December 2001 page 1 of 2
Saturday 1 December

Bonnie came over to do a floor time session. Dan stayed, at first to take some pictures, but then he realized that she needed some guidance. So he stayed and joined the play. He said at first she was trying to interact with Damian on a higher level than he's capable of, but she did adjust after a while. He's not sure she got what he was trying to show her, though, since he didn't spell it out and she seemed pretty sure of her own way of doing things.

This is a problem, I've come to realize. Every therapist has their own way of doing things and, more importantly, of seeing and evaluating Damian and his needs. They don't have the intimate knowledge of him we do and quite frankly, they're often wrong about him. But their wrong assumptions are coloring their work with him. It's a problem. And I'm not willing to sit in with every floor timer, otherwise I'll lose what little and so-precious free time I have.

We drove to a "Snow Extravaganza", fifty tons of snow and booths and whatnot. We wanted Damian to experience snow. What a bust that was. One toboggan run and a tiny area for kids to stamp on already packed down dirty gray snow. Damian enjoyed slipping and sliding on it, and kicking at it, but it was far too crowded and we didn't stay long. So strange to me that this is how he has to get his taste of winter. Next year, maybe we'll go up to Arrowhead for a weekend.

Fortunately, the event was in a park at the edge of a man-made lake. We walked down to the shore and Damian threw pebbles into the water. He insisted on calling the lake a sea.

As we walked back to the car, we passed a couple of kids rolling down a grassy hill. Damian was fascinated. We suggested he give it a go. He did. Didn't quite understand the concept of tucking arms in to roll, but he nevertheless rolled a few feet. Then he got up and watched the kids again, then tried it again. So nice to see him interested in the actions of other children and wanting to mimic them. He still won't go close, though. Still watching from a distance.

Sunday 2 December

We went to a wrap party for Dan's last job this afternoon. Damian liked the back yard. Avoided people by being outdoors. When we were inside, people kept trying to talk to him and he never replied, even with our coaxing. He did enjoy some M&Ms, though, and I got him to tell me how many he wanted (ten).

The producer/host's wife brought out a box of toy trucks. Damian spent most of the rest of the party -- literally hours -- enjoying the trucks. He used the steamroller to roll gravel flat in a walkway. He used an excavator scoop to lift the gravel up. He found the tiniest little broom you ever saw (the size of my fingernail). He scattered gravel on a rock, then used the broom to sweep it back into the pathway. He was very sweet and quiet and self-contained. It made me a little sad: I think he was doing it as a way to shut out the sensory overload of the party. But he wasn't stimmy at all -- no spinning or running in circles or flapping his hands or banging his head against me (I've seen him do any or all of these when he's stressed/overwhelmed). And it did give us both a chance to enjoy the party. Maybe it was a good thing for him, in a way -- a chance to do something safe (play with toys) in an unsafe environment, therefore making the unsafe feel better.

Monday 3 December

Damian had floor time after school, with his new floor timer Sally. It was such a luxury to pick him up at 1pm instead of 11am. He greeted me fairly warmly. She told me a bit about what they'd done -- playing in the sand yard and so on. I didn't process until later, but it doesn't sound to me like she's working on more than joint attention. No pretend play, at least not that she mentions. And she doesn't say much of anything about him, strengths and weaknesses. Maybe she's still sizing him up.

She did see his avoidance of other kids kicking in. She said he was happy in the sand yard till Jack came in and then Damian split -- and I mean lickety split. Which is telling, I think. Jack was with Kahuna (floor timer), who Damian likes a lot. Jack, though, is in Damian's class and is severely autistic. Probably the most compromised kid in the school. I think Damian doesn't want to be around him.

She also said he played with two other kids in the ball pit for a while. Jean was there (his now-ex-floor timer) -- Sally says Damian's face lights up when he sees Jean. (Which makes me sad to hear, that he's lost someone after he's grown attached to her.) They played briefly and then Damian retreated. Nervous around other kids...

I don't think Mondays are going to work out. We'll probably have to switch to someone else AGAIN. Damian had a minor meltdown as we left, wanting me to carry him, wanting to hold my hand AND Sue's hand to leave the premises. We said goodbye to her and went around the corner to the car. Damian was crying the whole way. I sat down on the sidewalk so I could put him in my lap and hug him. We sat like that for a long time (ten minutes at least). He did NOT want to get in the car and leave the comfort of my presence. It worried me. He was like this Friday too after seeing Sally. I know a large part is exhaustion, though, which is why Mondays won't work. Five hours is too long to be at school on a Monday. After we got in the car, he fell apart, then calmed and fell asleep.

I brought him in the house on my shoulder. He slept till Silver got there and I sat on the couch talking to her for 45 minutes while he continued to sleep. I usually wake him up when he's got a therapist on the premises, so to speak, but I was so worried about him after he was so clingy after school. I wanted to give him extra warmth and closeness and no stress. He woke up naturally and immediately wanted to find Silver's toy bag and get started. So they only had an hour together. It felt like the right thing to do.

