Archive for February, 2011
Today’s gift: M conquered the Monster Jam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He voluntarily dove into the madness headfirst (or should I say headphones first?) and came out on the other side a better boy — older, wiser, stronger, surer.
We prepped, we prepared, we viewed videos, we read stats, we wrote a social story, we rehearsed and finally we discussed. I prayed a lot. M wanted to do this more than almost anything he’s ever wanted.
Dad was M’s protector, his guide on an unknown adventure to a dirty, dusty, loud (really loud) Monstrous World. Yet, despite headphones, double-covered ears, and a sensory seeking body, M was rapt with joy — his face had an expression of pure pleasure.
All the pieces fell into place today for M and the result of this complex alignment was simple: a boy and his Dad had father-and-son fun.
Today’s gift: M was a mentor.
Little (boy) Cousin J has been following M around all weekend. It is adorable. When M jumps, Cousin J jumps. When M drives a car, Cousin J drives a car. When M eats, Cousin J eats. It is a delightful and new experience for us all.
Today, I encouraged M to teach Cousin J how to make siren sounds, how to identify construction vehicles and to share his puppy video. Cousin J observes M with wonder and awe. Because he is almost 4 years younger than M, he doesn’t judge M’s social quirks. Instead, M is the magical all-knowing vehicle expert and Cousins J’s big cousin.
Watching the boys – heads bowed together — looking at a book or listening to the two talk about how the matchbox cars they are driving crash is magic for me. In many ways, M’s social expertise isn’t much more sophisticated than Cousin J’s knowledge. The two are equally innocent and equally tentative with one another. It’s social skills in the slow lane — exactly the right pace for M.
Late today I walked in on the boys watching M’s puppy video — two years ago (maybe even one year ago) M would not have tolerated another child in his space or watching his video. He would have rejected Cousin J’s interest. But today M was unfazed by the attention. He commented and critiqued the video while Cousin J sat at attention soaking it all up and enjoying his big cousin without knowing he was part of something bigger than the two of them — more important than puppies and matchbox cars and crashes.
Today’s gift–M’s independent social milestones during the big family weekend:
1) M decided to “go downstairs” without Mom or Dad by himself.
2) M willingly joined a game with his cousins and then watched The Wizard Of Oz in the kids playroom (and fell asleep) logging several hours of group play and social interactions
3) M is in the mix of dancing and singing and guitar playing and instrument banging with his uncles and cousins. Lots of noise and visual chaos and he’s tolerating it all.
M’s working hard to navigate the social scene here. We are very proud of him!
Today’s gift: M aced Day 1 of our extended family long weekend trip. This means he not only survived but enjoyed 7 cousins, 3 dogs and various aunts/uncles/relatives in a new house. He had some amazing one-on-one moments with his younger boy cousins bonding over cars and trucks; he showed interest in being part of the impromptu playgroup; he used appropriate words and behavior to tell me what he needed.
I’m so pleasantly surprised. We’ve been having hard days (and nights). In fact, this morning was tough for M. But, things turned around and he’s asleep with a smile on his face next to me as I type this post.
Today’s gift: an unexpected generous gesture from a friend.
I had a last minute appointment this morning and a friend offered to watch J and M so I could dash to and from my errand and be home by 9:00am.
Our friend C confirms that it takes a village and he’s an important part of ours. I can’t thank him enough for his help today.
Today’s gift: Pop-pop took M on a special field trip to a local tractor store. I’m still deciding what was more heartwarming — Pop-pop’s intricate planning and execution of their outing or M’s pure pleasure and pride about the special trip.
Pop-pop is one of M’s grandfathers. He is a planner and he likes taking charge. Recently, he’s been seeking special ways to bond with M. He wants some coaching but he also wants to create his own relationship. Because of this, he’s also been a leader in treating M like a big boy and like an independent child. He sees M’s gift and M’s sweetness and it touches him deeply. It’s lovely to watch the two interact. M’s relationship with his grandfather is so very important to me and to my husband — he’s a big influence, a passionate man and in many ways he is a lot like M.
Today Pop-pop drove to our house in his pick-up truck to get M. He did his prep work and knew to present concrete plans to M about the trip. In turn, M responded to Pop-pop’s confidence, love and direction by great listening, good behavior and taking care of himself independently (using the bathroom, eating his lunch). When M returned, he was a different child: no sensory issues, no tics, no behavior issues.
I am so proud of M and of Pop-pop. The two are figuring out their relationship and in turn, M’s navigating the social world in a new way. It is gratifying — and a relief — to watch another family member successfully help and teach M independently of me and my husband.
With each new independent social experience, M’s blossoms open up a bit more. And those blossoms look great when riding on a Kabota.
Today’s gift: helping my extended family.
Today, J and I made meals for my brother-in-law and his wife because they have a new baby. We cooked and cooked and cooked. In total, we made enough food for 8-10 meals (I hope). J was a star in the kitchen — the perfect helper and enthusiastic co-creator.
We made soup and pasta and packed up a care package filled with food and love. When we had twins J and M, we didn’t cook one meal for the first three months. Friends and family regularly donated dinners (and desserts) and we were so grateful — I promised to pay this gesture forward and had the chance today.
It feels so good to help others — a perfect gift on this quiet Sunday.