Whenever I’ve posted as I did Sunday—that is, when I’ve complained—I’ve wanted achieve the blogosphere equivalent of a rebound. I’ve wanted, at least for my poor readers’ sake, to enumerate what’s going well, even if Martin’s progress is scant. Because, really, who will keep reading when I spew self-pity?
And so it is this evening: time to share some highlights.
• He sleeps. We’ve had more than three weeks’ of uninterrupted nights. At 7:30 pm, Martin takes his final pills of the day, brushes his teeth (I assist), and reads a book with me. Then I deposit him in his bed, kiss him, declare my love, remind him to “sleep until morning,” leave the bedside light burning, exit, and expect not to see him again until 7:00 am, give or take. The reminder to sleep until morning is probably more superstition than effective guidance, but why mess with a working formula?
• He tells me when it’s time to go. I can trust Martin to alert me when he requires a bathroom visit. True, he often gives me only 12 seconds’ notice, while simultaneously doing a jiggly dance and yelling, “I need potty! I need potty!” Nevertheless, I no longer have to drag him into every restroom we pass, which I used to do fear that he wouldn’t tell me if he actually had to go. I cannot recall his last daytime potty accident.
• He interacts. We’re on vacation, and one of Martin’s neurotypical cousins, who is just three months younger than he, has joined us. They’ve been playing together. The cousin brings more focus and determination to the effort; she’ll turn to an adult and ask, “Why does Martin say ‘no’ so much?”, or, “Why doesn’t Martin want to do this?” But Martin participates, too. He chases his cousin and waits for her to chase him, and he drifts into her vicinity to check out what she’s up to. Eventually most of their play comes to resemble physical comedy. That’s what three- and four-year-olds do, right?
• He checks my face. I credit our RDI work for this. When Martin and I are reading together, he looks to me for a cue of when he can turn the page. When Martin is tempted to enter unknown territory (to venture behind potted plants at the airport, for example, or to go upstairs in the vacation home we’ve rented), he seeks visual acknowledgment of whether the idea is a good one. (When I shake my head no, he ignores me and enters the unknown territory anyway. Again, that’s what three- and four-year-olds do, right?)
There you have it, poor readers. Four things that are going well.
And do you know, poor readers, that I don’t write a post like this only for you?
I write it for me, to remind (to reconvince?) myself that I believe in biomedical treatment for autism, that I have confidence in this path we’ve chosen, and that no matter how long the struggle, I will never give up trying to recover Martin.