Thursday, July 8, 2010

Growing Up

Today I had a quick glance over my shoulder at the strides Bob has taken over the last 12 months.
As a rule I try not to look too far forwards, or too far back, as it only tends to result in fear and sorrow

But this was a happy exception to my rule.

This occasion was prompted by Bob's recent, ridiculously gorgeous, school photo (I won't even pretend to be modest here), which I put beside a family picture taken at his big sister's communion last year.

The chubby faced baby being strong-armed into sitting still for half a second 12 short months ago, is now a proper slugs and snails and puppy dogs' tails little boy.
His face is narrower, he is a good deal taller and no-one had to manacle him in a headlock to snap his portrait.

Now that Bob has acquired the sage wisdom of a 6 year old, he can boast several new strings to his uniquely autie bow;

He is toilet trained.
Those four small words belie the two years of sheer torture it took us to get there. 
And now that we're finally here, I really, really don't want to look back.
So lets move on.

He is having make-believe conversations on the phone.
It's mostly 'Bob The Builder' related echolalia, but he's very happy to include us in his games.
This is huge for an autie kid.

He learned to google his favourite cartoons on YouTube, often in French and Spanish (which we find wryly comical, given that he still hasn't mastered English), and can navigate his way around a laptop with professional ease.
Just like his mother...
(who thinks there's nothing wrong with parchment and carrier pigeons).

He is copying dances from cBeebies , and is learning to say "hello" and shake peoples' hands when he meets them.

He is definite in his likes and dislikes, and has no trouble saying a loud and clear "NO" when the item on offer fails to meet his precise specifications, kinda  like a mini Man From Delmonte.

He can usually go to sleep without an adult lying beside him.

He understands that sometimes he has to complete something he perceives as unpleasant (like homework, or hand-washing) to earn a reward.

When he's playing with his toy Iggle Piggle and Upsey Daisy (from 'In The Night Garden' for those of you under 30 or over 50), he makes them give each other "star hugs".

He can read simple sentences and add numbers up to five.

He wasn't doing any of these things one year ago.

Living in anything but the present can be a dangerous occupation for an autie parent but, now and again, it is surprisingly sweet to indulge in a little retrospection.

I'm not trying to give the impression that Bob is anything other than a fabulously nutty, clever little dynamo who considers clothes little more than a nuisance, and sitting still as an utter waste of time.
He was, is and always will be a sailor on the good ship Autism, but how he is learning to adapt to survive in a world he is overwhelmed by, is as close we can get to the miraculous.


  1. Jean, congratulations on your massive achievements, I was nodding along at every single milestone, at 7, my little one is still working towards some of those goals and every single one is a such a boost.
    I agree about not looking forward too much, lovely post.

  2. Actually welled up at this one Jean. He is such a gorgeous boy and your endless efforts are paying off. Every time I see him he has something new to show. The hugs and nudity remain and frankly he is the better for them. I know some people (cough-husband-cough)who would like to be free to do the very same.

  3. That's amazing. He is obviously a very smart little boy. Well done.

  4. It's so nice to hear how well he's doing!
    My almost-3-yr-old has just been diagnosed, so really enjoying reading your blog and insight into the journey you're both on.

  5. @ Brigid, his progress sometimes takes me by surprise...everything is so gradual that sometimes I almost miss it
    @ Alison, what a surprise that you're tearful...I would be too if my husband insisted on going commando at a moments notice
    @Eithne, thanks doll!
    @ Marilyn, like you, I love to read about the progress kids older than my fella are making. It gives me great hope

  6. I'm so proud to know you and Bob, and it doesn't surprise me one little bit that he's turning into such a wonderful young man! He didn't lick his fabulousness off a stone missus xx

  7. Great progress Jean :D Any chance of a peek at the photo? We'd all love to admire it xx

  8. WOW, how great to take a peek back and see all these positive changes. I am beaming here so you must be just about to burst with pride, and rightly so. I know all the hard work that goes into helping Bob achieve these things so well done everyone in your house :D Jen

  9. fab Fab FAB!

    Go Sir Bob!

    It is only as we look back that we see the improvements. They happen so minutely. And isn't blogging a great way to capture and record all this?? I find it extremely helpful.

    So a big cuddly well done to Sir Bob...and his fabby-dabby mum and dad xxx Jazzy

  10. @ Taz, is "fabulousness" a real word??? I don't care. I am going to use it often.
    @ Blue Sky, sadly I am beyond repair when it comes to computers, scanning, techi will have to accept my entirely objective (*cough*) opinion that Bob is only feckin gorgeous
    @ Jen, I know you get it
    @ Jazzy, Hugs passed on with pleasure

  11. That's wonderful Jean! He sounds like he's really growing up. I hope that soon you'll be able to look into the future with more hope than fear.It sounds like you're well on the way. Also, I'm recognising a lot of the things my boy used to do there - the phone conversations with tv characters, finding the teletubbies on youtube in Roumanian and German! But he's eight now so he doesn't do that anymore, he's moved on - something I didn't see so clearly until I read your post. So thank you!

  12. @ sandrine, lovely to hear from you. Your little fella sounds like a dote xxx

  13. Lovely blog You are so proud of Bob as you have every right to be and you should be proud of yourself for being such a fabulous mum and bringing him on so much xx

  14. Loads of progress - brillient!

  15. What a fabulous post! I am so impressed with all of his progress. The pretend play and potty training especially. I am very jealous; ready to get rid of diapers!

  16. @ Casdok, it wasn't until I wrote it down that i realized how far he's come
    @ Mommy, thank has been an arduous journey!