Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Good, not the Bad

No therapies today. Nikko had chocolate milk for breakfast, but I also attempted to make him half a peanut butter and banana sandwich, like his dad eats. I cut off the crusts and sliced 4 bite-size rectangles for him. I saw that he nibbled on two of them but didn't finish any. After breakfast was our regular round of diaper changes and play time in front of Play With Me Sesame on TV. Nikko came up to me later and dragged me to the nursery to open the rubbermaid that had the brick blocks inside. They have been at the edge of the crib for a few weeks and I wondered when Nikko would notice them and want to play with them. My living room has been block-free for almost a month. No longer. Ronin and Nikko had to duke it out a few times because Ronin wanted to walk on top of the pathway that Nikko had built, and play cars on top of it, and wreck it as well. I threatened to clean up everything, but I figured as long as they weren't hitting each other I should let them figure it out. Nikko started pushing Ronin off his brick path, so I had to intervene on Ronin's behalf. No pushing. Then I'd scoop Ronin away and try to divert him. Didn't always work. Denis took the boys outside after dinner, while he finished mowing and cleaning up the yard. I think they both enjoyed being outside because they hadn't gone out all day. I put sleeves on them both and sprayed their legs with bug spray before releasing them. It was Nikko who was watching Denis outside the window, who ran up to me and dragged me to the door so he could go out. I told him we'd put on his shoes (really his Crocs) and he got excited about it.

I took a shower this evening and while I was blow drying my hair I thought about Nikko's preschool. I really hope being in a structured environment will make some positive changes in him. My brother Fran asked me yesterday, "So is he getting better?" I stopped to think about that question before answering it. Lately I hadn't seen much progress, but if Shelly or Gloria were standing there they'd remind me that Nikko has improved a lot since they first started working with him over a year ago. I was able to answer Fran with "A little. He's making improvements." But as I stood in the bathroom tonight I wondered aloud about Early Intervention. Did it really help him/is it helping him? I certainly think so. I think had we not gone through Early Intervention, Nikko's life right now would be totally different and I think I would be in way worse shape. Ironically, after the shower I went online to check the forum boards on, which I subscribe to, and one of the autism posts said to take a moment to list any accomplishments/improvements your child has made recently. I read lots of moms' posts and envied the ones that had their 3 year old saying sentences, or any kid that could talk. It made me stop and think about the positive things about Nikko right now. It's so hard not to focus on the "bad" things (eating only bread and butter, wanting fruit snacks all the time), but Nikko has improved greatly over the course of a year:

Improved eye contact overall.
Jargons and babbles when he's happy or content.
Smiles and laughs.
Sleeps 10 hours a night.
Stays in his room overnight and doesn't try to escape.
Has had a dry diaper maybe 3 out of 4 times I've changed him in the a.m. (should I try sitting him on the potty?)
Will settle down and let me change his diaper laying down/ doesn't refuse so that I have to change him standing up (a real pain in the butt, no pun intended!).
Can sign 3 things, mostly upon request but definitely if he is highly motivated: EAT, MORE, PLEASE.
Can jump off the ground using two feet.
Can complete some puzzles if they interest him.
Shows curiosity for the novel.
Likes to turn pages in some books.
Improved fine motor skills, and tried using kid scissors recently.
Improved self-awareness, loves to look at himself in the mirror.
Beginning to imitate people doing actions he sees on TV (Karla from Hi-5, Rachel from Signing Time).
Can give High Fives.
Recognizes familiar songs and can anticipate the next action/word of a familiar song.
Drags me to get him want he wants (at least he can communicate a want this way).
Grabs my hand to point at something (can see what he wants, but doesn't point himself).
Expresses joy and doesn't always try to squirm away from my hugs and affection.
Tolerates his brother and doesn't portray aggression toward him unless Ronin instigates it.
Tolerates his sister, may even pat her on the head while he zooms past her during a living room crashing phase.

So that's my brag list right now, and probably a lot of little things I haven't noted. There are gains, and the therapists don't fail to point these out to me.

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