Friday, August 21, 2009

Rec Plex ball pit

Nikko's been kinda klutzy today. He was running back and forth in the kitchen quite fast and hard, and of course he tripped up and fell head first into the door. There was a little indent near the corner of his eye and I tried the ice pack but was rebuffed immediately. It must have hurt. Nikko was also leaping onto the couch via the square ottoman and scraped his shin. Ow. Ronin had speech today with Pete and he did all right. Ronin's on this Cars kick where he's carrying Lightning McQueen (or "a Queen! a Queen!") and Tow Mater (or "Thow MAYtrrrr!") all over the place. It was hard to get him away from the Cars and focus on something else, but Pete said he was able to work with it. Didn't really look like it to me, but oh well. Nikko kept to himself a lot, so I had to go over to him and give him hugs and see if he was all right by himself. Audrey kept trying to get into Ronin's cars. After therapy, I put Audrey down for a nap and then decided to take the boys outside to play before lunch. Nikko was content to run up and down the driveway at his own pace, but Ronin was putting McQueen into the dirt, raking the dirt with his fingers, and sitting in the dirt which I'd say was borderline mud. It unnerved me that he was getting so dirty. I gotta take a breather about the boys getting dirty, because I let it really upset me. We got inside, I got them lunch, and then really wondered what I could do with the kids in the afternoon. I didn't want to bring them to the grocery, even though we really need to get some stuff. I was wracking my brain trying to think of an enclosed area where there wasn't too much chaos that I could safely watch the kids while they played. Woodfield Mall has a nice kid area but it gets too crowded and chaotic. The Elk Grove Park District had brief toddler hours (10a-2p!). Then I remembered the kid area/ball pit at the Rec Plex in Mount Prospect. That's where we ended up, for $1 per boy. On the website it stated that it was for kids at least 3 yrs and less than 46" tall, so I was prepared to cover the boys' ages because I wanted Ronin to play in the pit. The ball pit was pretty big with other climbing features and a big slide you had to access by climbing up a mesh grid. The boys were content to just be in the pit and it was fun because it was like swimming in water. There was a lady there with two kids, one older boy and the other was a little girl. I was watching the boy and caught him doing a little flap with his hands. The motion I saw reminded me of Nikko and I had a feeling the boy had some development issues. The girl was normal, however. The mom, who sat nearby, asked me how old the boys were. "Nikko is 4 and Ronin is 3," I lied. She looked incredulously at Ronin and remarked how he didn't look very big, while her daughter Helen was 2.5. "Oh, he's had lots of food allergies, you know, and it affected his growth." The conversation turned to Nikko because I told her he was autistic.

"Are you sure?" she asked me.

"Am I sure about what?" I was confused.

"That he's autistic. He's so young, you know."

"Um, yeah, pretty sure. He was diagnosed, by two different hospitals."

She replied, "Maybe it's just a speech delay. You know so many people are mislabelling autism nowadays, but the ones that are in treatment and go on a diet can recover, and it's like 99% of them recover. That's what happened to my son, he had a speech delay and now he's totally recovered. [If he's recovered, then I'm a monkey's uncle. I could tell that there was something not right about him, and I didn't even talk to him.] So that means you're not giving him dairy and wheat?"

I must have looked wary as I said, "No, I haven't altered his diet. Did you do the diet to your son?"

"Oh no, we didn't do that. You know I could give you the name of a friend of mine who is the President of the Autism Illinois group or something like that. She can put you in the right direction and she does the biomedical stuff because she had a child who was autistic..."

And as we kept the conversation going I actually fessed up that the boys' ages were really younger, that Nikko was 3 and Ronin was 2. She looked confused and I told her I was kinda worried that she was one of those moms who would tell me that Ronin can't be here because he's 2, and to get out of the ball pit, and I really just wanted him to stay and play. Liz (that was her name) was a nice lady and eventually wrote down her contact info for me, which I'll email her tomorrow, but after hearing that the president went the biomedical route it made me wary. I still don't know if I want to do that to Nikko. Would altering his diet change his behavior? That's the million dollar question. Liz aside, the boys had a great time in the pit (while Audrey stayed in her car seat, but got fussy toward the end) and I think we'll do this again in the near future. Nikko was very happy sitting among the balls. He didn't want to come out. After the pit, I lured them back to the stroller with the promise of some snack, which I gave to them in the empty food court. We got home, I put Audrey in the kitchen because she fell asleep, and I let the boys run rampant again. I played a tickle game with them on the front lawn, but when Audrey started waking up it was time to go inside.

At bedtime, Denis was reading the prayer book with Nikko in his lap. "Nikko, where's the birthday cake?" Denis asked. And for the first time, Nikko pointed to the cake. We praised him for that, and he smiled like a cat with his milk.

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