I think as grown ups, our party reasons have become more and more random as we age because when we were young, we didn't need an excuse to party, being young was reason enough. I can AWEnestly say, that with all my excuses, reasons, and justifications to party over the years, the folks in Pamplona Spain, regardless of their age, got me beat. It has never (not even when my Antarctica living uncle twice removed by marriage got engaged), ever crossed my mind to say, "Hey guys, let's have a nine day party, race through the streets with six angry, freaked out bulls chasing us, then kill the bulls and throw them on the grill. Oh, and I will bring the potato salad!". Nope the Spaniards party much harder than me since this is exactly (ok, maybe not exactly) what happened on Monday.
Although I may have never partied at the annual San Fermin Festival for the Running of The Bulls, and unless Hell does indeed freeze over chances are I never will, I have witnessed my share of near misses, almost injurious, get out of the way incidents with my own beautiful little bull.
Little did we know, that our charging bull's head first form was not his intentional preparation for taking out a matador or an all star quarterback. Much of Ryan's bull like form was a result of low muscle tone, or hypotonia, and his stomping, trampling, clumsiness was due to poor, or impaired, proprioception. Yeah, in other words, there were legitimate reasons that more often than not, my boy was like a bull in a China shop, or a bull in a street in Pamplano, Spain.
I remember when Ryan was around four or five years old, I asked his occupational therapist why the skin on Ryan's belly closely resembled the not so tight skin on my belly. I knew my no longer 18 year old abs were a result of carrying three large headed children in my womb (as well as eating large bags of Oreos during each pregnancy), but, I didn't understand why Ryan's super soft, stretch free belly looked like it did. The therapist's reply was the first time I heard the word hypotonia.
This low muscle tone has effected Ryan in numerous ways. Low muscle tone impacted Ryan's small muscles which made things like cutting with scissors and tying his shoes very difficult for him. Low muscle tone also impacts Ryan's large muscles which makes running upright and learning to ride a bike so difficult for Ryan, that most of the time he still runs like a bull and to this day he could care less about ever learning to ride a bike.
Most of us know where our body parts are without having to think about them. As you read this blog post, you are not consciously thinking of your legs curled up underneath you or your hands holding onto your iPad, they are just doing it. Yet, without thinking about it, you are not falling off your chair or banging yourself in the face with your iPad (unless of course I am boring you to sleep) because sensory receptors in your body are telling your brain what to do so you don't have to think about it.
For Ryan, he seems like a bull in a China Shop because sometimes he struggles with knowing where his body parts are without looking at them. This is why he frequently steps on my toes, whacks me in the head, knocks things over, and stomps and crashes down our steps. And just like the bulls in the streets of Pamplano, if you don't get out of the way, you may get trampled. Often these near misses result in a minor flailing arm whack to the head, or a 92 pound, size 10 foot toe crush, and chances are, the exasperated victim will instinctively shout, "Ouch!" or "Watch it!" or "Be careful!" to which Ryan will exasperatedly reply, "Sorry, that was an accident.". And I promise you, it was. Much like the bulls in Pamplano, I assure you, Ryan just wants the noise of the party to subside and for everyone to get the he** out of his way.
Unlike the bulls, running through the streets of Pamplano, my beautiful little bull is not aggressive and would never intentionally hurt anyone. Yes, changing his routine or accidentally picking up Sugar Free Jello Vanilla Pudding instead of the high octane sugar filled pudding may make Ryan see red, Ryan would still never charge at anyone (unless of course you took his Xbox controller and ran down the street). As his mother, whom he knows gives him unconditional love, I will occasionally get the intentional, ever so slight nudge to let me know he is angry with me, but, my boy would never gore or trample anyone, not even his dumb old mom who caused the Jello Pudding mishap.
This mom may be simple, not simple enough to crash a party and run with large horned bovine, but, simple enough to buy Sugar Free Jello Pudding instead of "Original" Jello Pudding (I really, really wish they would change their packaging) and simple enough to occasionally make poor decisions. However, regardless of my poor decisions, I know that no matter how many times I get the subtle shove for once again screwing up the Jello Pudding, or how many times I take an accidental backpack to the head, I will never run away from my little bull. I will always run along side of him, protecting him from people who misunderstand him, poke at him, prod him, and run away from him out of fear and ignorance. I know that as he gets bigger, his unintentional toe stomping will hurt more, but, I will try and smile as I say, "I'm fine." then go wipe my tears and nurse my throbbing toe out of sight.
I now know, that Ryan's chance of running down linebackers in the NFL are slim, but, I have seen him run past, trample over and take out numerous obstacles much bigger than a 300 pound linebacker that have gotten in his way. I believe that just like the bulls in Spain, once Ryan makes up his mind where and how far he wants to go, he won't let anything or anyone stand in his way. My boy, will one day turn the tables and take the bull by the horns. He will be victorious over the simple minds that once feared him, misunderstood him or ran from him. That my friends, is a party I would never dream of missing and I promise, you will all be invited.