Monday, May 3, 2010


During breakfast today, I stood by the dishwasher reading the newspaper when Nikko walked right up to me. I looked down at him looking up and I said, "What does Nikko want?"
"Cheerios?" he asked.
"Oh, you mean Chocolate Cheerios please?"
"Choc Cheerios? Please?"
"Sure thing!" and I gave him a handful of this new flavor of Cheerios cereal which I really like, by the way. I realized, minutes later, that this simple exchange of Nikko requesting something verbally should be seen as PROGRESS. It wasn't the first time it happened, but this was the first time I truly noticed that Nikko asked for something without repeating the choice I gave him. I asked him what he wanted, but didn't give him a verbal prompt of Cheerios. He said it on his own. And for a few days I've asked him what he wanted and he'd try to tell me something but it came out in jibberish because he either didn't know the word or was trying to pull the word from the deep corners of his memory. I was just thinking yesterday that Nikko does a lot of repeating. It's the way he is learning how to speak and how to form words. Is it officially echolalia? I don't think so, because if I offer him something he really wants vs. something he doesn't, he will repeat what he wants. For example, if I say, "Do you want vitamins or cheese slices?" Nikko will say, "Vitamins!" Later in the afternoon, we were in the living room and Nikko was in a good mood, putting his face directly into mine. I'd say, "Nikko, say Hello Mommy! Hello, Mommy! Hello, Mommy!" And he repeated, "Hello Mommy!" I pointed to Ronin and said to Nikko, "Hello, Ronin!" and Nikko repeated it. I pointed to Audrey and said to Nikko, "Hello, Audrey!" and Nikko repeated it. This only worked twice around for the kids, because when I pointed back to myself with a hello mommy, Nikko started looking beyond me so I knew I lost his focus and had to let him go. Darn it, it felt so cool to have Nikko's attention and focus, to have him engaged in our verbal activity for less than a minute, but when he checked out mentally I knew that if I forced him to say whatever I said to him, he'd start to whine and pull away, not wanting to engage.

I gave the boys haircuts today. I set them up in front of the laptop in the kitchen and put on Disney's Pixar Mater Shorts like Tokyo Mater and Rescue Mater (based on the Disney movie Cars characters) that the kids could watch on Youtube. I had Audrey down for a nap because it would be chaotic to have her on the loose while cut hair was all over the floor in piles. It was right before lunch and Ronin started whining for a lollipop, which I've given them during haircuts in the past. I told him that we'd eat lunch right after the haircut, and for once I didn't give them any oral reinforcers like lollipops or cookies. Nikko didn't complain at first and was satisfied with the laptop, but toward the end he wasn't thrilled with me buzzing around his ears and the back of his neck. Ronin was worse. He kept whining for lunch, for cookies and lollipops, for the hair in his mouth. "If you don't want hair in your mouth, close your mouth!" I told him. I was irritated with Ronin's whining and told him that he needed to let me finish because he kept stalling me with requests, and if he didn't let me finish then I would let him be ugly. Somehow we got through the haircut, and now I have two little buzz-cut boys. Angels.

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