Not because it’s particular taxing but it is difficult, and that is going through Sam’s toys and deciding which to keep and which to pass on to the next owner.
It’s a typical job that every parent has to do, usually just before Christmas and/or birthdays, but for me it hurts.
Sam’s toys are mostly in perfect, "as new", condition. Because they ARE new condition.
His disabilities have meant that by the time he was physically/visually able to use baby toys, he had outgrown them.
He’s now a 6 year old, with the mind of a 6 year old but the physical abilities of a 6 month old. He has pretty much every baby toy going… and he is BORED by them.
But as the years go on it gets harder to find suitable presents for him, things that he can play with, that are as close to being ability-appropriate as possible.
He adores the minions, but while he thinks his talking/farting minion is utterly brilliant, he can’t work it himself.
And going through all those beautiful, colourful toys that have never or barely been used… it opens old wounds, reminding me of the life my baby should have had if it weren’t for a quirk of fate. Well, genetics.
But there are ways to make things easier for him to enjoy his toys like any other boy.
Recently, I was introduced to a charity called the medical engineering resource unit (MERU).
They design and supply equipment especially for disabled children, but they also offer a service to adapt suitable toys to allow a child to use a switch to activate them.
After a short time furiously reading the website, I fired off an email asking how much it would be to adapt some toys in time for the little chaps birthday… turns out, these wonderful people do it free of charge, asking a mere £5 to cover postage.
Within minutes I’d disappeared into that massive pile of toys and located a few that would be suitable – two small party lights (a police siren one and a multi-coloured disco ball), a Scout toy he’s never even had out of the box, and the beloved minion toy.
They were packed and off to MERU within hours; and within the week they were back.
Sam hasn’t quite managed to use the switches unaided, yet.
But seeing his little face as he realises that HE has made the toy do something is absolutely wonderful...
And it goes a long way to helping to heal old wounds, and to give my boy a life he enjoys.