Tuesday, July 29, 2008
It's a hot summer afternoon, and he loves to play in spraying water toys in the backyard. But also in our backyard is our air conditioning unit. To say that he loves it does not even begin to describe the relationship he has with AC units. He cannot stay away from them. If he sees one, he runs to it, and if kept from doing so, we are treated to the Eagle Shriek, as we call it: a high pitched, VERY loud short shriek which, when experienced at point blank range in one's ear can render it shut down for several minutes, and if experienced in a shopping mall or grocery can make innocent bystanders jump at the least - or shriek a little themselves - and give him or me some oh-so-understanding blistering comment, which I'm very good at ignoring. Anyway, I brought out some of his new water toys that he got for his birthday last weekend. He even chose which one he wanted first. Then, he heard the AC unit on. He ran to it - no surprise. But even after I had set up the water-spinning penguin, he would not be moved. So darn it, I took him by the hand and walked him toward the new toy. I mean, it spins, there is water...what's there not to like for an autistic kiddo? But no, he fought me, gave the Eagle Shriek several times, and ran back to the AC unit. And I, in a not-so-proud moment, said, "Okay fine, I'll see you later," and went inside. He's outside with his beloved AC unit, grunting and stimming away over the spinning fan, and I'm inside licking my "wounds" and feeling sad.
I really need to be better than this - I know he's not rejecting me - he just is so obsessed by the AC unit that his mind can't get beyond it. Kind of like in Finding Nemo - there is a fish in the dentist's tank that loves bubbles, and he just waits by the treasure chest for the bubbles to come and when they do, he grabs the chest and says "bubbles, bubbles, bubbles!" despite everything else around him. My heart breaks at times like this, and as hard as I try to always have my Strong Mommy of Autistic Child guard up, there are times that my heart bursts through the guard and I just want to be able to play with my son and have ME be more interesting than the fucking AC unit.
Friday, July 25, 2008
This topic, along with our taking him off special diets, has prompted so many well-intentioned suggestions, monologues and lectures directed at me that I am no longer entirely patient or rational when speaking about it. Have you tried this? Yes. How about this? Yes. What about...yes, yes, yes. I've tried it and it's been 7 years and if it were that easy I WOULD HAVE DONE IT BY NOW. And he'd be potty trained and I wouldn't have lost probably the equivalent of 3 months' time of my life sitting on the floor of the bathroom trying to encourage him to poop. Think I haven't been trying to potty train him since he was three? Every poopy diaper is a reminder of 1) just how delayed he is and 2) how much of a failure I feel that I am in this area.
See, not too patient & rational anymore. Of course I'm not a failure. But he is delayed. Remember: functioning at about a 2 1/2 year age equivalency.
But back to the good news!!!! Monday, I once again caught him just as he was about to push. I smelled a few "warning shots", so with my patience in tow, I took him to the bathroom. Those faint of heart & with delicate sensibilities, stop reading. He sat down, and after a moment, I could see that the tiniest bit of poop had emerged. I praised him, patted & massaged his legs, encouraged him, and waited, and waited, and watched. Nothing. Several minutes passed. I'm thinking "For crying out loud kid, I can SEE you have to go! For the love of God, DO IT!" So maybe this was divine intervention, but I started singing vocal warm-ups to him. He thinks arpeggios are hilarious, so I sang them. I sat on the floor of our half bathroom singing arpeggios and made him laugh and smile and laugh some more, and then...quite to his and my surprize...PLOP, a poop hit the water. It was one of the most beautiful sights ever. And the addus bonus, he did it again the next day. Haven't caught him since Tuesday, but I will - and he'll get the hang of it.
I have to laugh when I think of this story, though. I mean, what a truly bizarre story - my singing my operatic warm-ups in the bathroom while my son takes his first dump in the toilet. But he did it, by God, and I'll sing in the bathroom everyday for the rest of my life if it will help him poop in the toilet.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
A momentous night! We were all enjoying our dinner out on the porch. T was happily eating his dinner (which has gotten considerably easier lately since he's been willing to try new foods – amazing) when he quite quickly and purposefully stood up. He looked at us both, then at Rob, and even moved toward him and mumbled something. It was another one of these glimpses of T trying to really communicate with us, which is happening more often and is very cool. Rob asked him if he wanted something, and I asked him if he needed to go to the potty. He said "No potty", but went inside. Rob & I marveled at the attempt to talk, wished we understood his words better, but stayed on the porch and continued to enjoy the unusually temperate early July temperatures. A few moments later, we heard the distinct sound of what we thought was water running – not unusual for T, since he really likes to play in the water. But both Rob & I looked quizzically at each other, went inside, and discovered our boy standing in front of the toilet, peeing into it without having had any assistance whatsoever!
YAY!!! All by himself. Okay, this meant that he 1) felt that he had to go (huge), 2) knew that he had another option other than peeing in his Pull Up or underwear (even huge-er), 3) wanted and tried to tell us (awesome), 4) walked into the house and went to the bathroom, 5) pulled down his pants, 6) pulled down his Pull Up, 7) lifted the toilet seat and lid, and 8) PEED in the toilet!!!! Oh my God, he did it!!! This means that he CAN, he CAN, he CAN DO THIS!!! I know he won't have this all down tomorrow – and we still have to work on the pooping – but holy crap, this is such a big deal. He did this on his own. By God, he's going to be able to be potty trained. He will, he will be, he will do it.
I am so friggin' happy. I'm so proud of him!!!
And if that wasn't enough, later on, I was walking by him and said that I'd be right back – that I needed to go wash some more dishes (which still need to be done, by the way.) He said "No downstairs", reached and gently pulled me by the elbow and quietly said "1-2-3." He was asking me to play our little game where I count to three and throw him on the bed. He ASKED me to play with him! Our little guy – he amazes me and inspires me and gives me such hope for his future. I am very happy tonight.