August 2001 page 1 of 2
Wednesday 1 August

Dan says that Damian's not been verbally responsive in the mornings. He starts crying if Dan asks him to name the color of a gummy bear, for instance. He can't handle the stress. Maybe it's because he's still getting used to school hours after being sick for over a week. But maybe it's because he's being pushed too much to talk. I think his floor time therapists are being too pushy, honestly. I want to talk to them about scaling back. They should be eliciting language naturally, not saying "say X." I think it's too much for him, it feels like work, not fun, and he's shutting down a bit.

On the other hand, he's talking a fair amount in the afternoons, when we're just hanging out being silly. What's more, he's closing lots of circles. Damian ordered me to "lie down" on his bed today and we lay next to each other and played a silly game involving his bead bracelet wherein I held it up and he said "down" and I dropped it down beside his face and then scooped it up and he said "up" and so on. Then I zoomed it by his face and he'd say "stop" so I'd stop and he could grab it. Not an especially challenging game, but there were two notable things about it. 1) He sustained it for at least twenty back-and-forths (circles of communication). 2) He initiated all the word cues. I never told him what he could say to achieve what he wanted.

Heidi gave Damian some squishy frog toys that stick to the mirror. She didn't expect him to touch them willingly. Not only did he, but he enjoyed them!

Thursday 2 August

He came into our bed at one a.m. Not a good sign. And indeed, he was sluggish this morning. Turned out he had a wonky tummy. We kept him home from school and spent much time cuddling.

He did do one thing this morning, though: he actually helped me strip wallpaper off the last wall in his bedroom. I pulled it off halfway and then Damian took hold of it and was able to tear it off from there (well, I finished off at the bottom). I don't know if he thought this was cool or not; he didn't say or seem excited. Then again, he *was* feeling wonky.

Dan and Damian sat in Damian's room on and off this morning watching me scrape the paste off the wall. Damian fell asleep in Dan's lap around noon. We all three took a nap together in our bed. Cozy.

We had to wake him after two hours (we were afraid he'd be up all night otherwise). Jami was here. I was worried Damian would burst into tears when he saw her, but he didn't. He smiled at her. We transitioned gradually, and they had a nice, albeit quiet, time together. He kept thinking he wanted something to eat but giving up after a few bites. Finally settled on pizza and got very excited. Sang his pizza song again: "Pizza, pizza, pizza, I'm going to eat pizza, pizza pizza."

Before dinner: I was lying on the couch (had just been cuddling with Damian and got sleepy) and Dan was in the kitchen cooking. Damian ran off and returned with the eyeglasses screwdriver from my nightstand drawer. I said, "What's that? It looks like some kind of special tool." Damian used it to "screw" the metal bits inside his firefighter helmet and then ran off with it. When he came back, he didn't have the screwdriver anymore. I asked him where it was. He led me to the nightstand. He'd put it back in the drawer when he was done with it. I thought that was pretty cool.

Friday 3 August

Damian came to bed at four a.m. Which is fine in and of itself. He had a sick day yesterday, he usually comes into bed when he's feeling wonky. But he was WIDE AWAKE. He kept running his hands across my chest. Feeling me up, more or less. And when I wouldn't let him, he'd bonk me with his head. I told him to stop and then walked out of the room. Twice, maybe three times I had to resort to that (and he always wailed, "Mommy come!" and I'd come back). It lasted over an hour, on and off, this Mommy abuse. He was so restless and I think he wanted to push my buttons so I would respond to him instead of just lying there. Finally I drifted off, only to be woken out of a dream by his hands moving all over my chest again. Aaagh! I got *really* mad. I yelled at him. Saying the same things as before: "Stop that!" and "That's not nice!" and "If you do it one more time, I'm leaving!" But with more emphasis in my voice. When I left, he really dissolved. I came back, set him on my lap, and told him I loved him very much, and I liked to sleep in the bed with him, but when he did those things to me, it wasn't respectful and it wasn't right. (Something along those lines, anyway.) And that I was always going to get mad because it wasn't okay. But that if he lay quietly with me, I'd love to snuggle with him. Then I set him gently down next to me. He curled into my side and tucked his hands under his tummy (look ma, no hands), and finally stopped fidgeting. He fell asleep almost instantly, of course. I felt bad that I got so vehement, but I said nothing hurtful or demoralizing, and I think it was the only way to get through to him that he absolutely has got to respect my wishes.

