Monday, June 8, 2009

Just a little soapbox standing, here

Our morning was short because we had to leave before lunch to attend a joint graduation party in Hinsdale. It took place in a gymnasium that had seating on an upper level. Tables were set up and it was buffet style. When we arrived and parked down the street, we put the kids in the double stroller and walked up to the school. We passed by a playground and Nikko went ballistic. He wanted to play there so bad and he was tantruming in his seat. I gave him some fruit snacks but he was still angry. He continued his tirade as we walked into the school and I plugged him with more fruit snacks to settle him down. We met up with Denis' parents as well as Amy and Derwin. Lots of people were there, a lot of people with names I've forgotten but faces I knew. We got the edge of a table to sit and we let the boys free to be fed. Ronin sat with my MIL and Nikko hovered around Denis and some egg rolls. After eating I noticed that Nikko was running around the long banquet tables. I saw him pause and run lightly into some lady, but she patted his head and he took off again. It made me a little nervous because there were a lot of people and older kids milling about, but I could see him dart in and out and he was following the length of the tables. I looked away for a few seconds and when I turned back, I couldn't see him darting back and forth anymore. I got up to look for him and didn't see him at all. I walked through a small hallway that had stairs going up to the second level of bleacher seats where a lot of high school kids were sitting, but I went straight to see if he was wandering the hallway. I saw that the front doors were open and I got more nervous. I walked back inside and walked around the tables toward the back kitchen. I still hadn't seen him. Denis looked over at me from the edge of the table and I mouthed that I couldn't find Nikko and it's been a few minutes. I started calling his name and walking toward the hallway again in case he went outside, but I heard Ronin getting upset at the table. I saw him with our friend Dexter and told Ronin to hang tight for a second. My voice was kind of shaky because I was getting frantic that Nikko had not showed up. Then from the loud din of many people talking in a gymnasium I heard Nikko crying. I looked up and saw that he had climbed the stairs to the second level and he was crying because he was alone and didn't know where to go. I bolted toward the doors (I was wearing Audrey in the bjorn through all this; she was just enjoying the ride) and was ready to rush up the stairs when I saw Denis ahead of me in the stairwell looking up at Nikko through some railings, reaching out and Nikko climbing over the bars to safety. I was relieved, but also angry inside that this happened.

The gym was hustling and bustling with church people and strangers alike, but the real danger was that if you didn't keep an eye on Nikko, he could slip out of the room (which he did) and even go right outside and no one would stop him or question a little boy running excitedly outside because other little kids were doing it. He could go running into the street and get hit by a car, or fall down a hole like a window well, or walk somewhere unsteady and get hurt, and he will not be able to tell anyone his name or where his parents are because he has NO WORDS. This is the reality that keeps me from letting Nikko run unsupervised at any event we go to. If the people around him don't know him or know that he has autism, they will think he has the logic to stop before going into the street or know what is right and wrong. He doesn't. I am more comfortable with family members being around Nikko because they are all sensitive to him and his quirks, and everyone seems to look out for him, even inadvertently. Even though everyone on both sides of the families has their own children, when we are at functions together I always see that my brothers and sisters, their kids, and my brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and their kids keep even the slightest eye on Nikko and help him from getting into trouble or danger. I am eternally grateful for that compassion, and I love all you guys for that, I really do!!!!!! For those who think I am being too possessive or dramatic about Nikko's safety and that I should be encouraging his independence, go walk a mile in my shoes. I try to encourage Nikko to be independent and give him opportunities to gain self-confidence in many little ways, and want him to flourish in playgroup and in upcoming preschool, but I am sensitive and aware that he does not process information the same way as a neurotypical child does and do not expect him to pick up everyday social and environmental cues right away. If something tragic were ever to happen to him just because I was feeling too lazy or too tired or too irritated to keep an eye on him at a busy function or unfamiliar place, I would NEVER forgive myself. It just takes one time to lose him. OK, gotta take a deep breath now, pause to get the laundry from the dryer, and calm down again........

I'm back. After the party we took the boys to the playground as promised. They had a wonderful albeit short time. Ronin got down and dirty in the sand and tried to climb on the jungle gym. Nikko ran back and forth between slides but took an interest in a rope ladder. He climbed it by himself very well. He also showed interest in a rope walk. Denis was by his side aiding him, but I could see Nikko's face from far away and he looked absolutely tickled and happy that he was trying something new. He took tentative steps on the rope walk but kept trying it even when other people were tromping on it trying to pass him. There were so many older kids running around, playing some stupid tag game on the jungle gym and making me nervous that they might step on Ronin's fingers or bump him off accidentally. I heard one boy mention to his friends that there were little kids there, so kudos to that kid wherever he is. We left (I had to lure Nikko away with fruit snacks), did a diaper change in the back of the Pilot, and headed home. Luisa and Dennis came by to drop off the swing set destined for the boys, and I am so beholden to them both. We'll have to work out a plan to put it together. I have to print out some reviews so I get an idea how to tackle it. I wonder which box has the directions. Hmmmm. One more thing to note tonight is that we were watching some Hi-5 episodes before dinner and there was a skit with this girl Karla who does exercises to get your body moving. She opened her arms out wide and wrapped them around herself, giving herself a big hug. She did this maybe three times, and I watched Nikko watch Karla. He imitated her by hugging himself, then he opened his arms out wide, then wrapped them around himself again. He wasn't even looking in a mirror. I love that he did that! Tomorrow we have playgroup, so I should get some of our stuff ready or I'll probably have a heart attack getting out the door again.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry we missed seeing you all, and sorry to hear about losing Nikko for a bit. That place was crowded and loud, and very difficult to keep tabs on the kiddies. BTW, I still think you should post this blog to FB. See you next week!