Oliver Balthazor. That is the name of the person who forever changed my life and made me a mother. That is the name of the person who helped me become the best speech therapist that I could ever be. That is the name of the person who gave me the strength to become a clinic owner.
From the moment Oliver was born, I have constantly worried about him and the choices that Colt and I were making for him (Were we giving him the right food? Were we disciplining him the right way? Was I spending enough time with him? Was I spending too much time with him?). A mother would do ANYTHING for her baby. ANYTHING. As some of you know I have had quite a journey with my Oliver. We went through a stage of meltdowns. We went through a stage of Oliver being unable to talk to peers or engage in play. We went through the dreadful ‘poop’ phase where he would refuse to go number 2 unless it was in a diaper and if we didn’t give him a diaper he would hold it until he had to get an enema.
Our first step was getting him occupational therapy because he had significantly delayed motor planning skills. And instead of being the therapist, I was the mother watching from the window as my baby struggled. I cried. It hurt. And I fell in love with his occupational therapist. And standing in that window I then knew how every parent watching me be a speech therapist with their child felt. But guess what? I have already seen amazing changes in Oliver’s fine motor, gross motor, and motor planning skills! He is so strong. He is so amazing.
We also enrolled Oliver in a social group and put him in Emerson Academy and I was the mom standing in the doorway watching my Oliver standing by a tree nervous, shy, and wanting a friend. I cried. It hurt. Really bad. But guess what? In just 1 year, Oliver has friends. Real friends. Over the past two months I noticed that he was still sitting in a W position and his body seemed super tight so we started physical therapy. Once again I was on the sideline watching. Praying. Hurting. Willing to give anything for my Oliver to feel successful. Colt and I had people tell us that Oliver might have Autism, that he might have Asperger’s Syndrome, that he might have Cerebral Palsy, that he might have Tourette’s Syndrome. I lost a lot of sleep. I cried a lot of tears. I prayed a lot of prayers. I begged for answers. I would often ask, “Why me?” But I have gotten my answers.
Hands down I am a better therapist because of Oliver. I now KNOW what it feels like to watch your baby struggle so I put all my energy into my sessions and I research more. I now KNOW how hard it is to get to therapy appointments so I reward the parents and let them know how much it means to me that they made it to their appointment and how great they are as parents. I listen. I really listen. With my heart. And I now realize how it feels to really experience guilt and to feel like you are never doing enough as a parent. And I also know that parents are trying their best and that they love their baby more than words.
We actually finally figured out that Oliver has complex motor stereotypies. I had never even heard of this before so my goal now is to get more people educated about this. I am blessed. I am so thankful for my son.