Silver agrees with me that the heart of his problem is sensory integration. She says it's so clear that he engages the most when there's a sensory component to the activity. Exactly! She also said that people (therapists) tend to walk in with their own agendas and she believes (strongly) that you need to walk in without any preconceptions, just see the child and engage with him or her. I'm liking her these days. Damian does too; he always gets happy that "Fun-ea" is coming.

Tuesday 4 December

I had a good conversation with Damian's teacher Linda when I picked him up after school. She said she's been seating him next to her during art projects and that this seems to help him focus. Apparently nobody tells you the negatives, just the positives, so you have to get to the previous problems sideways: "Oh, really? Why? Is that new?" So I said, "Was he not focusing before?" She told me that he would sit quietly in his chair and watch the other kids, but wouldn't do the gluing/coloring/cutting on his own. He needs prompting. So she sits with him and keeps him on task, and it's working. He's been staying on task more of his own accord.

She also said they were cleaning up and she heard him singing the clean-up song in a little voice to himself. So she joined him and started softly singing it too. Major points to her. She seemed to be tickled that he was singing to himself.

I talked about how worried we are about his socializing fears. She said that when there's a rowdy group at the play kitchen and he wants to play with it, he marches right in, doesn't avoid the scene. This is good, it is progress of a sort. But as Dan said later, it's just Damian putting blinkers on. He's tuning the kids out, in a way. We want him to tune them in and to have that be okay, not scary. Linda said she'll work on setting him up more with another kid. It sounds like she does already to some extent, has him greet other kids when he gets to school, has him join in an ongoing activity. But it's not enough. I suggested they work on it during yard time, because the gross motor activity can get him feeling more organized and more able to take on the interaction, that maybe the teachers can instigate a ball toss or some such. She said, too, that she'll suggest to Bird that Bird bring one of the other kids from Damian's class into a speech session each week so he's got that carryover. So we'll see.

I also talked to the mom of another sweet, gentle boy about a playdate. May take some coordinating.

Nadia and I caught up on Damian's OT progress. She said she's real pleased, his fine motor abilities are coming along nicely: he holds crayons with a prong grasp and cuts on or near the line and so on. She's working on having him use more pressure to draw. She said, too, that he used to balk at climbing the tire ladder to the jungle gym and now he does it with ease. I told her what we're seeing in the playground too, so much more ease with his body in space. She basically said thinks he's really on track (I interpret this to mean he's close to age level in most OT type abilities) and wanted to know what concerns I had. I said there were two: continuing the sensory work, helping him get comfortable with a wider variety of sensations. And I said I thought the root of his social anxiety was his sensory dysfunction and what could we do about that? Is there a way to help him not feel so defensive and tense around other kids? To see that getting bumped, etc, is not a threat but a normal, even fun thing? She said she may bring another kid into some of his sessions, and when she does group activities in the classroom (which she does every Wednesday), she'll keep aware of that issue, of helping Damian that way. She suggested that Heidi or Rivka (would have to be Rivka) set up a game called bumper cars, where he's on one tire swing and the therapist or another kid is on the other and they bump into each other on purpose. Sounded perfect.

As Nadia and I were talking, Damian wandered into Tia's room (she's the other ST there). He saw a heater and said "hot" for the front and "cold" when he put his hand around the back. She was amused. I saw him take a golf club and swing at balls. He kept hitting them square on. I'm telling you, better than I could do!

After we left school, we went to the Third Street Promenade. I'd promised Damian a go at Toys R Us. He had that go. He enjoyed a fountain, too, and tossed a nickel in the water for good luck. He had a mini meltdown at the idea of leaving the toy store. I said I had to get diapers and grabbed a bag, thinking I could get him to the cash register that way. But it backfired -- I gave up on getting him out that way and started to pick him up and carry him out -- and he got upset and told me to get the diapers! So I stood on line forever to buy these fucking diapers. I told Damian we could forget the diapers, just by some at Ralphs. He insisted we get them now. So I waited some more and then walked through the Promenade with a huge bag of diapers, sitting them on a chair while we ate lunch in a cafe.

He had a good session with Heidi, cutting perfectly on the line (she had to tell him to slow down, though -- he kept cutting too fast and going astray) and brushing his teeth on his own and so on -- but he was very quiet. So quiet. My talkative boy sometimes just clams up. He started to fuss when she wanted him to put his socks on himself, but she said something (I wish I remembered her exact words) about not crying in a kind of teasing voice, and he completely stopped and was fine. She's the only one who can stop his incipient tears like that. It's like he evaluates her words and thinks, "oh, she's right, I'm not really upset after all!"

