At school yesterday, Nate did a typical kid thing. His class was on the playground, playing, when the garbage truck pulled up to the school. It’s one of those industrial garbage trucks that picks up the giant metal bins. All the kids–including Nate–ran to the fence to watch. By all reports, Nate was enthralled and, when the garbage truck had done its duty, Nate applauded.
Also at school yesterday, Nate woke up from a great nap. His friends were all pretty much awake and snack time was getting its groove on. So Ms. Christie brought Nate’s snack to his cot — goldfish crackers and grapes — and showed them to him. She said, “Nate. We’re all going to the table to have snack. When you’re ready, you get up and join us, ok?” Right as rain, a few minutes later, Nate got his wits about him, got up from his cot, went to his chair, pulled it out, sat down, and started to snack. He listened! Christie got teary.
We went to Maine for a surprise birthday party (we were part of the surprise) for Nate’s Mam (Grandma). It was her seventieth birthday and we all gathered at a slots casino for the occasion. Nate did great — though he was surrounded by dozens of family members, he had no clue because he kept seeing them at a buffet; he just thought he was dining out with friendly strangers. He even let Great Aunt Brenda take him for a tour of the buffet! Nate worked everybody, too, managing to con folks into getting him three giant chocolate chip cookies — that’s on top of the eight pieces of sesame chicken, bread, and birthday cake that he ate!
When we left Maine, Nate gave his Mam not one but two kisses on the lips. Pretty sure that’s the best birthday present ever!
Two weeks ago, Nate had therapy with Ms. Susan (speech pathologist) and Ms. Katy (occupational therapist). Ms. Katy is one of Nate’s favorites because she works lots of sensory activities into his session–squishes, jumping on the trampoline, bouncing, etc. It was an 8:30AM session so Katy did extra sensory work with him, about twenty minutes worth. Then we all sat down for a structured activity: play doh. We got out our cutting board (that’s how I keep it off the floor/rug and set a boundary for where the dough should go) and some cutters and started playing. Katy was working on getting Nate to ask for a highly preferred item (the dough) by signing “My Turn/I Want” and pointing at the dough. She told Nate it was her turn to play with the dough, took it from Nate, and held it in the air. He wanted it back so Katy said, “Nate, say, ‘I want play doh!” NATE SAID IT. I. Ant. Aydoh! Katy turned white and threw the dough as fast as she could at Nate. Susan fell over. We all got teary. And, just as quickly as speech arrived, it departed. But then it showed up again on Monday! Driving home from Maine (an 8 hour drive), Nate took an awesome three hour nap. (I ride in the back with Tate to help him during the drive.) When he woke up, I said, “Say, ‘Hi, Dad!” Quick as lightening, we heard, “Hi, Dad!” Then he was done talking – those wee words are the greatest sounds ever!
Nate’s started to watch Sid the Science Kid. One of his therapists noted that a lot of kids on the spectrum like that show because of the 3-D animation (it’s actually made like Avatar; an actor has sensors on his body to create the character, which is later animated). For those of you unfamiliar with this Jim Henson show, every episode features a dance break during the “welcome back to school” song. It’s really catchy and it makes Nate dance. That’s right. Nate dances! Lots of it is bouncing but he has a really mean pirouette — he spots and everything!
After at least eight months of working on Nate’s low muscle tone, Nate is finally able to lie on his belly! When we first started, Nate could hold himself up for five seconds with the motivation of coloring with a real marker. Then he would fall face first into the marker and have a colored face. In the Maine hotel, Nate watched Curious George streamed on my netbook. He decided that the most comfortable way to watch it was on his belly! Who knew the only motivation he needed was his own private tele?
And, on a totally random toddler note, last night Nate insisted on taking six things with him to bed: Hobbes (the original), Hobbes 2.0, his giraffe wubbie, three train tracks linked together, a toddler-sized basketball, and a cup of water. He carried them all as Dad carried him.