I told Damian the order of events involved in getting ready to go out. One included my brushing my hair. He followed me into the bathroom, watched me brush my hair, and picked up his toothbrush. He gave his teeth a cursory wipe and then tried using the toothbrush to brush his hair. Err... I suggested he try my hairbrush instead. He swiped it through his hair a few times and then tried brushing his teeth with it!

He was very verbal with me today, but when he got to Hallie's office (his new ST), he clammed up. She was pleased with some of the nonverbal back-and-forth anyway. She offered him some puppets. He put the pink bear on his hand (never ever used to put a puppet on his hand) but he wouldn't speak for the bear. She had a dinosaur ask the bear what its name was. I think that was a mistake. It's too big and open-ended a question. She offered some possibilities but he didn't take her up on any. Maybe he wouldn't have said anything in any case, I don't know. Then the puppets went for a walk around the room. She's definitely inventive. Honestly, she does better floor time than his FT therapists!

She pulled out whistles and recorders. Damian got into it. When she showed him how to make the recorder trill (put your finger on the hole and lift it up, in quick succession) he caught on right away and got a kick out of doing it. She was very impressed with that. Said he was the first kid who got it. He also got the concept behind the slide whistle.

This afternoon, he could see me looking for a barrette and he grabbed one from my nightstand and handed it to me. Very thoughtful of him.

He found a Ricola cough drop later and unwrapped it, put it in Dan's mouth. He does that.

He's been pummelling me with his feet and hands recently when we're lying on the bed. He thinks it's a game. I don't. I get mad. It doesn't stop him. Impulse control problem or just not understanding what it means to hurt someone? Tonight he was rolling on the bed, slamming into me. I sat up. He said "lie down!" I said "no" in a calm, matter of fact voice. Then he said "I am going to lie down" but quickly corrected himself: "Mommy is going to lie down." Nice try but saying doesn't make it so, kiddo. Dan switched the dialogue to why: "Why do you want Mommy to lie down, Damian?" Why is a tough one for him. We like to ask but then suggest answers to help him learn to think that way. So I said, "Is it because you want to cuddle with Mommy or to roll into her?" He said "Cuddle with Mommy." So said "okay" and lay down. As soon as I was horizontal, he said "Roll into Mommy." Sneaky kid. He did, however, roll softly. Didn't hurt me at all. So that was okay. He did seem to get the concept after all.

Dan came up with a great game. He and Damian used two foam swords for this: Dan had a plastic take-out container type cup on the end of his sword. Damian had to slip his sword under it and carry it off. He'd go into the closet with it, then come back and toss it Dan's way and then they'd perform the trade-off again. Damian loved it and it was great in an OT sort of way too (balance, his body in space, bilateral control). Funny the way we start to think, isn't it?

Sunday 5 August

We're starting to challenge Damian more. Last night, he started crying and wanted a tissue. I "forgot" where the tissue box was. I said I'd be happy to wipe his tears if he showed me where the box was. He was very put out by this, but finally got up and marched into the dining room, pulled a tissue out of the box and handed it to me. He seemed more exasperated than anything.

Today we continued in this fashion. By dinner time, Dan was able to have Damian actually put his fork back into his bowl of mac & cheese after each bite. It may sound ridiculous that this is a big deal, but it's a matter of one step and then another. When we moved into this house, Damian was insisting we feed him. We broke that ritual but he still insisted that we put the spoon or fork back on the plate and fill it up again before he'd pick it up for the next bite. So now we're proceeding to the next stage.

