I am trying to document all of the things that Daniel has been doing but he has had such rapid progression in some areas and it is kind of hard to get it all down. I also need these to remind me because sometimes when we hit a rough patch or a hard cycle I can be reminded of all that he has achieved. I will try to note some here so that I can remember his developments during this summer since I most likely will be in a blur about it for a while. Yesterday he wrapped his arms around my neck and said “I love you SO much”. That was a first and it makes me smile A LOT.
The other day at the beach, I was standing farther back from the kids and my mom, I wasn’t quite ready to get all wet. Daniel turned around and walked back to be, he grabbed hold of my hand and said “Come on mom I want you with me.” This is significant because once at the beach, normally no one else exists to him but in recent weeks this has changed drastically and his entire ocean/sand play has involved Ariel and Joshua. It was a special moment for me to have him want me to participate. He acknowledged that I was not “joining” and he came and got me.
He has continued to do this with all of us and Grammy too.
He had a whole conversation on the phone with Grammy. It was the first time he has had a conversation on the phone like that. He did not repeat everything back to her that she said. I did not have to prompt him with what to say, he asked her questions and answered hers. When he was finished he said “Ok, I am done. Bye.” He didn’t cut her off there was a break in the conversation and he decided that he was finished. My mom was pretty excited about the whole interaction.
It was a big deal.
He got angry with me the other day and voiced what he felt and why. He wears a plastic ring on his finger and says that he and I are married. He also calls us twins and says that we are alike. He connects to me in some way by saying that we are married and if he loses his ring, it turns into something terrible around here. He lost his ring, it fell off behind the TV but I couldn’t see it and he was so upset that all he could do was point and yell at me.
I searched all around.
I pulled out everything next to the TV and went through everything, I couldn’t find it. By this time he was screaming and rolling on the floor, I got up to take a break for a moment and he started yelling “Why aren’t you looking?” Then he started hitting me. He hasn’t done this in a while but he got pretty rough and I told him that he couldn’t hit me and we went into to 2319! mode. I walked away while he sat, I use the word “sat” lightly, in time out for hitting me and then came back and sat next to him trying to help calm him down. As I sat there I happened to look behind the TV and there was the ring.
It was clear on the other side hidden in the shadows.
As soon as I gave him the ring he changed immediately and was happy again. I asked him why he hit me. He said “Because I was angry”. I asked him why he was so angry with me and he said that he just was. I then thought about what would I think and my feelings would have been in that situation. For me I would have felt like my mom didn’t believe me, I would have been so distraught about losing my ring that I had been wearing for several months and also is a connection to my mom that I would have been extremely upset and felt like she wasn’t listening or didn’t care. I have several experiences in my life with people to parallel here….several billion. I asked him these questions and he told me that yes, that was how he felt and that is why he started hitting me. He did not feel understood or heard. It is huge that he was able to talk to me about it and he told me that he was sorry on his own and gave me a hug. Self initiated hugs are new.
He is giving and requesting hugs on a regular basis along with telling us that he loves us or likes us.
Imaginative play. He has taken on a whole new dynamic with imaginative play, he is coming up with his own ideas to play with Ariel and Joshua. Some of his play looks quite different but he considers his play the same as Ariel and Joshua. Joshua is a “leader” (Ariel is too and there is some serious sister/brother challenges but that is for another time) and likes to tell everyone how and what to play, in a way this has been very good for Daniel. He has been given rules for playing and is now venturing out into his own ideas. He took to playing with puppets and can be found having them talking to him and just talking while walking around the house or sitting in his room. He came up to me the other day with a lion puppet and started talking to me as “Mr. Lion”. He asked me questions and laughed and told me about his rainbow mane. When he was finished he said “Ok, I am done. Good night Mr. Lion” and tossed him on the floor.
He has been practicing drawing on his own.
I got all of the kids a doodle pad a few weeks ago. He didn’t want anything to do with but recently with all of the doodling and drawing that Ariel and I have been doing together, he grabbed his and started joining us. Making circles, lines, squiggles, 8′s and mushrooms. I am not sure why he likes making mushrooms, he has never eaten them but he does have a plastic mushroom in the play food. He must be fond of the shape. It is really cool to see him draw a specific object on his own. Mushrooms, who would have thought?
His language is just blowing me away.
His vocabulary has increased in a major way and his sentences are much more flowing. He is talking all day and asking us what we are doing, why we are doing it, telling us why he is doing things, sharing his favorite things and why. He is expressing himself and being much more animated as he talks. He came over to comfort me the other day, I was crying, they just came I couldn’t help it and he sat next to me, put his little hand on my back, leaned in to look me in the face and asked “Why are you crying mom?”. I told him that I wasn’t sure and sometimes we just get overwhelmed with emotions. He smiled at me, then laughed and said “You are not sad, you are happy.” Then got up and left. Maybe he read something there about me. I wasn’t really sad, I was just overwhelmed with thoughts that made me cry. But he was right, I wasn’t truly sad and after that I laughed so hard that the tears stopped.
I get overwhelmed with joy at times too with the things that he is doing.
It is amazing how much he is interacting, socializing and communicating. I say amazed because there were times that it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. We would have to go down different routes, actually we have and the different routes of communication and reaching out to him have opened it for him to feel comfortable to move in these new areas. As I am writing this, he just started shouting ‘I fixed it by myself, I fixed it by myself!” He put together a play dough toy by himself. He then said ‘I wish I could do that Ariel” these are some great things to hear. He wants to try things on his own, his anxiety has lowered substantially, he feels confident in himself and his abilities, he is not afraid. He is happy and willing to try new things, currently (cycles, you know). He said to me the other day “I want a friend.” AND all of this is awesome! I am working on finding a group that would be a safe place to find a friend but the mere fact that he is ready for a friend is huge.
My heart leaps to see him so happy and free in being himself.