Smashmallers

Peter requested “smashmallers” today. He meant marshmallows and I was so happy he had messed the word up. I know it sounds strange but when a four-year old makes up a word to describe something he’s heard before it’s so. . .normal(!)

It’s just another sign that his brain is out of mimic mode and is processing information in a more normal fashion. “Smashmallers” is just another reason to give me hope.

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Oh, Boy What a Week!

It seems that just when I think it’s safe to relax, that’s when I discover that relaxing can’t be in my vocabulary for at least another 10 years–if that.

Peter, flooded the downstairs bathroom. This time it was legitimately not his fault– at least I don’t think.

Last week, just before we were to pull out of the driveway to visit my in-laws (a four/five hour trek on a good day), Peter slapped at the television screen for the car DVD player and snapped it right off. I still don’t know how much that is going to cost me. The dealer rep who handles this hasn’t called me back yet.

Peter fell down the stairs while we were at my in-laws but aside from a rug burn on his shoulder he was okay.

On the plus side, my nephew had a stuffed Mickey Mouse that he toted around when he was little and, now that he is eleven, he bequeathed it to Peter who promptly fell in love. So this much loved on Mickey is now Peter’s sleeping buddy along with a smaller Mickey and four or five copies of the Alaskan sled dog. His bed has gotten a little crowded.

Nathan Talking (!)

Nathan is beginning to make intelligible sounds that come close to approximating the words he is trying to use. Between yesterday and today, Nathan has said the words: blue, red, car, house, cup and paint. I could actually tell that these were words he was trying to say. We’re making progress!

Summer Activities

Since both boys have been in school all year, it’s easier to get them to participate in craft projects and activities with their big sister. She always wants to do projects but, in the past, this was problematic because the boys wouldn’t use the glue correctly (What am I saying? Peter used it properly the other day but then finished by trying to shampoo his hair with it. He got a haircut.) or they would throw feathers, glitter or sequins all over the floor.

This year has been better. They’ve painted and glued objects onto paper. Next we’re going to try popsicle stick projects or something like them.

We’ll see how it goes but I would like for kids to do more than play outside or watch television. We’ve planned picnics for days when Daddy is home (and it’s not raining) and we’re hoping to do a few field trips to museums.

I would love for someone to put together travel books for parents of children with special needs. Maybe that’s my next project.

Friday was Stinky but Today was Okay

For the first time, Peter’s speech therapist heard him use a full sentence with the first person pronoun. (“I want to play with the ball more.”) He’s done that at home but I would say only 5 percent of the time. The rest of the time he uses questions to prompt the listener into doing what he wants which he then answers. As in:

Peter: Do you need more help?

Peter: Okay.

Mommy: Peter, do you need help?

Peter: Okay.

Mommy: Peter, can you say, “I need help, please”?

Peter: Yes, please, I need help.

As I’ve mentioned before, Peter tends to incorporate new behaviors a little more each day until he’s doing something almost 100 percent. I hope in a year we’ll be able to look back and see that the third person questions are a thing of the past.

Sometimes It Ain’t Pretty

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I try to remain very positive in these posts but sometimes it helps just to say that autism stinks.

It stinks when people stare, it stinks that you have to ask your child 14 times what they want to eat before you might get an answer (and that’s for those of us lucky enough to have children who speak), it stinks when you have to clean up poop from the steps where the one potty-training decided to wipe his rear when you didn’t change his Pull-ups fast enough (of course, again, that’s for those of us lucky to have one who is actually potty-training.) Autism is not a “mental illness,” as I’ve heard it described recently, it is a condition that affects the communications system in the brain, and yes, that stinks too. “Mental illness” always sounds like something most patients can recover from or take medication for– no such luck with autism.

It stinks that we won’t know how our kids will do as adults in this big bad world until we’re there. Until then, every morning, I will wake up and pray that the autism doesn’t stink as much today as it did yesterday and that I get a little piece of hope thrown my way to encourage me.

Eggs, eggs and more eggs

I don’t know why but Peter and Nathan are fascinated with eggs. Peter maybe more so but only because he is more capable of getting into the refrigerator to take the carton out. He got one, oops– make that two, out this morning and dropped them on the floor.

Part of this may be my fault. To encourage social interaction and Peter’s genuine curiosity, he’s been helping me cook. He’s actually pretty good for his age. I measure things out and he dumps. Now, of course, this means that he assumes he can help me every time I’m in the kitchen which isn’t always desirable (try frying chicken with a little helper– it’s very stressful trying to explain, every two minutes, why he can’t stand on a stool in front of the frying pan). Today, we made brownies even though I’m on deadline for three opinion pieces– oh, well, I’ll get them done somehow.