As we end Autism Awareness Month, I thought I'd give a little shoutout to how well Bobby is progressing.
This last week in school hasnt been awesome, and he's been adjusting back to life post vacation. But, that being said, it's still a far cry from where he was in September. On Tuesday in gym class, he actually was able to listen and process the directions from the gym teacher and follow the instructions without assistance. This is huge for him; typically, his aide has to give him the directions a time or two and walk him through the activity; sometimes he is able to particiapte, other times not. But this time? It was a go! His aide took 2 videos for me and texted them to me; I cried. It was so amazing to see him doing these 'typical' things, especially knowing how long it has taken to get to this point.
When we were on vacation, he experiented with a variety of new things. His diet is pretty set; he likes what he likes and doesnt like new things. But, we decided that, when we visited restaraunts, we wouldnt back alternatives. He'd have to deal with what was on the menu. And he did really well. Our first meal out, all he ate were french fries and fruit and drank his lemonade. But as vacation progressed, so did his eating. When we were having lasagna with my inlaws, it took a while to get him to eat, but he eventually did, and we praised him for it. That opened up more doors when we were out. We've also been struggling to get him to eat with his fork, versus his hands. It's slow going, but the other night at dinner? Without prompting, he used his fork. I realize, for the average 3 year old (and for Maya, even) this isn't breaking news. But for Bobby? It's huge. It shows such progress for him.
Last night, we had dinner with one of our priests. Halfway through dinner, Maya declares she's done, so we let her wash her hands and go play with her trains. Bobby sat through the entire dinner, ate his food, and when he was finished, waited for dessert (cake) and then ate that. He was at the table, calmly, the entire time.
Today, we went to the farm store for eggs, milk, and maple syrup. The kids were told they could each get a sucker. When we got to the counter, the suckers needed to be weighed so I could pay for them. It took prompting, but Bobby handed over his sucker and because he wanted it back, said "Share? Share?" to the cashier. He did start to cry because she 'took it away' (to weigh it) but when she brought it back, he smiled and thanked her. I apologized for the crying, and the woman was like, "Oh, that's normal." and it struck me that, hey, maybe it is!
Yesterday, we went to Mass and then the monthly Knights of Columbus breakfast; we got home late morning and were walking around the yard, looking at flowers. One of our neighbors (not one with young kids- their kids are actually our age) was out. We see her and her husband in their yard and say hi, but the kids have never spent any real time with them other than social niceties. Bobby runs across the yard to G, gives her a hug, and says "Good morning". Peter told me he's also been saying "Good morning" or "Hello" when he passes people on the street as they walk to the playground. Peter took them before lunch yesterday and they passed a neighbor that we dont know a few blocks up in his yard. Bobby walked up to him and said "Good morning" and then, as they were leaving after some chitchat, Bobby told him "See you later." Again, for a typical 3 year old, this is probably nothing huge. But at 3, Bobby still was having a hard time making eye contact, wouldnt talk even when talked to on a regular basis, and never said hello or goodbye; it was tough with prompting. Now, at 3 and a half, with lots of intervention, he is doing those things. He's had therapy since he was 27 months old; he's now 44 months old. Those 17 months have been huge. Especially when you think that the majority of those therapy hours have been only in the last 7 months (since he turned 3).
He's always been snuggle muffin, but lately he's been telling me, out of the blue, that he loves me. If he gets pissed off about something, he loves to tell you that you are 'stinky'. (And, when you tell him "Mommy's not stinky", he'll break into the most beautiful smile and then remind you that no, you arent stinky... It's adorable.) He understands the potty and has made a huge deal of going (and going again if he feels like he's not done).
At times, he's 9-12 months behind Maya in things, but I wouldnt have him any other way. There are days where I am at the end of my rope and where I literally cannot take anymore. But, he's still perfect. Those issues are mine. I dont know who Bobby would be if he were someone else, and I dont care. I feel so blessed and honored because he is my son and he's the most wonderful little guy I could have asked for, challenges and all.