Many Hats Mommy

live the Power of One

The Little Things Add Up

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“Baseball team!” my son yelled. “You need to get down here RIGHT NOW!” He looked up into the tree at his imaginary team. “You’re late for the game! COME DOWN NOW!”

I almost fell off the bench.

Why? Because it wasn’t Meatball, my three year old Drama King, who was yelling. It was Dr. J. My serious, you-can’t-pretend-that, Aspie Dr. J. was looking up into a tree and yelling at a pretend baseball team! I was in shock.

There’s a story in Wit & Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids that talks about the first two years of autism being the hardest. I think there’s something to that. Yes, I know adolescence is probably going to send me reeling, but until then, I think the first two years are indeed the hardest. You’re trying to figure out what in the world is going on with your child. Are you crazy? Is (s)he crazy? Maybe everyone else is crazy.

During the first two years you’re desperately searching for the right treatment or therapy that will get you a moment’s peace and a bit of progress. You hide in the bathroom wishing your child would stop flailing on the floor. You cry hourly as she unknowingly destroy things. You just want your son to let you hug him.

And then you start to find the things that make a difference. ABA therapy, dietary intervention, speech therapy, social skills practice, or whatever else is the key to connecting to your child’s brain. Slowly your child accepts a new food. (Happy dance!) What was that? He looked at you and used a full sentence! (WOOHOO!) One day your child smiles at you unprompted. (I think I hear angels singing!)

And in the midst of this slow progress, as the days turn into weeks and slip into months, you don’t realize where you are. The reduction of tantrums over time allows breath again. Your family falls into a new rhythm. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s greatly improved.

The little things have added up to a big difference. But sometimes you forget. Progress is still progress. A new food is still a reason to rejoice, even though your child’s diet is So Much More Diverse now. Conversation with a stranger is still a minor miracle. An umprompted, “I love you, too.” is still a sweet victory to be savored.

So please excuse me a minute as I revel in my son’s imagination. Yes, the other day he fell apart because his brother pretended orange construction cones were acorns. Yes, we have a long way to go.

But for those few moments, he was yelling at someone who wasn’t there, and what he was saying was not from a movie! That may seem like a little thing, but it’s still a big victory at our house.

Why not take a moment to share your own “little thing.”

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Author: Jenny Herman

Jenny Herman is not anyone special or a hero. She's just a working special needs homeschool mom who uses the Power of One to "just keep swimming". Visit her blog jennyherman.com to learn more.

8 thoughts on “The Little Things Add Up

  1. Yesterday James, our turning-9-yr-old Aspie who seriously ‘lacks empathy’ was asked whether he wanted to go somewhere with Dad or play next door at his friend’s house. He wanted to play next door with his brother, but he teared up and said, “Dad I’m worried about how that will make you feel.” EMPATHY!

  2. I am glad you shared too, Kimberly. Very touching what James said. Glad for his victory. I am Dr. J’s Nana. I can appreciate.

  3. Celebrating a wonderful success here! My 3 year old son has a great deal of difficulty with speech, and has not spoken, with clarity, beyond single, one syllable words. But just the other day, he spoke the most beautiful 3 little words any Momma can hear….He said ‘I Looove Yooooooouu!’ Again and again he sang those sweet words to me…. my heart swelled, tears flowed and the lump in my throat nearly caused me to suffocate.
    Just 3 simple words, that are said everyday and so easily taken for granted. But, never again by me! I’ll savor them each and every single time they’re uttered! Just another lesson this little angel has taught me. He is an amazing teacher!!

  4. U know,u are soooo right! About the two yr thing, about the questions,about the crying in the bathroom….Im sittin in my son’s schoolyard right now watchin him on the playground.We do this everyday afterschool-let him play 15-30 min b4 we go home.We’ve had our “omg he is going up to other kids & asking to join in” moments. Infact he is doin it right now. Lol When it doesnt last long enough & I get dissapointed, I have to remind myself- hey,wait a sec.This kid couldnt do this 2yrs ago. He couldnt ask what they were playing & can he play too?!!! He couldnt even say Hi,my name is…. So then I start to remember just how far this kid’s come.Just how many obstacles he has overcome,goals he’s acheived,miracles made…I then I cry. But this time-its tears of joy.Uncontrollable tears u never thought u’d ever experience. Those at the beginning NEED us at the other end-to share our journeys bc it is SO SO HARD during that difficult time to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know for me,it’s def the ONE thing that I clung to during the dark dark days when both of us were crying tears of pain. Its WHAT GAVE ME HOPE. And the saying goes: “When u r at the end of your rope &feel u cant hang on any longer, tie a huge knot and hang on tight cause HOPE will carry u the rest of the way.”
    So here’s one more (and I can proudly say I have sooo many to choose from now): My son has had 2 spelling tests so far now in first grade. He got 100% on both. He’s mastered spelling a total of 15 words so far. This boy couldnt SAY these words 2.5 yrs ago&he couldnt SAY a thing 3.5yrs ago! Oh one more(hehe lol)! He finally mastered the monkey bars!The big ones!

    • Luv My Boys, I am so very glad you stopped by! You know, I never thought of it, that new-to-autism parents need to see that success will come. That’s a great thought!

      I’m so glad you’ve had these great moments. Kudos on the spelling accomplishments! I look forward to the day when my little man will work on monkey bars. Good job to your son, and good job to you! 🙂

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