Catch up time!
By 7 months, Andrew was crawling full speed, cruising along furniture, and climbing – including going up stairs. He could not go down, though; he would just crawl right off and fall if allowed to. He just barely started to babble dada. He started to eat solids, but did not like purees at all, preferring to feed himself puffs and yogurt melts.
At 8 months, he was still crawling and cruising, bridging between things if they were right beside each other. He was broadening his horizon on finger foods, loving it when I gave him half a banana or something similar that he could gnaw on. He switched to babbling baba, and started to get more vocal.
At 9 months, he was starting to eat purees too along with more finger foods. His favorites were whole steamed green beans and Cheerios. He was still babbling primarily baba, with lots of great intonation. His pincer grasp was fully developed, and he could bridge between things cruising a bit further apart, but still no independent steps. He also cut his next 2 teeth, bringing his total to 4.
I am hopefully going to be going back in time over the next little bit and putting down all the stuff I wanted to but haven’t over the last few months. I had really wanted to keep using pictures in all posts, but honestly, not going to happen. The time it takes to download a picture, crop it, and upload it…is pretty much all the time I have before Andrew is demanding attention again, so the actual blogging doesn’t happen…and I want this stuff down!
Eric has written his letter to Santa, and it amuses me greatly. He sat down to write it with the intent of correcting his verbal request to Santa the day before: he wants a 3ds, not a regular ds like he had said. Well, while he was writing, he went and grabbed the Toys R Us ad for the week and went nuts. He wants a Wii.U and a game for it, a 3ds, 2 Pokemon games, a Batman game, Skylanders, another game…”and I love you, Santa.” Just in case, you know, he needed a few extra points to get his list filled. (We have had a discussion on how Santa does not bring seventeen million expensive gifts, heh.)
Danny got to visit Santa this year too, in a special way – one of the malls had a “caring Santa” time before the mall opened in the morning for special needs kids. They brought him in early and made a quiet, safe environment. They were right across from the play area in the mall, and the few kids there went one by one from the playground straight to Santa. There were no lines, no loud noises and chaos, and staff who “got it.” We were not forced to buy their packages, either… In fact, they offered to take pictures with my camera so I could be up there with Danny helping him through the interaction. Danny walked up, gave Santa a big high five, then giggled and said, “ho ho ho!” He sat by Santa, with me beside him, and cheesed for the camera…no rush, just letting us do what we needed to do. I felt bad that I was not buying anything, so I asked if I could leave a tip and was shot down quite handily.
It was so neat.
Andrew wasn’t so into sitting on Santa’s lap though, ha. He did the day before, though.
Ho ho ho!
Danny’s language has truly been expanding lately. Much of it very few people would understand, mind you, but it is there and he is using it! He does a lot of echoing when he isn’t sure how to respond, but he is tossing in more and more of his own thoughts too instead of the one word answers he used to give.
For example, this morning I asked him if he wanted to go to the park. 6 months ago, the best I could hope for was “Yeah! Park!” Now?
“No park…” (think, think, think) “Yeah! Park! Let’s go to the park! Yeah! Go play at the park! Go to the park playground!”
A veritable speech! All while bouncing around waiting for me to get my shoes on and unlock the door to the garage. A few more “Yeah! Go play at the park!” announcements were made while we loaded up, and away we went.
Awesome! A nice morning out! We were set to meet up with my moms club too, who I haven’t seen in about a month due to various visits, illnesses, etc. I was so psyched!
Until, after about 20 minutes, Danny came up with another of his speeches…
“Yeah! Go home! Get in the car, go home!”
Well, ok then… So much for that.
Autism. I’ve studiously avoided the word for years; from about a year and a half to two years old, it’s been on my mind for Danny, but we never made it official. For a while, there was a bit of “maybe it’s just…” going on. Maybe it’s just his hearing loss. Maybe it’s just out parenting early in life because we never knew how well he heard or understood. Maybe it’s just something he’ll outgrow.
I think many parents think these things.
The fact is, it’s a reality for Danny and our family. We recently met with a neurologist who isn’t a big fan of the diagnosis, but he said that most professionals would agree that he’s got it. The fact I’d run into a while ago online, one the neurologist reiterated, is that autism rates are higher than average among CMV kids. At its core, it may not be the same autism as those kids born with it with no trauma or spurring factor, but the results are the same…or as “the same” as any two kids with autism are.
It’s so broad that it really doesn’t explain much.
A part of me wondered if I would react at all when a professional finally (sort of) agreed with our suspicion, confirmed it and made it real. I didn’t. It doesn’t change anything, except I no longer have to dance around it. No more “well, he has autistic tendencies” or “we think he may have autism,” he just has it. It’s no shock; in a way, I’ve known it for years.
I’m still not one of those autism moms that is lovey about it, or is super about awareness. Like CMV, like deafness, this is just another step. Maybe if I had one issue to champion, I’d be more prone to get behind some movement or another, but I have a lot of stuff going on with this kid! And I don’t embrace it; I don’t love being a mom to a kid with autism, I don’t feel blessed to have a special needs child. Frankly, it sucks, and four and a half years later, I still wish it hadn’t happened and that I could know the kid Danny would have been.
A part of me wonders if that doesn’t exist in most parents of kids with some issue or other… They just don’t want to admit it, because it doesn’t sound good to wish your kid was different from the way they are. I do, though. I wish his life was easier, that he could knock down the barriers that he lives with. I don’t feel sorry for him, or us, though. It sucks, but some things in life just do. Life is about making the best of the hand you’re dealt, and I tend to think we are doing that, and doing it well.
Like with CMV, we certainly could have this autism business worse. He’s not violent. He’s not 100% uncommunicative. He’s not extreme. And he is Danny, with all his humor and cheekiness and mischief.
The neurologist asked, as his parting question, how Danny is with hugs – because some kids with autism don’t or can’t give their parents that. In response, Danny stepped over and leaned into the doctor in his version of a hug.
Guess he answered that question for us.
And what a cool answer it was. That’s our Danny.
I set out, while pregnant, to make sure I kept better track of milestones with Andrew – both before and after birth. I did a horrible, horrible job! Completely dropped the ball, I did.
So let’s catch up. At 6 months…
We made it halfway through the first year – I can’t wait to see what the second half has in store for us!
“I noticed, on some games, that there are no lines. But then in Daddy’s game – you remember Daddy’s game? Where there was the guy with the green hand? Well, Daddy just kept fighting him and taking away his life, and then – kablooey! – he just took away a lot of his life, but not all of his life… He just had this much life left. But Daddy had lots more life left, until the guy kept healing himself and healing himself. Daddy should have been able to heal himself too, but he couldn’t. Well, that game had lines, but some games don’t.”