Moving Forward.

Here in the northern hemisphere of this cozy little planet, we are well into summer.  Did you know September 22nd is the first day of fall here?  I didn’t realize how close it was.  Everything moves forward, eventually.  Even when we don’t think so.

My son is growing.  He is now 48.5 inches (4 feet and .5 inch!) and 54.5 pounds.  Looking at this chart, my son is the size of the average 9 year old.  This is nothing new.  Since he was less than a year old, he was always really big for his age.

With his growth spurt, has come a bit of – dare I say it – maturity?  Mind you, he is just six years old.  He freaks out at babies, cars, his dad touching certain toys, certain words and sounds (still) and cannot do a lot of things other children mastered at age four.  But regardless of where we are, we are moving forward.

Just a couple nights ago, we successfully went out to dinner for my husband’s birthday!  We chose The Yard House because of its friendly menu, location and all the good things we’d heard.  Okay, one of his ABA tutors accompanied us, that’s true.   Her mere presence alone, kept him in check, but still!  This was a major victory for all of us as a family. Eating out may be one small event we can move from the “isolated from” to “participating in” column.

I’m not talking about McDonald’s here.  This was a real sit-down, menus and waiters/waitresses restaurant!  We arrived at about 5:30 p.m. and left around 7:15.  He made it nearly two hours (!), sitting in a booth, with his iPad, picking through his french fries, refusing to eat any of the delicious looking cheeseburger he ordered.  And, yes, I consider that a victory.

Examining fries…

There were moments that he stood on the booth seat and tried to touch the people in the next booth over (foiled by the tutor); laid down on the booth seat or laid down on the tutor; put his foot up on the table while trying to lay down on the booth seat; kept flicking a metal circular base around the table leg with his foot to hear it let out a metal clanging sound against the concrete floor; letting out a loud “whoop!”; swearing (his new cuss word is “Gordon!” (Thomas the Train)); trying to take down the blinds over the window at our booth seat; and wriggling and squirming in the seat.

Mostly good, under the watchful eye of the tutor who was “reinforcing” with M&Ms…

Really though, these were only fleeting moments (except the wriggling – that was a constant thing) in the total time we were there.  He did not spill any water or drinks.  He ate a few fries and ice cream (at the end).  You could not even really hear his “whoop” or the clanging since it’s such a loud restaurant.  He blended.  No one stared.  No one gave us a dirty look.  He wanted to stay the entire time we were there.  It was heaven.  (And the food was good too!)

On another note, all through the spring and most of this summer, he has had more than “some” accidents, and I needed to prompt him to use the toilet.  He simply did not want to be bothered.  In this last week, I finally told him – “Look, if you pee or poop in your undies, you will be doing the cleaning, changing and washing.  There’s your stuff.”  Either he would recite a math equation at me or cuss, “Gordon!” at me.  Nevertheless, ignoring this backlash, I sat supplies for “accidents” nearby.  Guess what?  He’s asking to use the bathroom.  Ultimately, he was leaning on me.  Once I pulled the crutch away, he decided it was easier to use the toilet than do his own clean up.  (And let me just knock on wood for that one…)

We’ve had a few weekly play dates with the sweetest NT boy from his kindergarten class. (The only one in his class taller than him!)  They’ve been successfully prompted by his ABA tutors and both boys are having fun.  One week, his play date could not come because he had a sinus infection.  I told my son.

Within two days, he said to me, “Mommy, do you like J?”  My son’s way of saying he likes J is to ask me, and get me to ask it back to him.  And so I did.  “Do you like J?”  I asked.  “YES!” he emphatically answered.  My son could not say, “Hey, mom, I miss J.  Why didn’t he come again?  Will J come over to play again?”  So he simply brought him up by saying he liked J.  I reassured my son that J would come again the next week.  He did.  They played.  They were happy.

So, for this summer, we haven’t had a fancy vacation or a camping trip or even left town.  But even without those things, my little boy is growing.  He’s moving forward.  It may not seem like much, but to me?

It’s the world.  And as time passes and seasons change, each one with my little son seems richer in landscape than the last.  It’s exciting.  It’s beautiful and it’s all very, very good.

