The Ineffable

Sleeplessness visited Martin again last night, the third time in a week. He was up from 1:00 until 4:30 am.

I’m tired.

Yet I’m not freaking out. To the contrary, I sense that Martin is doing well, that he’s back on the upswing.

I “sense” that he’s back on the upswing. That’s my way of saying I can point to nothing major. Martin has not ceased all echolalia, or started maintaining extended eye contact, or become graceful. In some respects, major signs point downward. Sleeping, for example. I can’t pretend that’s going well. Or keeping things out of his mouth. Objects are still finding his way into Martin’s mouth at an alarming rate. Fingers. Shoelaces. Lotion bottles. George the cat’s ears.

On the other hand, dozens of micro-signs point to improvement. I’ve witnessed the following:

•      Martin ran from the parking lot next to our building to his school bus without turning his head from side-to-side. I cannot remember seeing him run an extended distance looking straight ahead.

•      Martin was tired, so I let him ride to the store in his stroller instead of walking. We stopped at the organic restaurant for green juice. Martin climbed purposefully out of the stroller and mounted the stairs to the restaurant without pause. No dawdling, no tripping, no fussing. He looked like a neurotypical preschooler.

•      Adrian has been traveling this week. Out of the blue, not immediately related to any discussion of Adrian, Martin said, “I want Daddy to come home.” He was not repeating. He was expressing a wish about an absent person.

•      Two weeks ago we visited Martin’s friend Walter at his apartment. Martin observed that Walter still sits in a booster chair. Martin, who for months has ignored his own booster chair, has decided to imitate Walter. Now he’s sitting every home meal in the old booster chair. (He also runs and jumps in every available rain puddle. Thanks, Walter.)

•      Martin has taught himself to buckle the T-formation “seat belt” on that booster chair. That’s initiative and manual dexterity.

These types of developments can be easy to miss. Indeed, they’re nearly ineffable. But they add up.

They add up to a sense that I need not freak out.

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