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 feel...like 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.

9 comments:

kristen said...

Oh this is lovely! And yes, exhale, please, and then take another deep breath because they are going to keep on surprising you day after day...

KAL said...

I know this feeling you describe, absolutely! It IS like finally being able to exhale. We run around in a state of panic when a diagnosis or even a suspicion is handed down. I think exhaling is acceptance and the ability to move on.

Good to see you posting again.

burgiboogie said...

Yeah a post!! I teeter on the edge of acceptance from time to time. Maybe one day I will jump, but sometimes it is enough to think about it:)

Kazilar said...

See here or here

Niksmom said...

So lovely to read this! Yes, exactly what Kristen said...they ARE going to keep surprising you!

BTW, thanks so much for your recent comment! Not just for the info on the Jolly Jump Wear (looks intersting) but b/c I didn't realize that you **weren't** in my google reader and I'd been missing posts! That's been fixed! Nice to be in touch again. :-)

Jen P said...

They grow up so fast huh?

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California Supermom said...

I know exactly how you feel! I am trying to learn to 'exhale' myself. I'm happy about the progress, all the best!

Casdok said...

Lovely post!! :)