Thing is, he's asking for more things from us with words, and even turning the pronouns around to be correct: "pick you up" becomes "pick me up" and "I'm going to get juice" becomes "Mommy is going to get juice." We want to reward that with a hop-to-it, but not at the expense of his independence and self-reliance. A conundrum. But now that the words are more established, we're obeying less.

We went on a toy buying mission today. Time to up our own floor time since we're not happy with the floor time therapy he's getting (and we'll deal with that too). We bought Damian a construction worker set with helmet, goggles, toolbelt (complete with tools) and a buzzsaw that emits a satisfying buzz. He donned the helmet right away. The goggles too, but they kept slipping down (too loose) so he abandoned them. He went out with Dan to the back yard to cut down some trees with his buzzsaw. Had a grand old time. We got some adorable pictures. It's a different kind of pretend play than animating toy figures, but I think it deserves equal time. Playing grownup. He's gotten into dressing up in his Halloween firefighter costume lately (he always then goes to the fireplace to check up on the fire situation), so this is an extension of that. Now we have to figure out what a pint sized construction worker can fix and build around the house.

At dinner I asked Damian about what he did outside with Daddy. I gave choices, "did you build a tower or cut down a tree?" He said "cut down a tree." It may be a while still before he can formulate a response on his own but I want to keep doing this for a few reasons. It may help him think about and remember what he was doing, play it back in his memory. It makes him part of the dinner table conversation -- in however stilted a way, that's an important beginning. And it may pave the way for him to answer me of his own accord at some point in the (I hope) not too distant future.

Tonight after slideshow and books, Damian said "I'm going to rock" and fell into my arms.

Monday 6 August

Damian started his in-school OT last week, two half hour sessions per week where he's pulled out of class to play in the ball pit and jump on the trampoline. Today I got to talk to the OT. She was really jazzed about him, kept talking about how very much potential he has, how he has the ability to mainstream, etc. She said she started with the ball pit, giving him light sensory input (gently lobbing the balls at him, I would guess) and then deepening the pressure (burying him under the balls?), at which point he started laughing. She said she thought then, "There's a kid in here!" (ie: a responsive child) She said, too, that when she had him jump on the trampoline, she asked him to recite the ABC song and he did AT FULL VOLUME. She was tickled pink and wanted to pull the ST out of her room to witness it. She said, too, that she really looks forward to her sessions with him. The woman's only been working with him for a week and she's already smitten. A good sign.

He had a pretty good time at Dance & Jingle, but he was very tired and that dampened his enthusiasm a bit, I think. And he got jostled by other kids a couple of times. The second time, he immediately came over to me and curled into my lap. I asked him if he got scared when the other kid bumped him and he said yes. I explained that it was an accident, etc. Later, Damian bumped into another kid. I quickly pointed out that he'd done the same thing that had scared him when it happened to him, and see, it's really harmless. I have no idea if my point sunk in. Tonight while we were playing on his bed, I took his stuffed raccoon and made it bump into his teddy bear and acted out a "Hey!" "Sorry!" scenario, with one of the animals playing the part of Damian. He liked the game, though it quickly devolved into our tossing stuffed animals at each other.

We've gotten him to the point where he'll run into another room to go get a tissue and then he'll hand it to you to wipe his tears. He had a lot of tears today. Exhaustion and probably also stress from the fact that we're challenging him more in these small ways. Tonight he wanted me to open his bedroom door (which he'd just closed). He told me so. I told him I wanted him to do it. Stalemate. He took my hands with his and pushed the door open. He'd have been perfectly happy pretending I'd done it but I had to go and ruin his fantasy by saying "That was great, Damian! You did it, you opened the door!" So he cried. Even after the fact. He didn't want to have been the one to open that door.

Something I keep forgetting to mention: the other night after he fell asleep, I went into his room to turn off the fan. He was murmuring in his sleep. He said "yellow." I have no idea what he was dreaming, maybe about yellow gummy bears? But I thought it was significant that he's now verbal even in his sleep. He's crossing a kind of threshold. Even his whines are often verbal now. (I want a tissue, Daddy come, Mommy's going to open the door, I'm hungry!) He's really come far in a short time.

