Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thinking about Exhaling

At the twins' eighteen month check-up, a little light went off in my head which said "autism". The first month after realizing this was the hardest, partly because no one believed me. Feeling sure that I was right, I went into a flurry of researching, reading, and generally freaking out. By the time they turned two, no one tried to argue. The last year and a half or so, i've often thought of my state of mind as "waiting to exhale" The phrase comes from the novel by Terry McMillan, which I read in the early nineties. My life is so different from the women in her novel, but the title exactly fit the feeling I had.

For the first year, I threw myself into Floortime, combined with what I could figure out about Sensory Integration. I put all kinds of pressure on myself (and the rest of the family), trying to create "circles of interaction". G. seemed to respond, and B. remained ever-cheerful and pretty much happily self-absorbed. Finding the Signing Time DVD series jump-started our communication, and gave me more hope, but I was still worried and driven.

That whole time, I never relaxed, never stopped spending every day wondering if I was interacting enough, engaging them enough, should I be doing GFCF, etc. I'm still this way, some of the time, but I I'm thinking about exhaling.

I don't know if it's turning three or starting at the new ABA center, but the twins are changing. G. is talking and making connections (he looked at a little CD player, glanced at me and asked "Telephone?" B. is showing interest in activities (coloring, painting, looking at books), and is repeating all sorts of words to get what he wants. More importantly, he is seeking us out for attention (which he used to do a couple of years ago). In G., it's a speeding-up of his usual learning style. In B. it's sometimes a subtle change, but a really, really nice one.

The twins have always been sweet and wonderful. And now it's great to have the experience of "When did he start doing that??" with them--that feeling of realizing they are growing up, and you don't know if you are ready. I feel it all the time with J., and now I'm beginning to think it about all three of them.