I haven't written a post in awhile, and it's mostly due to not feeling well. My allergies have been going crazy the last couple of weeks. However, there is another reason. To be honest, I don't have much to talk about regarding living with autism. As I have mentioned before, Ethan has been doing so well, and a lot of our struggles & frustrations are disappearing....well.....maybe not disappearing but are manageable. So, the types of issues that we are dealing with in our household are pretty typical of raising a child......not much autism-related. Isn't that crazy awesome!?
If I were writing a book, I would feel like my book is at the end. However, I am feeling a new book coming.....almost like a "what now" concept. For example, we have spent the last 2 years diligently working with Ethan in every capacity in order to help him communicate. Well, now that he is communicating extremely well, we have new challenges. Now that he wants to play with us, the new challenge is how to play with a child with Ethan's mind. He is constantly wanting to learn, and my brain begins to wear after 2 SOLID hours of learning & absorbing what states are in the USA. Now that Ethan can verbalize what he needs, how can I give him what he needs when they are so....um......non-typical of a 4 year old.
A shift has taken place in our home as well as my focus as Ethan's mom. No longer am I reading & learning all I can from Ethan's therapists & teachers. No longer am I pouring over books about how to help Ethan overcome certain challenges. My new challenge is how to keep Ethan engaged since he is showing that he now CAN be engaged. I have to figure out how to play with this child who has never wanted me to play with him. I have to discover how to interact almost all day long with my child who has a brilliant mind. My next book would be called, "Learning to Parent a Genius" or "Raising Einstein" or something like that because that is how I feel.
The other morning, Ethan woke up at 6:20am.....pretty typical of him. And, as the norm, there is no slow wake up/cuddle on the couch/rubbing of the eyes. Once he's awake, he's ready for "input." From 6:20am to 8:36am, we played with every single board game in his closet. As I played these games with him, I was thinking back to times of frustration & heart ache as I TRIED & TRIED to get Ethan to play with me, and understand about turn-taking, game concept, and so on. And as we spent 2 hours playing board games, I was overjoyed that it was now an ENJOYABLE thing to do! He would tell me when my turn was, ask me what playing piece I wanted to be, and was excited when he had to miss a turn & I got to draw 2 cards. It was sheer joy for this mom.
But, as most of us would agree, playing board games for 2 hours is....well.....a bit boring! But my Ethan wasn't ready to stop. He wanted more & more & more. I got out all of our puzzles, and that satisfied his need for input while I could grab another cup of coffee. And I was already thinking of what I could play with him next that would satisfy his thirst for learning.
His brain facinates me. It never seems to take a break. I think it's why he doesn't sleep well and why he doesn't want to stop to eat.....he just needs, "More Input." (From the movie Short Circuit) So, to anyone who is reading this, you may see a shift in my topics. But it is still our journey & how we are learning to live with autism. And we are so blessed to be having this new challenge. So blessed.