Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December & Christmas things

Ahhh we are really getting into the Christmas Spirit


DH  has put up the Christmas lights and he has them  programmed to a remote which he is carrying

In the dark sky ( as the cabin is far away from civilization ) the lights come on like magic

The man can still delight me after 17 years


Christmas Parties 

We go to two Christmas Parties -

R is beyond delighted by Santa - he really really truly believes .

This year, DH     Santa has got him this AMAZING gift - dot to dot books where the dots go up to a THOUSAND in numbers ( I think these books are meant for adults )

Our other Christmas gift( a motorcycle ) lies untouched almost

Plus there is a note  from us  Santa telling R what a good boy he is

R completely believes and Santa is all R can talk about!

He looks at Santa's picture with him again and again and tells me how Santa is hugging R!


Children truly have the eyes of wonder and it is such a gift to be his mum and get the chance to look through R's eyes

In the evening DH and I go to our Christmas party

I dress up ( DH says I embody the spirit of Christmas by looking like a Christmas tree myself - this is not entirely a compliment :-) )



OMG he is so happy to be with his babysitter ( she is his therapist also ) as he loves her - they have dinner at McDonald's ( where his other loved therapist also comes )

How different it was just a few years ago when every time we left him I would make sure my phone was switched on - in case of an emergency

And when we would almost always return to an anxious nervous R

5 minute floortime 


As the year is drawing to an end and I am running shorter and shorter of time,I have started to employ  this concept

If while doing laundry R interrupts me - I drop whatever I am doing to floortime with him for 5 minutes

This observation came to me when i realized how many books I manage to read just by listening to audio books while doing chores

I started to wonder that maybe I need to apply the same principle to another thing that suffers due to lack of time - which is Floortime
 





Neurotypicalness


While social referencing is something that is supposed to be missing in auties , I am noticing a version of that coming up for R

He is really interested in everything I do and will often copy me

He will get on the treadmill after I have been on it

Here he is wearing my gloves after I have finished cleaning the kitchen

You can see the wheels in his mind turning trying to figure out why I wear these gloves

The difference is that it does not occur to him to ask me why I wear the gloves - he tries to figure it out himself - through experimenting

The other thing he uses to understand is google - this too has limitations as his reading comprehension is far from perfect

In this way he misses out on an important source of knowledge


Still I love his curiosity and the emergence of the copying behavior

DH often says that I need to remove 3 years off his age and its very true

Finally I find I can read the "Little People" books to him and he really gets the simple concepts that are not based on facts
( as his preference is really only for Books around Facts - coyotes and foxes right now are his favorite books )
R and I go to the library a lot in the evenings and he often runs straight to the section around fact based books for young readers

Suddenly I noticed how this too has changed - for a LONG time he only wanted to read books about numbers and letters ( literally books with names like "my first book about  numbers" )

But after focusing on reading comprehension this summer suddenly his world has expanded to other books on facts and he never goes to the introductory books on numbers and letters anymore

Subtly he is developing in other areas too - for instance eye contact is not a problem at all any more

R has perfect eye contact now

Dont get me wrong - he has plenty plenty of challenges - right now a particularly difficult one is the obsession around Wii

But I find its critical to focus on the positive aspects



Papa fix it 

There are many things where R's babylike faith and innocence - touch me deeply

One is his faith that his father can fix anything

DH is an engineer and probably also the smartest person I know - so this confidence is pretty justified

The other day R hurt his hand

Now he is a hypochondriac par exellance -
if you comb his hair wrong he bleats "hair hurts"

I try to tell him what a brave boy he is ( while crossing my fingers behind my back as this is a bald lie)

So he hurt his hand the other day - clearly horribly painful though and I found that just his dad telling him that his hand would be okay had the magic effect !!



Trip

We are getting ready for our India  trip 

while I have  been looking forward to meeting my much loved family ...as the time draws near my anxiety over the arduous travel is becoming my predominant

All I am thinking of is R;s food, travel documents etc etc

Then a friend posts an article on Facebook about Business School . In this the author writes


If you treat B-School like an amazing educational experience, chances are you'll get a lot out of it. Just keep your attitude and sense of entitlement in check."
How true this is of life !!

I shift my focus

I shift it the whole purpose of this trip - our wonderful family - and shift attention away from the travel worries

And what a change it is 
 
Because what I  focus on is what grows inside me

My dear friends - its been such and instense three weeks- getting ready for the mother-of-all-trips  and I have really not visited your blogs like I would like to -( Nor are the next three weeks going to be much better . )

I miss you though and I miss knowing what you and your little ones are upto  and am going to catch up as soon as I can




Friday, December 2, 2011

The end of November

Thanksgiving

We have a 4 day break and a very welcome one it is

We have been walking -to-do lists  for  a while and it feels just wonderful  to do nothing for a little bit !

