10 March 2014

Can I have yogurt and granola please, mama?

So much progress.  He speaks in sentences.  He speaks spontaneously.  He opens the fridge and brings me the juice.  He gets the granola out of the cupboard.  He wants to do so many things himself.  His fingernails are finally growing back!  (He used to chew them down to literally nothing, just a thin line of something like a fingernail protruding from his cuticle, with unprotected flesh where his nails used to cover.)   He has playdates with friends, and takes turns at the park.  He'll have a week of daily meltdowns, but then he'll have two weeks of actually accepting the fact that a broken cookie does not go back together, and he can still eat the two separate pieces.  It's amazing. And then he'll melt down again, but still.

Helping in the kitchen is the latest greatest thing!
And as parents we are learning to stay calm.  We have a thermometer of emotions that he loves looking at on the wall, and he even loves making different faces with us to match the thermometer.  We remind ourselves to stay in the green and not get worked up to the orange, too.  We have the books "When my Worries Get Too Big" and "A Boy and a Bear", both of which he loves to read even if he doesn't quite understand the depths of their principles yet.  We ignore his "bad" behavior and try to remember to thank and praise him for just doing normal, good stuff that we might otherwise forget about.  As a teacher I also find myself in the classroom more and more willing to praise the forgetful student for finally bringing their textbook, even if a part of my brain is still thinking, "thanks for finally doing the bare minimum!"  But I know it's important that their efforts get recognized and appreciated.

I am meditating most days, I have set up our garage as a dance studio, and I am writing a page of journaling a few times a week (though I'd like to say every day, that's definitely not happening right now!).  Taking care of myself and keeping myself calm and serene have become the big goals, rather than desperately finding time to myself in the day to "accomplish" other things.  The accomplishment is serenity in itself.  The dancing helps me get there, so does the intentional daily mindfulness.  But the goal is not yet the dancing, the choreographing, etc, it's just using the dancing to feel good. 

There still may be huge deficits in cognition, executive functioning, and self-regulation, but there is so much change in communication and social interaction.  We will be celebrating four years in just two weeks, and I can't wait to keep tracking what his next big change will be.

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