Grandma Barb, supplied the boys with what seems like a lifetime worth of books!! We have been so blessed by so many people.
So, it has felt really great over this past year or so to give and give and give. But, more importantly, it has felt great to know that two little boys are watching. Whether it's something small - like handing a dollar to Brian to put in a serviceman's can on Veteran's Day... or handing five bucks out the window to a Penn State student collecting money for their Childhood Cancer campaign - or something big like giving baby gear and clothes and toys to Gavin and Brian's speech therapist or packing up boxes for hurricane victims - they were watching. And Brian always has tons of questions. My answers always include a story about Pop who was truly the most generous person I've ever known. He taught me that it doesn't matter how little you have - you can still manage to give something big and make a difference in someone's life.
Last week, I purchased a castle climber and slide with the intention of giving it to Gavin's classroom. I bought it from a local Mom - she practically gave it away for $20.00! - and she was so happy to know it was going to help Gavin and his friends. I thought it would be a great indoor activity and therapy tool during the cold winter months when they can't go outside.
It was at our house all weekend and I cleaned it up well so we could deliver it today. Brian had a LOT of fun playing on it this weekend so I was a little bit fearful that he would have a tough time letting it go. Okay, a lot a bit fearful.
But I was wrong. I loaded it in the back of the van and Brian and I drove to Gavin's school to pick him up. The whole way there he talked about how happy Gavin and his friends were going to be when they saw it. I was so proud of him. We carried it in and he demonstrated how to climb and slide and that was that!!
While we were there, I had a chance to chat with two of Gavin's therapists. Whitney, on the left, is Gavin's Speech Therapist - and Erika is his Occupational Therapist. They both are so great with Gavin and you can tell that he really adores them.
Whitney told me that they were working hard on lip closure today. Just like Maggie did, she adds crushed crackers or rice krispies on top of his puree and uses a flat spoon to encourage him to close his lips around it. Generally, he scrapes everything with his teeth. Lip closure is an important step in speech and language development. She's been using massage around his mouth and bringing bubbles to his lips as well!
Erika worked with him on feeding as well. She's trying to encourage him to feed himself. He was doing well with that for a while...but, in Gavin style, went on strike for a bit. To get him back in the groove, she used a technique called "chaining" where she'd leave the spoon in his mouth so he'd be forced to pull it out himself with his hand. Tricky, eh? As a reward after therapy, she bounced him on the big therapy ball which I am SURE my little daredevil just loved.
Tomorrow is a big day! It's Gavin's first school picture day! I'm sending Sara to school with props to entertain and make him smile. Her job is depending on how good these pictures turn out so... good luck with that, Miss Sara! (don't worry, I'm just kidding. or am I?)