He began reading a story. SpongeBob Squarepants. After a few pages, he didn’t want to read anymore and asked me to finish the story for him. I hadn’t been listening as he read so I asked him what happened so far and he told me. Abbreviated, but enough for me to understand and continue. We sat together and he listened and followed along and laughed and told me when I accidentally skipped a page.
- HE READ
- HE CAME TO ME FOR HELP
- HE RECAPPED
- HE SAT AND LISTENED
Just the other day though, as we were walking into his school, a kid told him good morning and he snapped at him … “NO! I don’t want to talk to you.” The kids mom gave him a look. I smiled and told her good morning.
When he was a baby, we’d be out and I would carry him in my arms. People would constantly come up to us to chit chat and tell me how cute he was. Every single time, he’d pull away and scream. I’d smile and say “He’s not very friendly.”
Long after she should have, Nanas had to physically carry him all day. He’d cry if she put him down – even for a second – or if she handed him to someone else. Even if that someone was her Mom, who he was familiar with. During his days there, he wanted Nanas and Nanas only. No bathroom breaks allowed.
I wrote about our trip to the restaurant the other day; I left out the part where he lay down stiffly on the seat and closed his eyes as soon as the hostess showed us to our booth. I didn’t know what was happening but the hostess played along. “Oh no! Are you alright? I think he’s hurt. Or dead.” He jumped up and said “Psych!” We all laughed and the hostess told him how worried she had been and how glad she was that he was alright. He grinned. The rest you know about.
- HE INITIATED INTERACTION WITH A STRANGER
- HE PRETENDED
- HE GOT THROUGH A MEAL AT A RESTAURANT
At some point everyday he asks for pizza or to use my phone and I often have to say no. When I do, he gets testy. “I want it and I want it now. Did I make myself clear? I’m not loving you! You make me mad. Say sorry to me. No-one even cares about this anyway.” This could happen when we’re alone in the car, in the lobby at his school or in a crowded mall and it’s rarely quiet. I know how it looks and sounds. But …..
A couple of nights ago, as I tucked him in bed he asked for a “thick blanket please”. I told him that it was called a comforter and I went and got him one and replaced the 3 regular blankets that he had been using. It was so easy.
In the old days (before he could talk) he would have kicked off his blankets and probably cried or screamed. I wouldn’t have known what he wanted. I may have thought he was hot and didn’t want any blanket. I may have thought he was stalling for more time. I doubt I would have thought he wanted to switch out the blankets that he loves for a single comforter. We then did our hugs and kisses and I love you’s and all was well.
- HE ASKED FOR WHAT HE WANTED
- HE HUGGED AND KISSED ME
- HE TOLD ME GOODNIGHT
After spending 3 hours at the mall he started to get tired. He calmly at first, then more loudly, told me he was ready to go and asked to be carried. I carried him for a bit. (He’s almost 8 yrs old and over 60 lbs). We still had a couple stops to make though so I pushed. I let him and Ace race in the mall, much to the chagrin of many other shoppers. I even raced with them for a stretch or two. They yelled. They almost bumped into a couple of people. If it meant he’d be quiet and calm, I let him sprawl out on the floor just outside stores or stand IN the racks of clothes.
In the line at the last store, he got a very loud. By then he was DONE. I was gentle with him. I held his hand and squeezed it. He likes that. I promised him that this was the last stop. I know people in the line thought he was being bad and that I was being too easy on him. They didn’t know that I had already pushed him past his limit and that he had done an awesome job of holding it together. They didn’t know that really and truly, this mall trip where everyone got what they went there for and then some, had been a success. Their disapproving looks meant nothing to me.
At that same mall trip, we got a pretty great Santa picture. I’ve written entire posts about school pictures and Santa pictures before. This is no small event folks. I do not take this years picture for granted one bit because I remember when these things gave me anxiety. I remember when I had to explain to the picture takers that Jay was autistic and the photo shoot may or may not work. I remember! I still have the pictures of him running away from Santa screaming. I remember being a sweaty mess by the time we got to the front of the line only to not get a picture worth sharing with anyone. I have all the “bad” school photos sitting in a pile under my bedside table instead of being displayed or sent to family and friends.
- HE FOLLOWED THE “ELVES” INSTRUCTIONS
- HE SAT ON SANTAS LAP
- HE HAD AN EXTENDED CONVERSATION WITH SANTA
Often, they don’t appear to be the best behaved or most polite kids you’ve ever seen.
But I’ll take these issues any day. Because I haven’t forgotten when we had much bigger issues to deal with. I haven’t forgotten when I would have been thrilled with just knowing what my sons voice sounded like. I would have given anything for just one day with no crying or screaming. I’ll never take any of his progress for granted. Each time the biggest problem I have is to model for Jay a more polite way to say something I feel blessed. Each time I get to argue with Jay, I am in awe of his words. I understand what a privilege it is. Each time he tells me WHY he’s upset about something and we work it out together, I say a thank you to God.
It isn’t always perfect. But when it is good, there are no words to describe the feeling. And when it’s not good – No matter what it looks like from the outside, it’s still ok because I haven’t forgotten when I couldn’t find ANY good. No matter how frustrating things get for me sometimes or how hard it is not to lose my patience and no matter what others think about my boys behavior or my parenting, where we are now is the miracle that I prayed for and that others are still praying for.