When you have a child that is delayed, has reduced mobility and doesn’t show the best understanding, you could say that discipline goes out of the window. If they have spent their early years quite static lacking the ability to explore or even the inclination to move then best behaviour is not something you strive for. Then slowly they develop beyond the baby stage and hit toddler level. They start to become something you never thought possible: a bit naughty.

And it is hilarious. It shouldn’t be. We should treat our children with extra needs the same really as our typical children.

But we don’t.

Because sometimes we are just so damn pleased that they are doing something normal. I know that behaviour can become a huge issue further down the line. But in this tiny window when they show a bit of unseen before pep and feistiness it is mighty in its glory.

My four-year- old son Gabriel is globally delayed with no unifying diagnosis. He is floppy and hypermobile yet last week he smacked his 80-year-old Granny in the face with his tiny hands. Any other four year old would have been sent to their room, given a swift talking to and probably lost their allocated iPad time but no not Gabe.

Instead we all roared with laughter and hugged this action to ourselves with delight like a present.

Then there was the time when we tuned our backs in a restaurant for a minute and he threw his feeding bowl filled with orange mush across the floor where it splattered yards away from him. It took a few minutes to figure out where it had gone. Had I moved it? It wasn’t on the floor beside him.

How proud I was mopping up the mess. What a throw. Go Gabe!

Instead of getting cross, we congratulated him on his strength and presence of mind to get rid of his unwelcome dinner. Every day now he is doing something more mischievous.

He picks up the DVDs off the TV stand and flings them across the floor with gusto and they will catch you in the eye if you get too close. Once this is finished he will bum shuffle to the next room and do the same in there with some books, the paper in the printer, daddy’s newspaper, anything really that we are foolish enough to leave in his path. 

Instead of muttering under my breath about messy children like I do with my older two as I pick these items back up, I smile with glee waiting for him to come back and do it all again.

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