Tuesday 7 August

Skipped school this morning because Damian came to our bed at one a.m. with his pajamas soaking wet. Took a while to get resettled after that, poor kid. We figured we could get him up and go, but he wouldn't get a lot out of the day, so he slept in till 8:15. Ah, the luxury.

Sounds like he did great at OT today. Dan said Damian stood on the glider swing -- while it was moving -- and swung his arms, unbalancing himself even more. And he did it for fun. Heidi said even two weeks ago he wouldn't have done that for fear of overbalancing. I saw the pictures of Heidi brushing his teeth (and him brushing his own teeth) -- he was smiling! He was enjoying the whole thing. That's a breakthrough.

I played with him with his new Little People amusement park. I heard Dan playing yesterday: the kids wanted to go to the park but the teacher said they had to sing their ABCs first; Dan had Damian sing along. So I took off on that. One little girl doll wanted to ride on the ferris wheel but teach said she had to do schoolwork. The girl asked if she could go if she said her ABCs first. Teach said yes. Only one problem: she couldn't remember what came after C. Or E. Or J, for that matter. She kept getting tripped up on that darned alphabet. Fortunately, Damian helped her out. Repeatedly. I was very pleased that he was always able to tell her, and immediately too. It means he's not just singing the ABC song, he's actually processing that they're distinct letters.

Tonight during the slideshow, Damian saw a picture I'd taken of Dante wearing a shawl. He giggled. More pictures of cat in shawl. More giggles. We all got a kick out of the images, but Dan and I got more of a kick out of the fact that Damian was enjoying visual humor.

When he watched the pictures of himself at Heidi's during the tooth brushing, he put his finger in his mouth and mimed every action he saw in the pictures.

Wednesday 8 August

Today was an overall good day. He stayed on the swing at the park for a long time, and the seesaw too, and he used his pronouns correctly and spoke a lot. Nothing stunning, just a sign of good, solid progress. What has been remarkable to me lately is how well he can summon words and sentences. He tried to get me to turn off the lamp on Dan's nightstand tonight by pointing and gesturing, then by putting my hand on the switch. I kept saying "use words" and "I don't know what you want" but I didn't offer any possibilities of what words he should use. Finally he said "turn off the light." I knew he could.

He was into flashlights today while Gamma was here. She commented on it. I sighed. He used to perseverate with the light from flashlights. But she described how she made a shadow dog and Damian loved it. That's new. I remember last fall when he was so into the flashlight, I tried doing just that, making shadow figures, and he couldn't care less. Progress can be measured where you least expect it.

I noticed one thing that gave me pause: after Gamma left, he fell into major echolalia. I haven't seen (heard) him do that for weeks. I actually thought she did a great job engaging him in various pretend scenarios today, but I can't help wondering if she's stressing verbal responses too much (and feeding him what she wants him to say) and it's making him fall back on echoing. The echolalia vanished within an hour after she left.

Thursday 9 August

Damian's been talking more and more freely. In a short time playing together in his room, he said "turn on the light" and "I'm going to bounce on the bed." Both were completely and totally unprompted. The latter was actually a request: he still confuses pronouns more than half the time. He was sitting on top of me as I lay on his bed. He was asking me to bounce. That's another oddity: his way of asking is to tell you what you're going to do. So instead of saying, "Mommy, open the door," he'll say "Mommy is going to open the door."

Friday 10 August

Forgot to mention, I spoke to Boss Lady yesterday, the floor time supervisor. She's observed (read: gotten down and played) two sessions in the clinic with Damian. She says that the first time Damian spoke a full sentence (and aloud, to boot), her jaw dropped. Hee. She first met him in April and all his words were either pure echolalia or whispers (and the whispers were just as often scripting as real Damian-initiated words). He sure has come a long way in a short time. She said, too, that whenever he sees her at the clinic, Damian smiles, then covers his eyes and peeks out, smiling. And she does the same back at him. This is not his standard greeting. He's developed a specific game with her.

