Friday, March 25, 2011

He says, "I love you"

I am guilty of taking things for granted. The worst part of it is that it took me hearing another parent mention she is waiting to hear her daughter say "I love you" when it hit me. For those who don't know this, emotions are not usually expressed by persons who are autistic. Most children learn emotions through pictures on paper. This is not instinct to them. They are unable to interpret facial expressions or feelings, etc.

I can remember when Puppy was 4 years old, we would go everywhere together and I'd have him in his car seat as we rode around. He was non-verbal then. I would look at him through the rear view mirror and say to him, "I love you." I did this several times everyday because in my mind I wanted him to know that he was with me because I wanted him to be, I made a decision to bring him home with me, and he was loved.

During this period, I was still unaware that Puppy was autistic, and I was just trying to get him to speak, to repeat words. Well, my silly act of trying to make him talk by repeating "I love you" finally paid off.

Today, Puppy tells me and I tell him how much we love each other. We've been doing it back and forth for years that I had forgotten how important those three little words really are. I can't imagine those words not being a part of our lives. It was and still is what keeps us bonding with each other.

In an earlier post I told about how I received my first hug from Puppy. I report that this has not happened again. I cherish that one hug. It was honest and I felt it came from his heart. But I am also certain that we will share many more hugs in the years to come. I'm not sad about it, I wait for it with anticipation. Why? Because Puppy loves me...and I love him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm Still Here

I know it's been a while since I have posted anything, and I apologize. I'm not really sure why. It's not like there isn't anytime to write. There's plenty of time. Sure, most of our days have been repeats of the others, nothing exciting happening these days. I've already posted a few times about how wonderful Puppy is doing, and I didn't want to take the chance of losing a follower for posting one more 'broken record' story. But I suppose that I can write a little about what Puppy does so as to keep my faithful followers from straying.

My Puppy is so cute some days. And although he's a cute kid, I mean it as in he's funny. When we wakes up in the morning, he has a routine (which is his life, a routine). He stretches in bed and depending on the time, a) if it's early, he will dress himself for school. Then, he will speed-dial my sister and give her a wake-up call. and b) If he's running late, I hand him the phone to make his call before he gets dressed. He seems to need that little pep-talk to get him going, even if he's ready. But that isn't the cute part yet.

Puppy still takes the time to ask me every morning, "What did you write to teacher?" He wants to make sure I don't write about anything negative, or some story that may give his teacher reason to have him turn over his wallet to her for the day. His wallet still remains his most valuable possession in the whole wide world. Of course I follow this with, "Tell me, how did you behave?" He says, "I behave really good many days." So I remind him that then I don't have any bad news for his teacher. If nothing else, I think I'm making him curious enough so he wants to learn to read my comments in our communication book himself. He's cute, and so funny.

Well, I'll think of something else and get back to you all, really soon. Promise.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And then it happened...

It had been a night just like most other nights. Puppy and I come home, check the fridge for something to eat. We eat supper, then do homework or watch a little T.V. and he heads off to take his shower before bedtime. But something different happened today.

Look in the fridge, check; sit down to eat together, check; make small conversation, check; clean up after supper, check, and so on.

After a few minutes, Puppy then comes up to me and says, "Mom, I'm behaving so good today?" I answered, "Of course you are." And then it happened -- My son leaned into me, put his arms around me, and held me tight for what was maybe three seconds! He stands back up and gives me a big grin.

There it son's FIRST HUG! Never before had I received a hug from my son. Even when he's coached for one, his arms don't come up to embrace, he just leans in and I do the hugging. I always hoped he would eventually just learn to mimic when the time was right. Oh, the praise that he received and the joy I expressed made him bring his hands up to his chest and his fingers moved up and down, back and forth against his thumbs, as if to remove dirt or crumbs from them. This is his way of showing excitement, similar to hand flapping.

Wow! I'm still so moved by it. Some might say they have seen him hug, but no...this was HIS hug. It wasn't coached, asked for, or initiated by me. It was all him.

I know, I'm babbling now, but no one can imagine how thrilled I am this evening. It gave me a natural high for at least an hour. But re-living the moment will be with me forever.

My son is 12 years old and is a high-functioning autistic. Emotions are difficult for him to understand. We have managed to teach him the basics like happy and sad, but the others, are not so easy. But he has come a long way. Today was proof of this.

After you read this, if you have a child...give him or them the biggest hug ever.