Sometimes I feel like parenting is like playing a game of chess.
I make my move trying to determine what move my child is going to make next.
Not only that, I try to plan 3 moves ahead.
Not only THAT – I am a mom. So, I worry. It’s in my mom blood. I worry about my move, I worry about my child’s move. Was that the right move? I don’t know. So, I worry, worry, worry.
Sometimes I feel forlorn, and let the perplexed look of worry take over. I lose the good.
So, before we get too far into 2018, I would like to look back at 2017 and highlight the good, the growth and the happiness.
The GOOD in 2017
January – Declan wrote his name for the first time. He didn’t know it was his name. It was a “picture” his teachers taught him to draw. It was my most favorite picture he had ever drawn!
February – Declan started interacting with other kids. He saw them and became interested in their play, or having them play with him. A HUGE first. Catelyn spoke up about the autism she was experiencing. Even though she is higher functioning, she is still affected by autism and must work very hard. It is very easy to overlook her mountain and very easy to label Catelyn as “difficult.”
March – I was able to see and highlight the good in other kids. Having seen kids interact with Declan in a frustrated or mean way, previously, I was surprised and humbled by 2 kids at a playground that included Declan in their bottle flip game, found here: Being Wrong Never Felt so Good
April – The month of autism awareness and inclusion. Those boys at the playground really demonstrated that inclusion I so desperately want for Catelyn and Declan. Autism awareness became more pronounced in the media as the character Julia, a muppet with autism, was added to Sesame Street and Billy Cranston, a Power Ranger with autism, were given starring roles.
May – The love of others shone again as Declan’s teacher had her son dress as Declan’s favorite superhero. Declan got to meet his beloved Spiderman at his preschool. We celebrated the repetitive behaviors of autism in May with Declan’s love for Spiderman and Spiderman Declan’s son.
June – POTTY TRAINED! What could be cooler than that?!? A struggle we had battled for years had come to a close. Just shy of 6 years old, Declan decided he no longer wanted to wear diapers. Woohoo!!!!!!
July – Declan had his first wiggly tooth. What was remarkable about that? Nothing. And that is what made it so remarkable. For the first time something normal was happening – we didn’t need to call anyone or have a meeting about it. It was JUST a wiggly tooth!
August – As normal as the wiggly tooth was, it was lost during an autism meltdown. August is a hard month as Declan is between school sessions. And during another meltdown the tooth was lost. Was it swallowed? Spat out? We will never know. That’s okay. The tooth is just a reminder of the complexity of autism.
September – As I sat in nervous apprehension, I watched the kids go back to school. New teachers, new year – and things went WELL!
October – After the honeymoon period, the dust settled. Cate started with a rough patch, but then found some great friends and marked that as her favorite thing for the year – “having great friends who like me.”
And, for the first time, Declan wanted to PLAY SOCCER! So, we found High-5 soccer for him to participate in, where he had a BLAST!
November – This one is for me. I came out of my reactive pose. Standing crouched, braced – ready to respond – I stood up and smiled. Everything was going okay. In meetings, I was informed of how well Declan was doing. When the report cards came home and Declan’s progress in his IEP was detailed I saw that he had to be removed from the classroom 19 times. Again, I was reminded that the school was focusing on what he could do in our meetings, they were supporting him when he needed it and not complaining about those 19 times. Another blessing.
December – Declan made The 100’s Club! Declan learning to count to 100 was pretty remarkable – for me – as it hit on another thing I wasn’t sure he was going to be able to do.
There are some rough days and rough patches, but finding the good and highlighting the successes really helps me smile. Here is to a great 2018!