This morning at school, a teacher stood in the corner with an administrator. They grinned at something cute Damian did, I forget what. Damian saw them grinning and gave them a big smile in return. They were tickled pink. Not your usual kiddie reaction in that class, I imagine.

We were on the couch. I brought potato-veggie chips to snack on. Damian wanted me to take the chips out of the bag and hand them to him one by one. Instead, I put a bunch on the couch cushion. He still wanted me to pick them up one by one for him. I refused. He grudgingly fed himself, but each time he wanted one, he'd say "I want a chip." I had to respond (I'd say something like "okay, take one" or some such) before he'd actually pick one up. A little later, I actually got him to put his hand into the bag, though he still had to announce his intention every single time he took one.

At dinner I can now get him to actually put the fork down on the plate after each bite without having him fuss, but I still have to remind him every single time. So tonight I tried to push it: I said it the first few times, but then I started saying just the beginning of the sentence and having him fill in the blank. Stuff like that. Diminishing the prompt. By the end of the meal, he was putting the fork on the plate with no reminder. Next step, of course, is getting him to spear his pasta. I'm not looking forward to that battle.

I was looking back through old pictures today (preparing a Grandparents photo CD), and I was surprised to find shots of Damian feeding himself with fork and spoon as recently as the end of June. He just decided one day last month he shouldn't do it anymore. So now we have to work him back up to it. Bah.

He's been talking in a whine a LOT lately. We're working on correcting it by telling him we don't understand what he's saying (which is often true).

When he asks us to "wipe your tears", we wipe our own eyes. He self-corrects pretty damned quick.

The "I want a tissue" "wipe my tears" "blow my nose" "wipe my nose" ritual has got to go, though. He started crying in the car this morning and wanted me to take care of him but I was DRIVING. So he cried more. And it's not like he can't tend to his own needs. He's done it before, I've seen it. It's something else. The same thing that makes him want us to feed him.

Saturday 11 August

We went to West Hollywood Park this morning. It was so delightful to see Damian climb the steps and go down the slide over and over without hesitation. I remember so many times it was such a big deal getting him to do it at all, and now he takes great pleasure in it.

Sunday 12 August

Damian keeps asking me to "lie down" so he can lie on top of me and wriggle around, being silly but being close too. We have this game now: he tries to touch my breasts. He knows I don't like it, which I think is why he does it. I put my hands on my breasts in a pre-emptive move. He says "move hands" to get me to remove the obstacle. I set my hands somewhere on his body: his ears, or his shoulders, or over his eyes. He says "move hands" again, and every time he does, I move my hands somewhere else. He laughs. We can sometimes sustain this for over twenty iterations/circles of communication. It's fun, but I'm noticing something kind of interesting: when I'm on the phone, he always comes over and says "lie down." It's a way of getting my attention. At least it's positive, not negative/destructive.

Today when he started the game by touching my breasts, I asked him if he knew what they were. I told him they were my breasts. He pulled up his own shirt to see his nipples. I talked about how he used to nurse when he was younger and asked if he remembered. He said yes and started pretending to nurse (making sucking noises near one breast and then the other). I've been nervous about bringing it up for fear he'd try to un-wean, as it were, but I guess he's gotten past that. It's been four months. Nursing is now a memory, not a reality. I feel a twinge of sadness but it was definitely time.

He insists on holding hands now when we're outside and heading into the house. It's a pain in the butt. Trying to figure out how to weasel out of this one. One thing he's been doing since forever: he won't step out of the car unless he holds your hand for support. Today I tricked him -- I held my hand close but not touching his. He stepped onto the curb. As soon as he realized what he'd done, he tried getting back in the car to do it over again the "right" way. Instead of letting him, I held his hand and walked him to the house, lavishing him with praise for getting out of the car on his own.