We asked R what he wants to do on Thanksgiving and he says he wants a picnic

OMG it is blissful - even though it is cold

We ask R what he wants to put in the picnic basket and he wants to put Coke and Sprite

And so we do

We do not however realize that he wants to mix his drinks !!

We do Black Friday Shopping on Friday and its a disaster - both DH and I are very grumpy and at one point we are planning to drive to another store and DH just cannot take it any more and he simply drives off..
And I am so glad he does - I hate shopping

R is his version of grumpy which involves incessant whining

He wants to have a "collection " of Wii Games - and while we are fine with buying him the games -we are NOT okay with buying the same game multiple times

But R wants a collection and we do not give in

I think the ideal conditions for us to be happy are as follows

1. to have plenty of time and not feel rushed
2. to be just the three of us or only close friends
3.  to be well fed
4. For R to be happy

I have noticed how much pleasure R's happiness gives to us  - perhaps its true of all kids

SOCIAL SKILLS 

DH and I are definitely going to gird our loins and learn about teaching social skills and put a plan in place for summer

When our friends are over - R just completely ignores the kids and these are VERY nice kids

Sweet and gentle

One of my friends daughters' tells her mother that she does not like to come to our house because she thinks that R does not like her!

This breaks my heart as I really adore her -

Here is she and her little brother - they entertain each other and play in the hammocks and swings that are plentiful in our cabin



Another weekend we have another set of friends and their kids - who are also beyond AWESOME

Tell me have you seen more beautiful kids ?


Again R ignores the amazing kids

While as always being sweet to the adults - here is R nestled to my friend


DH and I sternly remind ourselves that we need to attack social skills next

Especially reading stories of many autistic adults ( who I learn a lot from ) makes me feel guilty.

These adults talk about how they  just wanted to be "left alone" by other children when they were young,.

But they  feel their lack of friends and loneliness as they grow up .

This  is one thing we cannot ignore

( I must admit that the weight of all the things "we cannot ignore" weighs heavily on me some times )

The kids have demanded a classical Indian meal that DH and I make painstakingly

DH is a bit of a food snob and is ALARMED by the plebeian  way in which I am cooking

He grabs the jar from me and tells me to "respect the  saffron"

Not only must I use the right ingredients - apparently its also essential to coddle each ingredient

I leave DH to make out with the spices and do the rest of the things suitable to my "pedestrian abilities  ( grunt work like vaccuming )


The meal is DELICIOUS and the kids beg for seconds ( and everyone complements me on the sparkling house )

So both DH's bourgeoisie skills and my plebeian ones are well appreciated !!

Reading 

I am reading a lot these days

One interesting thing that I noticed was how the experience of a book changes with time.

I re-read Wuthering Heights recently . I used to say it was my favorite book - but I was shocked by how illogical the characters were. I wanted to yell at Heathcliff ( that same person that  17 year old me thought was very romantic )

I think its the same with life .

We can say we will never do this and  we will always do that

But we dont know how we will feel about this or that when we are at that point in time .

A woman once wrote about her mother that her mother used to always say that she will never become shapeless like old people do. When this woman was burying her mother - she noted how her mother had managed to stay shapely. I am alwasy struck by the people who manage to stick to something for their whole life . I feel I keep changing

The other thing I realized is just how much I read . I started to write short posts about books I am reading in a separate blog here 

I noticed that I read more than 10 books in the month of November.

This really has been made possible by Audio books that I listen to while doing chores

I have  the typical poverty of time, but I do  have time while doing other things and also I have little bursts of 10 minutes here and there

I have been thinking also that this approach could apply to Floortime as well

SICKIES 

DH and  I have both had little bouts of sickies.

I am always struck by the kindness of R - he tries to stay close to the one who is not feeling well

Last night when DH was not feeling well, R stayed snuggled up to DH all evening ( his usual place is to stay stuck to me )


His sweetness and goodness make my heart constrict sometime

This month's Nature magazine is devoted to Autism - its super expensive but I was lucky enough to have a friend who lend me her copy.

i will summarize the many good articles in that magazine - so you can read them too

(One of the articles talk about  prenatal screening for autism .This breaks my heart - it really does. But let me not dwell on that here )

As I peel a reluctant R from DH's arms to get him ready for bed I tell DH that we really won the kid lottery.

We really did, says DH

Floortime Lite Mama

On my life as the mother of an adorable 5 year old with Autism and Apraxia