This Monday we took Devlin for an appointment at Holland Bloorview to meet with this LIFEspan team, where I had my socks knocked off, metaphorically speaking. I was actually wearing the shoes pictured below, so no socks were being worn during that meeting.
So we sat down with a team of professionals and they began to lay out some of what the LIFEspan team are there to help us with, what they are there to do and how they can help us to prepare for Devlin to transition from childhood to adulthood.
Normally a child transitioning from child to adult is a gradual thing, a series of tiny steps with a few large leaps thrown in. Little steps like their taste in music and movies, books and activities maturing. The leaps are first jobs, first girlfriends, getting their license.
Before he turns 18 we have to meet with a lawyer and discuss what steps we need to take to ensure that when Devlin turns 18 we remain his guardians, able to make important decisions for him. We need to apply for him to get Disability support (financial) as an adult, something that we can’t apply for until he’s 17 and a half years old, but the moment he hits that 17 years, 6 months stage we’re too apply right away since it will take some time to get his file looked at and then approved.
As we were leaving the appointment I turned to my husband and said that we had a few years until Devlin needs to apply for Disability.
He gave me a funny looks and pointed out that he’ll be 16 in November, his approaching the adult years has snuck up on me. In 23 months my son will become a man, in the eyes of the government anyways.
An adult that loves Sesame Street as much now as he did when he was 2. He loves to watch Treehouse, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo are still his favorite movies, with the Toy Stories franchise and Cars following close behind. He loves toys, his favorite author is still Robert Munsch. Bobby Generic singing Animals Don’t Wear Underpants is his favorite song.
He’s so small too. Only just starting to fit into a childrens size 8, and the fact that he needs me for almost everything in his life, hasn’t exactly tipped me off to the fact that he’s still growing.
A friend who lived upstairs from me and who’s daughter was born months before Devlin just shared on Facebook that her baby girl just got her first job. I guess that should have clued me in that Devlin is growing up, but I was so busy worrying about fixing his food, cuddling him while he drinks his bottle and changing his diapers that this has all sort of slipped up on me, and as I heard said a few years ago, it’s all up on you so you better get all up on it.
Now I’m thinking about all the things I have to get done before he grows up, while at the same time still enjoying the little fellow who lights up when the Wiggles come on.
It’s almost like a Paradox. How can he be an adult. He doesn’t meet any of the criteria for being an adult, he will never work. Never look after himself. Never be potty trained. Never feed himself. And yet the government says that the moment the clock of his life turns to 18, I am no longer the one legally responsible for him, unless I go and get myself declared his guardian.