Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An Artist among Us

B. discovered his medium yesterday...he likes to work in watercolors. Over the past couple years I've tried getting him to paint every once in a while, to no avail. But yesterday he loved it.

He also said "paint" and, I think, "painting" several times. And when I tried to put things away as it started to rain, he said a very clear "NO!"

I'm hoping the paints really are truly non-toxic, because most of the time he had one brush in his mouth, and he drank part of a cup of the painting water.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff

About a year ago, B. was in a stage when he would complete the lines of some familiar songs..."Old McDonald had a ...", and a few others. I used to love hearing his voice sing those words. I didn't like to push it too much, but it was so nice to hear the sound of his voice. He doesn't fill in words as much as he used to, only once in a blue moon.

Every night lately, the boys have been listening to songs from Winnie the Pooh movies, sung by Carly Simon, as they fall asleep. Usually we play it several times before they actually go to sleep. This morning, B. was upset about something, and I started singing Winnie the Pooh to him. A few minutes later I recognized him singing "Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh" a few times. It sounded like "Weee ah pooh". And this afternoon he sang some syllables that sounded like "tubby little cubby". This was all very faint and garbled, but so wonderful to hear.

When I hear him singing a string of words, it makes me wonder what it will be like to hear him speak in phrases or sentences. I believe it will happen, in its own time. Meanwhile I enjoy the singing and babbling and whatever else he has to say.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reason to party

I'm making a concerted effort to get out more with the boys. Last night we went to our neighbors' housewarming, and after some initial ear-plugging and wailing, all the boys had a good time. Our neighbor's youngest daughter has developmental delays, and is exactly the twins' age. They are also big "Signing Time" fans, and it was nice to have some other signers around.

This evening I brought J and G. to a church-related pot-luck. B. was asleep when I left, so he stayed and watched an important football game with Dad. I had to force myself to go, and the group is not quite what I'm looking for, but I'm glad I went for the boys' sake. Ideally I'll find a group that I like for my own sake and that's also good for them So far the autism groups I belong to come closest, but they don't get together often. I want a place where I can really be myself (goofy, combined with sarcasm and liberal views) But, I digress.

G. preferred staying downstairs with the grown-ups for most of the party, which was fine. He counted things, played with toys (!) and generally had a good time exploring. At dinner, he sat at the kids' table with no protest, and I wished I had my camera--he looked so mature. And next time he may even eat something more than a frozen waffle.

And now for my favorite moment:
All of us adults were lingering over dessert when G. climbed into a chair across from me and sat down. He looked at a lit candle for a little while, and announced "Birthday!"

I'm so happy about this, I can't describe it. I don't know exactly what it is, but I feel like he's moving to a new kind of thinking--making connections between things and events. It's so exciting to watch.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bumpy Landing

On our flight up to Newark, we had the most frightening flying experience I've ever had (for the record, I'm not scared of flying. I can't stand it when people say "it's so much safer than driving" because I have an actual phobia of driving fast) We had had a great flight, and were making the descent into Newark when the plane pulled up sharply, and continued flying. The pilot made an announcement that the instruments indicated that the nose gear was not coming down. He said something vague about having someone check it out.

I immediately got a very bad feeling in my stomach. I looked at my husband, and he said, "Oh, we can land without nose gear! We'll just have to get out the emergency exit fast". My husband has always taken a sunnier view of things (he is still certain the twins will grow out of their autism), but I can't say I was convinced.

The plane started making a grinding sort of noise, which my husband guessed was the pilot trying to "shake the landing gear down". That's when I decided he probably wasn't lying to me to calm me down, or else he was doing a bad job at it. I buckled the twins into their harnesses, but my hands were shaking, and a neighbor across the aisle had to help me. After a while, maybe ten minutes, of me thinking some pretty grim thoughts, the pilot announced that everything was okay. I was still nervous until we got down, and the actual landing was pretty bumpy. As we looked around, we saw fire engines and ambulances standing by. This seemed dramatic to me, but as my sister says, "If they haven't sprayed foam on the runway, they aren't expecting the worst".

I'd like to think I gained some wisdom and perspective in those shaky moments, but the most I've taken from it is a desire to appreciate every moment, stop worrying so much about the future, and stop worrying so much what other people think. All cliches I suppose, but cliches because they are all things worth doing.

And above all, look at my boys every day and be simply happy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Trying some new things

We started with new ABA therapists last week, six hours per week for each boy. There's a clinic about fifteen minutes from our house which uses a Verbal Behavior approach, and had been recommended by some parents in our Meet-up Group. So far, B. ssems to love it, and G. is okay with it.

I was dreading the first few days, because I've seen a pattern where therapists have seemed to be angry with G., because they know he knows a lot, but he won't do anything for them. It drove me nuts both times, but I tolerated it, because things got better once G. got to know each therapist.

At this place, it's completely different. The therapist is so sympathetic to G. He tells me, "No one should be forcing him to do anything. Right now we'll just play together and earn his trust". Of course, this is how everyone should have approached G. I feel so much better about this man. G. has enough anxiety without pushy therapists trying to force him to perform. I don't even know if I think ABA is right for G., but at this clinic, I think they understand him.

I don't know if it has to do with the new clinic, but B. is down-right chatty, by his standards. He counts to ten, sings "Tinkle, tinkle, ya, ya, ya" and murmurs the alphabet under his breath. It's mostly for his own entertainment, but I'm fine with that.

One thing that's a definite improvement in our quality of life: we have zero therapists coming to our house and driving J. nuts with jealousy. I liked the ECI women, but I don't miss rushing home for thirty minutes of "developmental services". Now J. and I have two mornings a week to spend together, and I can see him relaxing and acting happier.

PS the picture above is J. wrestling with his cousin. They played together for four days straight over the holidays.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

My brother-in-law and nephew did some fidddling for us, while B. danced.