Friday, June 5, 2009


I wonder if Nikko is using food as a power struggle with me. Even on simple mornings like this, he ate one or two bites of banana and refused the rest. He opted to eat dry cereal (multi-grain cheerios and cocoa krispies), chocolate milk and parts of my raisin bagel. Bo came 15 minutes early again, while I was trying to push some lunch on the kiddies. Nikko was picking at some leftover quesadilla. We went to the living room to work and it was a struggle in the beginning with Ronin, but Ronin spent some time looking out the window at cars so there was a little bit of respite. Nikko did all right with the puzzles at first. He helped put Elmo together but wanted to do it his own way. In fact, that was the theme of the DT session. He wanted to fish with the magnetic fish and fishing pole his own way. He wanted to have the tractor piece of the farm puzzle but we knew this already and hid it so he protested. Bo used bubbles today, which Ronin loved. Nikko was ok with bubbles and pursed his lips to the wand as if to blow. We did have many instances, however, of Nikko wanting to escape the corner. Bo took turns with me trying to sit him down, putting books in front of him and enticing him with sorting cups. I switched with Bo, letting her wrangle with him so that he would want to escape her and sit in my lap so we could work on something. Bo has a lot of patience and feels bad when kids cry, including Audrey, who was patiently watching everything. Bo is very good at pretending to play with characters with Nikko. She also supported my fears regarding the mac cheese.

After lunch I had to change diapers and pack the kids into the Pilot. All three fell asleep after ten minutes so I didn't rush to OT until 3ish. Nikko liked the obstacle course, but got involved with some little stacking benches that Shelly used once before as platforms. We had to haul him off and put them away, throwing Nikko in a huge struggling tantrum. We tried to calm him with play doh and he had a moment of peace, but wasn't convinced. Shelly brought out foam soap and a paintbrush but he wouldn't bite. She tried to swing him on the platform, this time not using rotary vestibular movement because she felt it increased his stimming visually, but instead swinging him back and forth. It didn't hold him for long, even with the mirror around. What finally got him back to earth was giving him fruit snacks. He became compliant immediately. I told Shelly today that after last night's tantrum at dinnertime, and feeling emotionally and physically drained from trying to calm him down with words and strokes for minutes at a time, I realized that Nikko wasn't going to immediately get better, turn a corner or improve quickly. I was going to have to learn how to cope with his autism for the rest of his life, and that meant having to be understanding, strong and calm while he tore into tantrums. Shelly reminded me that as he moves forward, he will regress at times and I will have to go back and remember how to help him through those times of regression. I have seen his stimming/crashing increase steadily over the past two weeks and it scares me that it's getting worse. Concurrently, he is starting to shake his head NO when he doesn't want something, is clarifying his wants when he signs More and is beginning to explore his environments in more productive ways. I felt a little depressed after coming to these conclusions, but I know that Nikko won't be tantruming and screaming and wanting fruit snacks forever.

We all stayed in the backyard when we came home, and I put the kiddies in the stroller (Audrey in the bjorn) and we went for a walk around a few blocks. The boys got dirty when we came back by going down the slide and running around all sweaty. This dirtiness was repeated later when Denis came home from work and took the boys outside while he worked out. They raked at the dirt on the driveway and were just nice and dirty coming inside. Boys.

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