Sunday, November 02, 2008

November 2, 2008

"Little green ball, little bounces"...he's getting very specific about what he wants. Love it. The words are just spewing out. After 7 years of silence, we're getting sentences. Cool.

I gave him the option of dressing up for Halloween, he declined. He and I spent the evening in the living room. For awhile, he sat on the couch and we counted trick-or-traters and said "good-bye" when they walked away. I was trying to read his mind as he'd sit there and look at all the kids in their costumes. Sometimes, I really sense he's thinking about how he'd love to play with the other kids, he just doesn't know how. I believe he'd like to have some friends...we're getting there.

So he and I spent Halloween writing...well, I was writing...a lot. For about 2 hours to be exact. He has several favorite cd's that he likes to listen to...one book on cd (Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree and The Great Pig Escape) and a couple music ones. He'll have me put one in and then he'll tell me to "draw book" or "draw music". Then I basically just write, as fast as I can every word and song lyric. The writer's cramp is unlike anything I've ever experienced. He loves it...the eye contact and the interaction is incredible. He'll tell me to write "big" or "little", he'll let me know if I missed any words, he'll dance and sing with me. I won't lie, it can be torture for me but it's funny. The minute I surrender to it and let go of any frustration or aggravation, either he moves on to some other activity or we really start to have fun with it.

He definitely has a girlfreind. She's 13 and cute and Jakob just loves her. She's my go-to girl when I have somewhere to go and something to do. I always know Jakob's in good hands and having a good time when he's with her. She can even get him to do things that he gives me a hard time about...like taking a shower. That's been a party lately. I spent 90 minutes in the bathroom last week trying to get him in the shower. I was in there having a one-girl party...dancing and singing, playing with all the tub toys. And at about 10:15, he got in...(after I surrendered). Erin took him up last night and in he went, no party necessary. Funny. She needs to move in :).

Jakob continues to do more and more. He's really opening up to people and forming relationships. The women who are working with him in the playroom are just great. They get what we're doing with him and genuinely enjoy their time with him. I couldn't have asked for a better group. They see the change in him and it's so exciting for all of us. My little guy is coming out of his world and it's so amazing to watch. When I'm upstairs and he's in the playroom with one of them, there's no better sound than the giggling. And he's giggling a lot. One thing he's finding so funny right now are opposites. He says "go" and we say "stop"...now that's funny. His other favorites are in, out, up, down, loud, quiet, right, left, open, close, big, little...actually, there are a ton of 'em. And he's saying every one. I sure do love that voice.

I've been getting asked to do quite a bit of speaking lately and I really enjoy it. I gave a short speech last night at an event for St. Aloysius Orphanage. It was a lovely evening and I had a very nice time. It's always good for me to get out there and talk about what's going on with Jakob and other kids who are facing all kinds of challenges. It helps me to stay focused on what it is that I'm trying to do. And it all feels so natural and so right when I talk to people about it. I know I'm doing the right thing for Jakob and for me.

I've done a lot of speeches about the details of Autism and how it can turn lives upside-down. And no doubt about it, it does. It did mine. For awhile anyway. And I still love to explain that to people because I know that most people just don't get it. And most people don't get how the diagnosis/prognosis can change the parents and everyone else close to the child. The change can go a bunch of different ways...it can get really ugly. That too, I experienced. But it can change everybody's lives for the better if we choose to have it affect us that way. That's the route for me these days and it's so much better than being angry and irritated all the time.

What continues to be so obvious to me is that I have to be happy. I have to be solid and sane and calm and secure if I want Jakob to feel that way. And it's not something I can turn on and off. I can't get all honked off about crappy service or some guy cutting me off in traffic and then come home, flip a switch and be happy for Jakob. It doesn't work that way. I can't worry about paying bills or a broken washer and Jakob not feel that from me. Anxiety is anxiety no matter what it's directed at and he feels it. I had a few moments this past week that I was having a tough time shaking and he sensed it. He got cranky. I know it was coming from me because as soon as I let it go, his crankiness stopped. He's my little radar that lets me know when I'm a little off. He's also my inspiration for wanting to be happy. What I model, I teach.

But I'm really the one learning all the lessons here. Jakob reminds me that life is supposed to be fun. That far too often we get all caught up in stuff that doesn' really matter. That the joy is in the little things. That everything is gonna be ok and all we really have is this moment. That trying to control anything other than how we feel is a waste of time and energy and if we can just let go and go with the flow, all will work out fine. And all is working out better than fine around here these days.

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