First day of school CHECK, No screaming tantrums CHECK=Big fat success. Safety vest fits (still on the smallest zipper) and new (hopefully more forgiving) bus driver. Last years’s not so much.
Small things like these make me happy.
Moving right along…….
Back about two years, where Timothy was 3 yrs old. Birthday celebrated by family-balloons and presents he wasn’t interested in, a cake he wouldn’t touch. We sang “Happy birthday” as he screamed and covered his ears and ran away. I tried to hide my sorrow, but boy did this sting. Would he ever enjoy a birthday? Or have a party like other kids? I was determined to make it happen. The screaming fits continued and now we “enjoyed” hitting and kicking alongside them. We were advised to ignore these tantrums (which was totally against our parenting style) from the behaviour therapist. Kinda hard to when your child is screaming in your face lol, never mind in the grocery store cart.
A new tool was introduced to us, a PECS book. (Read picture exchange) Timothy had no language skills at the time. Simple pictures of food and toys were fashioned into a small book which he was to choose and put in our hands. Sounds easy, right? Timothy is stubborn. Like nobody’s business stubborn. We would insist on the PECS book, he would refuse and lie screaming on the floor. At the time, his intake consisted of warm milk, donuts, waffles and pancakes. Sometimes a few french fries or a weiner. He would go days with only eating a few crackers or a donut simply because he did not want to use the new system. We had to back off because of his slight frame and concerns of his fragile nutritional status. Lord, how we tried. I bought pediasure, carnation breakfast drinks, Timothy would not drink them. I worried many days and many nights for months on end. Was I doing the right thing? I worried he would end up in the hospital on a tube feed. His sensory issues were starving him. Yet, he grew. On the lower end of the weight percentile but still considered healthy!
Hard to explain to our other two children at the time who were 9 and 5 respectively, why Timothy didn’t have to eat what they ate. They knew loosely what autism was but far too immature to encompass the whole lot of it. He ate what he ate when he wanted to eat it. We later incorporated more formal meal times.
This was the spring that Skylar got to attend the “every kid counts” Sib Club. Its a one day camp for siblings of special needs children. Basically run by social workers, its a day all about them. To talk about how they feel about things, and really life in general for them at the time. Skylar really enjoyed it.
Often the focus is on Timothy so I began to incorporate date weekend. Once a month Skylar and Casey and I did something alone. Whether it was a movie day or shopping, I made a point to spend time alone with them. Jake and I worked it into the budget. We had to. Its become a tradition that has continued on to this day and the girls really look forward to it. Of the two weekends off shift I have per month, one is theirs and of an activity they choose. Sometimes its just the library and a hot chocolate, but it makes them feel as much a priority as their brother.