Joey has been having a few rough days. I suppose i ought to put quotes around "rough" because it is sometimes hard to tell if he thinks the day is going fine or not. Perhaps it would be more accurate to just say he's been spending a lot of time spinning, watching things spin, asking for fans to be turned on, tracking, and clearing his usual circuits so he can follow them systematically. He's also enamoured with the pin ball games witht eh flashing lights and flippers and music that Santa brought him. On the other hand, he's been playing happily, smiling, laughing, and playing with his brother. Being as unique as everybody else, trying to decipher Joey's actions and communication can sometimes be... well, unique.
Anyway, he's spinny-tracky. Perfectly understandable- no real schedule, the house stuffed full of strange sparkly things, new toys, and unusual foods. And this week, we do it all again. I'm getting off track again. The point is, I can understand him having some stimmy days in the midst of chaos. Today was particularly stimmy. Spin, spin, spin. Took him out to Grandma;s, and he carefully removed all the furniture and rubbish and whatnot from his usual circuit along her persian carpet, then tracked it for a good ten minutes striaght, then kept returning to it. We gave up and took the boys out to eat.
Where he promptly pulled himself together perfectly, and had a perfectly normal conversation with the waitress.
Her: Did you have a nice Christmas? Joey: Yes. Her: What did Santa bring you? What did you get? What was your favorite present? [In quick succession... folks need to remember to give any child an extra heartbeat to answer; and she didn't know Joey is autistic] Joey: (pause.) A bike. Ride a bike. Her: Wow, a bike! Joey: How was your Christmas?
At this point, Grandma and I start search for the teeth that bropped out of our mouths when our jaws hit the floor.
In the meantime, Andy is also having a bad stretch, and I can definitely say that these are "bad days." Cranky, whiney, can't-sit-still days. So while this conversation is unfolding, we have a T-Rex growling and stomping around the other side of the table- the only reason he's not doing this all over the restaurant is because Mommy and Grandma and Waitress are corraling him whilst bribing him with dinosaur coloring sheets and red crayons. Grandma noticed that he can't seem to articulate what is bothering him- and being who we are, now we're worried. Even if its sensory, we'd think he's have some kind of language to sommunicate the problem, even if its "hurts" or "feels weird." But all he can say is "yes" when we ask (in several different formats) if there is something wrong that is keeping him from sitting down. Ack! Ack! Ack!
The waitress got very confused when she returned to find us in tears and hugging both boys, so we of course had to explain that Joey doesn't ask questions and have conversations, especially with strangers; and the other one needed more deep pressure to try to calm him down. I think the waitress felt honored to have been graced with Joey's attention, which continued in starts and stops for teh rest of the meal.
And hey, they both ate.
Victories and challenges, all at once. That's my life. How's yours?