Monday 13 August

This morning one of the teachers (LaBelle) told me that Damian follows her around during the school day. I'm not surprised, honestly. She's very warm. She said it hasn't happened quite like this before, that kids attach to her but then manifest it by getting upset when she leaves the room. Damian's fine with her leaving but likes being near her when she's around. She said that Friday another kid, A, was aggressive with Damian. Damian retreated to LaBelle's side for comfort. I'm glad he's found someone who can help him feel safe in the sometimes chaotic school environment.

When I came to pick Damian up, he was on a tall rocking horse. When he spotted me, he told the teacher, "all done." Which is SOP for him these days. The teacher was impressed. Which made me start to wonder how much Damian speaks at school. Now, this guy is new to the class, so maybe he doesn't know, but I asked Susie, who told me Damian says things like "open" and such. Well, at home, he's saying things like "Mommy is going to open the door" and such. A bit of a difference. Hmm.

Dance & Jingle didn't go as well today. Far too many kids (14???). Damian was intimidated, sat in my lap the whole time. Toward the end he didn't even want to do the activities (clapping and so on). I asked if he wanted to stay or go home. He said stay. So we stayed. Then a kid tried to take a lei away from him. I said no, first gently, then more firmly. The kid's mom was sitting next to me. Apparently she was shocked at my firm tone (and trust me, I wasn't harsh). She reacted and so of course her son started crying (didn't cry till she reacted -- very clear cut). Then the kid next to HIM shrieked at the top of his lungs in reaction to his friend (apparently they were friends) crying. (This kid, the shrieker, has some self-regulation issues -- I've seen it before.) I asked Damian if he wanted to go home now. "Go home," he said. So we left. I made up (sort of) with the overreactive mom in the hall -- she said her son had never had someone speak to him in that tone before and took it badly. Bullpucky. If she never has a hint of anything other than utter calm and warmth in her voice when she talks to him, he's going to break when someone looks at him crosswise in a few years. I told her we don't yell at Damian but we do try to infuse our voices with emotion to help him identify and learn to respond to emotion. Then again, he has issues. But still. I very much don't believe in venting on your kid, but I also don't believe in acting like they're spun glass.

Operation Challenge has begun, and boy does Damian not like it. He climbed out of the car by himself. When I praised him for it, he started to cry and went back in to do it properly (just like yesterday). He wants to hold hands all the time? Well, great, if you can catch my hands (I ran away teasingly, holding my hands just out of reach). That one went pretty well. He got into the spirit of the game. But when he wanted to launch into the "I want a tissue" ritual, I did wipe his tears but insisted we wipe his nose together. He didn't like this much, but all that meant was more tears and more chances to get used to the "wipe it together" deal. And when his socks got wet, I used the excuse to take them off and not put new ones on. He did NOT like this. Kept asking for socks. ("I want nocks" and "put on nocks".) I kept stalling ("We'll get socks soon, but let's enjoy our bare feet -- look, my feet are bare too!" etc.) He was okay as long as he knew it wasn't a long term sockless situation.

I got worn out, though. Lots of tears. My patience frayed. Dan took over. Thank god. Challenging a kid is truly hard work.

Tuesday 14 August

Damian was fine going to school, but balked just outside the building. Wouldn't go inside. I sat down with him and talked about his fears and how much he likes school and what we were going to do after school. Asked if he'd hold my hand and go into school. He said yes and did. But once he got there, he didn't want to leave my side. I sat him down again and asked if he was upset because Mommy and Daddy were upset this morning (we're stressed, wonder why). He said yes. I reassured him that everything will be fine and we weren't upset at him, etc. After that, he was completely fine about being there.

He did great with Heidi today. Lay in the swing sling and moved puzzle pieces around. Did a full 360 rotation, pushing off with his hands. Got the puzzle concept right away. Heidi showed him once how to do it and he did it by himself after that. The puzzle was a series of two piece puzzles with opposites (find the house in daytime, find the house at night, put the two together). He nailed it. Completely nailed it. And when he was taking breaks from finding pieces, he pushed off with his hands and made the swing move. That's a first. That's very cool.

