Saturday, May 29, 2010

May I...

My family has attended the same annual shindig now for times.

In 2007, we had an out of control 3-year-old not yet diagnosed with autism, and a fussy one-year-old. We had already sold our house, but had yet to find a new one, and we left the party early to go look at the place we now call home. We would have left the party early either way, though, because my kids had too many needs to make partying any fun. Our felt frayed as we met up with our real estate agent, but thankfully at least we found our home.

In 2008, we attended with our newly diagnosed 4-year-old and our toddler. They took turns melting down and having potty issues, as both remained in diapers and lacked communication skills. We stayed as long as we could before making our apologies and beating a hasty retreat, but I doubt we lasted more than 90 minutes.

By 2009, we had shocked ourselves half to death by trying and then liking having our son on the gfcf diet, which helped his digestion incredibly and his daily moods considerably, but made parties a challenge. Even though we brought along a bag full of food just for him, Rooster got angry not to have the same thing as everyone else, and he made some enemies of the other kids whose food he tried to grab and who couldn't understand his unusual language. Our daughter, 3, had developed a sudden and acute fear of dogs, and spent the party shrieking at our hosts' loving and wonderful canine. As we fled the party that year, everyone cleared a path, giving wide berth to my screaming and dysregulated offspring.

That brings us to today. The kids ate a huge meal before the party, and packed special gfcf brownies to take along. We talked in advance about the sweet doggie we would see and how we would be nice to her. Once at the party, my son, now 6, played with the other kids without much supervision or intervention, and sat calmly on a blanket listening to the band play. He only said one thing that caused me to flush crimson and do damage control. He also charmed some grownups who hadn't seen him in a long time. My daughter, now 4, chatted up the grownups, amused herself on her own playing with some toys, and never made a peep of pooch protest. Oh, Peaches had a few meltdowns over this and that - lately my NT girl gives me a harder time than her big brother - but nothing epic. Both kids swam with their dad, used the potty when they needed to, and took the news that we needed to head home without much fuss.

It might be snail-paced, hard won progress we make, but we do make progress.


Jeni said...

I had to chuckle as I read this post -mostly because it's a "been there, done that" type of situation ya know!
Thankfully, when we have attended family reunions over the past six years -not an annual event anymore, which saddens me -but anyway, at those, both my little grandkids (both are autistic) had actually done quite well on those occasions. This a.m. though was a bit of a different story as my daughter and I headed off to church with the younger child in tow (older granddaughter was spending the weekend with family friends)and as we started into the sanctuary, Kurtis decided he wasn't happy with something and began to throw a hissy fit before the service even began so my daughter ended up taking him out right away! She sat the service out with him in the church library which does have speakers in there so you can hear, follow the service and all was not a total loss. But what brought this on this morning is a puzzle as he has been doing quite well previously when we would take him to church with us. Oh well, just time to go back to the drawing board there I guess!

redheadmomma said...

That is HUGE progress. And that's quick in my book - think of how many families don't see that kind of progress in YEARS! I am so happy for all of you - YOU have worked so hard to get where you are. And I love that you have this annual party to compare & sure you're not a scrapbooker?

PBear said...

Congrats are definitely in order! The pace IS slow, but at least the progress gets made. :-)

kim mccafferty said...

Despite all the tough times, everything does seem to get a bit easier every year. I love the "repeat situation" where you get to measure progress, that's my favorite!

One Mom said...

Sure, it may be snail-paced...but I think that makes the victories just that much sweeter. I'm glad to hear that your family was able to attend the shindig without too much rigamarole. :)