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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17 Responses to Moving Forward.

  1. Lisa says:

    What a beautiful post. I just love reading about T’s progress!! I love the Yardhouse, too…haven’t been there in years, but it is a great place–and loud. It makes my head hurt sometimes!! I am glad that he blended in so well and you were all able to have a great time. That is a huge milestone!

    Aren’t play dates amazing? I just love how he asked about his friend, J. Tate asks about his friends in a similar fashion. He’ll usually ask me where so-and-so is, and then that prompts a short exchange about his friend.

    I totally relate to the no-big-vacation-haven’t-left-our-neck-of-the-woods summer, but like you, I have seen so many changes in my little man. That, in itself,is indeed, the world.

    • solodialogue says:

      You know it’s pretty good if we blend, right? 😉 That’s partially because it was loud. But the one we went to, was like background loud, not “in-your-face” loud, you know? So, it didn’t bother us, especially Toots.

      Play dates are amazing. I am so grateful for them! I hope we have many more!

      And, yes, even though we don’t leave home, we can still feel like we have the whole world. xo

  2. T is making amazing, wonderful steps forward. You have a LOT to be proud of, Karen. And play dates? You finally did it? Yay!!!!!

    Your trip to the Yardhouse sounds exactly like when we take Little Miss out to eat — iPad, wiggling, french fries and all, LOL. I’m so happy for you and the hubs that you can add this diversion to your repertoire… being able to get out — even if it is just to a restaurant down the street — is a huge break for the entire family.

    Happy weekend, my friend. And keep plugging — you’re doing great!

    • solodialogue says:

      I know, I know! Our play dates were with the one boy he knew from the time he was 2, until just recently when J came over! Now, we’ve had a few play dates and Toots is just as happy as can be (and then, of course, I’m happy to see him happy…)

      No kidding about the getting out of the house, part!! Yay! I hope we can start doing it more often. I’m sure I will feel a lot less “alone”… 😉

      Happy Weekend, Karla!

  3. I love hearing this Karen!
    We tried eating out in a sit down restaurant this summer too, at a local kid friendly chain and there was squirming and climbing and whining and minor destruction and Ipads and food I wouldn’t choose to eat in a million years. And then we left and the boys were all smiles and I can say it felt more satisfying then any fine dining I ever had.
    Yeah for progress!

    • solodialogue says:

      Oh! It all sounded good til you said “food I wouldn’t choose to eat in a million years”!! Keep looking. You’ll find the right combo and then it is such a joy for everyone! And yes, yay for progress! 🙂

  4. Allie says:

    That is so much progress in a little time! Tootles my friend, you truly inspire me and give me so much hope!

    I’m drooling over that hamburger…….

    • solodialogue says:

      Haha! That cheeseburger just looked picture perfect! Can you believe I resisted it?! Hubs downed it though – you know, just to make sure we didn’t waste any food when Toots snubbed it! 😉

  5. Great job to T on all his recent progresses! I was laughing so hard at his new cuss word, Gordon! He sounds like such a little ham. Keep up the good work, Tootles!

    • solodialogue says:

      Haha! He is a ham! Strangest swear words I’ve ever heard, but the context and meaning are clear! It used to be “fire truck”. We’ve now moved on to “Gordon”.

  6. Awesome, I love progress ! so pleased you got to eat out as a family successfully 🙂

  7. Love hearing about T’s progress – and so happy that you’re noticing these things that others might consider no big deal. If we don’t take the time to watch for those little things, we don’t think they’re moving forward when in reality, these kids are working hard and growing every day! Have a lovely weekend – and squeeze that T for me, even if he does yell “Gordon!” when you do! 🙂

  8. Great to read about the birthday dinner! :)))

  9. I’m really pleased you had a great time I think sometimes it’s taking that first step. Now you’ve done it once hopefully you will be able to do it again and each time T will gradually understand a bit more. We still take iPods etc when we go out for my Son. Here’s to many more nice meals out 😃

  10. I’m glad I’ve found a tall Spectrummy boy for Pudding! She does great in restaurants now, but Cubby not so much. Reminds me a lot of Pudding at 3, in fact. 🙂

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