Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I sat in the back seat of my car with Elliott this morning as he finished his waffle before school. Although he eats a lot, sometimes he gets silly and nibbles on his food like a tiny mouse, taking long stretches of time to eat a small amount of food. Since I consume entire meals in a matter of minutes, and generally do everything as quickly as I can, it kind of drives me crazy to watch someone eat so slowly. Plus, I didn't want him to miss circle time. So we sat together in the back and he smiled at me because he thought it was funny that I was sitting in the back seat rather than the front like usual. I rubbed his head and he asked me to see "wormy," his imaginary friend (basically, our index fingers). Yesterday and last Friday, he had to get a bunch of blood taken for routine medical exams related to his autism and his low weight. It seems like he is always obligated to do something: speech therapy (at two different locations), occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, assessments, doctor's appointments (psychological, medical, biomedical). He also has school and swim class. He's part of a research study up in Sacramento which requires even more testing. He has to get more blood, urine, and stool taken and examined than any other kid I know. I want him to get better, but I don't want him to feel like he can't simply enjoy his life. Sometimes, it's a tough thing to balance. When he was first diagnosed with autism, when things were really bad, when he was still just barely a toddler, I used to ask him, "Elliott, are you going to be okay?" before I put him down to bed. I never got an an answer of course. He's just begun to learn how to the names of emotions and how to recognize and imitate them. Sitting in the back seat with him, I asked, "Elliott, are you happy?" He said yes, and he smiled to demonstrate that he was happy. I asked, "Are you sad." "No," he replied, shoving a big bite of waffle (finally!) into his mouth. So, for now, I guess I'll do my best and take his word for it.