Sunday, May 1, 2011

Independence Bound

Here is the boy, serving himself up a delicious plate of Spicy Taco Meat (aka ground turkey with Taco Seasoning).  He is starting to show me signs of growing up, which makes me proud and sad at the same time. Sad that he is becoming less dependent on me and proud that is he coming less dependent on me. A crafty double edged sword that is. It means I'm doing my job, and a very good job at that. It also validates me that I haven't completely ruined the child. 

He's doing more personal grooming without supervision. This is a huge coup. Getting Nathan to bathe without a visit from the Drama Llama is such a boon to me, but with this fantastic addition of him taking the time (and the personal responsibility) of washing himself, dressing himself, brushing his teeth, washing his face and yes, styling his hair is amazing. He's quite the diva in the mirror with his detangle spray and his brush. He spikes it all up in the back and slicks it in the front. I was concerned that he would get picked on because his hair is a little off kilter (Yeah, this coming from me, the girl with bangs that shot up 18 inches off my head in High School), but there hasn't been any complaints or crying.

He's making stronger wardrobe choices. He'd wait until I had picked out everything for him and brought it to him. He would then jump on the bed and proceed to lose all the clothes and then get severely distracted. With the invention of Mom getting laundry done and keeping it stocked (Lord have Mercy!) Nathan has been able to pick out his whole outfit by himself. He still requires a lot of redirection. (ARE YOU DRESSED YET!?!) but at least he's not stymied by my lackluster domestic skills.

He's voicing when things bother him. My mother would say to us when we used to aggravate her that she would sell us to the gypsies. (Most kids these days don't know what gypsies are)  I, of course, used this with Nathan,'s something I grew up with and we've joked like that before. A few weeks ago he told me that it made him uncomfortable when I said that and asked me nicely to not say it anymore. For that kind of maturity and kindness I would have bought that kid the Space Shuttle.

Therapy is still therapy. Most days he hates being there because there is lots of talking involved. Once we get past the talking he has so much fun, but he always remembers the not fun part. He likes to blame his faults on his Asperger's like, "Mom, I forget things because of my Asperger's." or "I didn't do my homework because of my Asperger's" But, I gently remind him that he is not limited by his Aspieness and that he has to work a little harder than others to achieve goals. 

One is practicing. Which he doesn't like to do if it is practicing something he's not interested in. Like the recorder. He got sassy a few weeks back at his music teacher and I made him apologize.

 He whined, "MAAAAAAAAAWMMMMMM! I HAAAAAAAAATE the recorderrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"
 I said, "Now Nate, we don't use the word hate in our house."
 He said, "Okay, I REALLY DISLIKE the recorder."
 I said, "I know it's tough, but I want you to practice it like you practice anything else."
 He said, "Mom, it's so hard! I can't get my fingers to do what my brain tells them to do!"
 I chucked to myself. I then said, "If you keep working at it, then your brain will know that pattern that it needs to tell your fingers what to do. If you give up on the first try, how can you expect your brain to know what to do?"
His eyes lit up and he said, "MOM! THAT is AWESOME!"

And there he is, rocking that recorder. Homework and practicing things at home has always been thorny. When he gets home, he's so tired of using his frontal lobes that it's hard to get him to fire them up again. Yet, somehow he managed to scrape a little energy left and practiced a bit here. 

I have been away from here for a while and I have been knee deep in a bunch of different things! School, work, plays, Nathan, life, etc. It all keeps me busy, but truly, I am taking care of myself. I promise that I am doing very good self care. Nathan and I are fed, happy and healthy. If we aren't, then believe me, we both get off the ride and take a breather.

He's happy to be here. We moved 1 year ago this week. He said, "Mom, I like where we live now. I didn't like my old school or our old house. I like it much better here." He's well adjusted, more outgoing, more talkative. I didn't know how or if he would register the change, but he has and I know now I made the right decision. We are both happier here. I think that has attributed to the both of us making such big strides in our lives. And that is what matters. 

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