Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Charlie!

So Today was Charlie's 3rd Birthday. I wanted him to have an amazing day. Brian took the week before off and Charlie's birthday so we could spend all day as a family and just hang out. The morning was pretty Decent.

Brian and I took Charlie to buy Thomas the train balloons for his party at his school, and then out to lunch. We had a great time, it was fun to hang out with just Charlie and have our attention just on him. Brian took Charlie to school, and I went and picked up his cupcakes.

To say I was excited for Charlie's party in his class room was an understatement. This was something I have been dreaming of doing with Charlie, and it was finally coming true.

When it was snack time we were invited in. Charlie's teachers, Brian, my mom, my dad and I all sang happy birthday to Charlie as he held his fake foam birthday cake. It was great to see his little smile. He then handed a balloon to each of his friends and they all had cupcakes. It was awesome to share this with his teachers. While none of the kids understood what was going on, or why they got balloons it was still wonderful to share it with them.

The rest of Charlie's birthday was touch an go. I picked up Charlie from school, and on the way home he fell asleep. Brian and my father set up Charlie's Birthday present, and when Charlie woke up he was more then happy. Although wasn't happy to leave it shortly after to go to dinner.

Dinner was interesting, and so was everything after that. It was just a very busy day, and a very hard day.

I wish I could sit here and type about how happy I was, and how great of a day it was. But honestly speaking I wasn't. I don't know how to sugar coat my true feelings here. I am lost on what to write for Charlie's Birthday post, so I'm just doing a rather short time line of the day.

Charlie turning 3 is a huge milestone. We have another year under our belt, and our first year of Charlie being officially Diagnosed as High Functioning Autistic behind us.

This past year has been hard. I want to write of fond memories of Charlie's babyhood and "remember when's"... but honestly when I do, they aren't fond. I think of Charlie's babyhood and see how much he missed out. It was like the first year of his life never happened. With Charlie being so sick he never got the chance to enjoy the little things around him, he never got to explore.

But now that he is 3, boy is he making up for lost time!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's time!

It is every parents dream when their child potty learns. It's when the diaper laundry or diaper buying ends, and a chapter of crazy childhood begins. We were told that Charlie wouldn't be able to potty learn until he was at least 4. We have been told that most autistic kids potty learn between 4-5 years old. So we prepared ourselves for the long haul, and told ourselves that it would be a hard road but we will make it.

Last Monday- October 11th 2010- My little boy proclaimed "HELP me!" and when we asked him with what, he ran to the bathroom and said "POOT!" That was *the* first time he used the potty on his own free will. We have tried sitting him on the potty earlier in his life to start the process, but it always failed.

This whole week Charlie has been using the potty more and more. We are so proud of him. He is asking to use the potty, and is now starting to insist that his 1 1/2 year old sister sit on the potty too.

It is SO completely amazing to be starting this journey with Charlie. To be there for him and to support him when he needs it.

This week was a big week for us for another reason. I remember last year when I told Brian that I would give *Anything* to hear Charlie talk. I would do anything to have a conversation with him, and for him to be engaged in our life. Yesterday we went to the pumpkin patch and all day we heard nothing but "Punkin, Punkin" Where ever he saw one it was "Punkin!"So Yesterday after noon we were loading up in the car to go to the park, and after hearing the hundredth time of him proclaiming "punkin!" I said "Charlie! Will you please be quite!! I can not take one more punkin!!"

After I realized what I had said, I just busted out laughing. My husband was standing on the other side of the car and just smiled at me. It was just so funny. I remember a year ago proclaiming I would never tell Charlie to be quite when he started talking, that he could talk all day long, and that I would love every minute of it. And now, a year later I am telling Charlie to be quite!

Charlie turns 3 on Monday, and here he is potty learning and driving me crazy! I absolutely love it!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Art work on my fridge.

As a mom of an High functioning autistic (almost) 3 year old I decided a while ago I would home school Charlie and any siblings he may have because the kids in the public school system are so mean these days. I didn't want Charlie to be held behind, picked on, teased etc., So when Charlie Started his preschool class Sept 8th I was a little anxious for him, and wasn't sure it was the right choice for him. Boy was I wrong!!! I know that when being a mom, following your gut is one of the best things you should do, and you should never ignore it. But I did, and I'm glad. Charlie's been in school for 1 month and LOVES it. In his class there is 5-6 boys (all boy class!) all the same age. There is 1 teacher per child so they are able to give them the help and support they all need. His school is 2 1/2 hours long and by the end you can tell he is exhausted.

My favorite part is the Artwork. My Fridge is COVERED in them!! It brings a little bit of normal into our lives, and shows us how far Charlie really has come. About 6 months ago Charlie couldn't even scribble a line. I am so incredibly proud of Charlie. Here is just some of his art work! (Daddy has some at work, so this isn't all!)

This is a picture of a drawing Charlie did Back in Feb. You can see that he was still stabbing the marker into the paper, and the lines that were drawn had no purpose and generally go from one dot to the next.

This was last week!! Look how far he has come!!I am so proud of him!!

One of Charlie's downfalls is that he has weak hands. Most Autistic Kids do. It's hard for them to do simple things like use scissors. So In class they practice cutting out shapes (with LOTS of teacher help) and gluing them on the paper!!

Charlie has made a couple friends in his class. It is quite cute! He is Friends with two little boys Rocco, and Aiden. The way they play is not the typical child play. Their version of playing is sitting next to each other and looking at books, or cars. Last week Rocco sat next to Charlie and they looked through the musical instrument box. There were small moments of eye contact and they showed each other different things. It was the most brilliant moment. I really did want to cry. Charlie was connecting with someone who understood him. They didn't have to talk or sign for communication. They communicated in their own way.

To be honest at first I was slightly jealous. In that moment I could see the Rocco and Charlie understood each other, and they knew what each other wanted. It was just so peaceful and quite. No one was crying, throwing tantrums, or being mean. They just quietly sat there, next to each other and played. I wanted that connection with Charlie. But as I waited for Charlie to get out of school I thought about ways to get that connection with Charlie, and I realized I can't. As a mom I am always looking for ways to connect with my children, and to be in their world. But sometimes as a mom it's best that I just stay out. Charlie needs his special bonds with certain people. I want him to have that special bond with Rocco, so they can rely on each other when the time comes.

Not being able to understand their world is so hard. There is still so much that I do not understand, and possibly will never understand. I just have to keep reminding myself, that while Charlie and I share a special connection, it's not the same, nor can it be the same as any other connection he makes with people. Each relationship is different, and it needs to be that way. He knows people by their relationships with him. A great example is lately he has been labeling the people in his life. He know's (FINALLY!!!!) I am Mama, Brian is Daddy, Amelia is Meme, And He is Charlie. He calls both my parents "Papa". The only logic I can come up with is that his relationship with both my parents is the same. They both rough house with him, cuddle with him, eat with him, and treat him the same. Their role in his life is the same, so they must be the same person right? We are working on getting him to call my mom something else (Not sure what yet), but it's been difficult.

Charlie's progress is been amazing. He is starting to talk in small senstences. The other day we were in line at the coffee shop, and he knows that he always gets a smoothie when we go. Well this day he was being impatient and grunting and whining because he wasn't getting his smoothie ASAP. I turned around and said
"Excuse me Charlie, What do you say if you want your smoothie?!"
And he said "Ooooh!! Give my juice please!"

I KID YOU NOT!! It was so awesome!! It's moments like this that I wish I had a tape recorder playing at all times so I can catch these moments that he is in our world and functioning. It makes my heart smile :)

I just love moments that we are able to connect. It's like the two worlds collide and we create our own world for a moment in time.