He had trouble drawing a cross -- he'd draw the vertical line and the horizontal line, but they didn't cross. He just didn't get the concept even though he's done it before. Heidi moved from floor to table and he drew a perfect cross on the first try. (She demonstrated first.)

He also brushed his teeth and allowed her to guide him to do so for long stretches in the mouth with no gag. She says he's ready for food. She also had him lick his lips. He didn't quite get the concept of putting his tongue to his upper lip, just stuck it out farther as if that would help him reach the lip.

Dan and I were unhappy with his floor time therapist today. She's been working with him for three weeks now. She has some good qualities, but she doesn't really get the underlying principles. She keeps pushing and directing and, frankly, bullying him. Not good. I caught her trying to get him to say a very specific sentence: "J (her name), will you open the door?" She even said "Say 'J, will you open the door?'" No, no, and no. He'd already said something approximately right and IT IS NOT HER JOB TO BE HIS SPEECH THERAPIST. She's not trained for it. Clearly. A speech therapist knows when and how to push. I stopped it immediately, but when I was talking to her at the end of the session, I said something alluding to it and she said "oh, we don't work on speech, we're not speech therapists. We just use it as an opportunity to close circles." Gah. There's closing circles and there's putting words in his mouth and insisting he parrot them back. I'm going to talk to her boss ASAP. This ain't no floor time.

Damian got upset tonight, I forget why now, but Dan used it as an opportunity to get him to think about what emotion he was feeling. Dan said, "Are you angry or sad?" Damian said "yes." He just wouldn't or couldn't identify his feeling. Kept asking for a tissue. Dan said he'd get one after he could tell us what he was feeling. Damian started playing the piano. Avoiding the issue. I said, "When you're angry you want to hit someone. When you're sad, you want a hug." Dan used this, and said "Do you want to hit someone or do you want a hug?" Damian wanted a hug. He didn't say so, but he reached his arms up for one. Good enough. He got his hug and we told him he was feeling sad.

Wednesday 15 August

More pushing boundaries today. Lots of angry crying when he didn't get his way. We coaxed him to use words some to replace the crying. Still a ways to go with that.

After school, we sat in the grass yard to eat lunch. Damian ate some yogurt. When he was done, he got up and started handing me bags, saying "pick up the bag" each time. He wanted to get going. I persuaded him to stay a while (it wasn't time for his OT appointment yet) and we went to the rocking horse. He got on and enjoyed making it bounce; I pretended we were galloping through a field and petted the horse afterward for a job well done. I didn't see it register much with Damian, though he did pet the horse too. But we need to do a lot more of this pretend play, weave Floor Time Three into his life more. He's ready and I think he needs it. I watched a Floor Time therapist work with another kid while we sat in the yard. She was good. She's tentatively scheduled for two sessions per week with Damian starting next month. I hope it works out! It was the first time I watched someone do it and thought, "yes, that's exactly right."

Damian encountered shaving cream at Heidi's today. He didn't like it one bit and wanted to be "all done" right away. She coaxed him into continuing and by the end, he was tolerating it on his hands fairly well. I paid close attention to how she handled his crying resistance, because that's becoming the norm around here. At one point (later, I think it was, when she wanted him to put on his socks) she asked him if he was hurt. He said yes. When she asked where, he pointed to an old scrape on his knee. What a character. But she works with him that way, by saying that if he cries, she thinks he's physically hurting. It's way better than saying "big boys don't cry" like one of his floor time therapists tried to pull. I think it is important to work on by talking about his emotions and suggesting alternates to crying. He's starting to forget about his tissue obsession (as of a few days ago, every tear had to be blotted immediately), so I think the crying may be starting to be less of a crutch.

Tonight he was rummaging in a drawer and found a cat brush. He tried brushing his hair with it. We discouraged him, told him it was for the cat. I suggested he get the hairbrush from the bathroom if he wanted to brush his hair. He set off. Came trotting back with both hairbrush and cat brush. Found the cat. Brushed Dante with the cat brush while brushing his own hair with the other brush. Too funny.

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