At home, we played a Damian-instigated game: he ran into his room and shut the door, wanted me to pull it open. But he stayed on the other side keeping it shut, so I had to tug. Then he'd laugh and laugh when he saw me peeking around the door. I couldn't quite figure out the point until he said "I see an eye! I see a mouth! I see a FACE!" and shut the door amid gales of laughter. He wanted me to be a scary monster, only he called it a scary face. So I roared at him and cued him to be scared, so he screamed a small scream. Then I chased him into the room and we took turns scaring and being scared. ("Roar!" "Aaah!" etc.)

Wednesday 5 December

Damian made up his first riddle. "What's something that's nice and furry? It's a cat!" Then he modified it: "What's something that's nice and furry and has ears and a nose and paws? A kitty cat!"

Stayed home: bad night. I wanted to get ready to go to My Gym in the afternoon. Damian was adamant: "I want to stay home!" I asked several times and then decided to let it be and let him have that low key day. Of course, around 2:15 (ie: fifteen minutes after the class started, a good 40 minutes after we needed to leave to attend said class), Damian decided he really wanted to go to gym class. He got really upset when I said he couldn't. Isn't that such an incredibly frustrating three year old reversal?

He's been humming a lot lately and saying/singing nonsense phrases, which I've figured out are actually real words, just morphed a bit. He said "I don't want to eat Mommy's pizza" and then said "I bobt bant boo beet Mommy's pibba."

I've decided to cut down on this daily log. Not that I won't post daily, though I'll feel freer to skip days. But I've started to feel like I have to capture everything, and it's just too time consuming. So I'm hereby trimming the log to a manageable size.

Thursday 6 December

Everyone said Damian was low energy/low affect today. I hope he's not getting sick.

He "helped" me rake the front yard. He stole the big rake from me. I used his toy rake. It worked better! He talked about how he was "raking with the big, big rake" and I was "raking with the tiny rake." Then he stood on the leaf-collecting dust pan (oversized dust pan for yard work). He wanted me to put him in the garbage bin. I gather he was a leaf. So I had him get out of the pan, and I raked him into the pan, then carried the pan with him standing on it over to the leaf bin and kinda sorta put him in. He was pleased. My arms were tired.

Tonight I used a veggie peeler to julienne a carrot into incredibly thin slivers, then steamed it. I sprinkled it on pasta wheels, then covered the whole in grated parmesan. Damian ate it. Well, a few bites. The pasta wasn't cooked right, so he gave up on it. Then Dan made a pita-bread-with-melted-cheese sandwich for Damian. He used the julienned carrot in it. Damian ate it. Step one in the journey toward a fuller palate.

Friday 7 December

He's been in major "stay here" mode this week. Wants to stay at school, at home, outside the house, etc. Pain in the butt.

Bonnie started her session by asking Damian questions like "What are you doing" and "how was school?" Aaaagh! I was blunt: I told her not to do it and said it shuts him down to be put on the spot like that. She did stop, I saw that, but he still didn't respond to her much for most of the session. She told me she did a lot of narrating, and that he responded a bit to that but shut down after a while. We talked a while.

She started talking about Damian sometimes saying nonsensical things, mislabeling objects, and how she doesn't correct them, just goes with that. I asked for clarification: it turned out she meant things like his calling a leaf a bug and using it to scoop dirt. I said he's pretending, using his imagination, that's not nonsense! That's the fucking goal! (Only I didn't say fucking.) I didn't get why she was being so judgmental and then I figured it out: she thought *I* was correcting him when he did that! She said someone must be, because he's so hesitant when he does it. Um, no he's not, not with me. And no, I don't think anyone is. So strange. I got pretty vehement about how I think he needs to be worked with. She ended up suggesting I sit in on her session tomorrow and give tips. I think she's floundering a bit. I hope I can help.

Something's wrong with him. It's been going on for a couple of weeks. Very watery stools, very tired, low affect/tone, and this past week I've seen a lot of perseverating and sensory seeking. He keeps wanting me to rub his forehead. Either he's sick or stressed.

Dan snuck some scrambled egg into Damian's quesadilla tonight. Damian saw it and balked. Wouldn't eat a plain cheese quesadilla after that. His eating habits are getting worse, if that's possible. We're worried about him.

Saturday 8 December

This morning I worked with Bonnie. I did the bulk of the play-interaction with Damian, and he was of course very responsive. I thought I showed her how to be silly with him, how to elaborate on his ideas but keep close to his original thought, etc. She apparently didn't get much beyond "he's already intimate with his mom, so he's more responsive." Gah. And yes, I guess she could be right. She claims he closed down, got quiet, immediately after I left them, and that it once again took most of the session to warm him up again. I wish I could decipher this.

I did see her once try to pull him in a different direction: he was a boat on the water (scooting on his butt), she was a boat too. He was headed off into the kitchen. She tried changing the scenario, putting a ball on her lap and asking him to do something (boat-like) with it. He simply got up and walked into another room. So I do think it's partly her style that's turning him off. He needs more direct support of his ideas, not idea-switching.

He was very stimmy and a little distant around mid day. Terrible eye contact. No, not even terrible. Nonexistent. I asked him to look at me. He couldn't. I put my face right up to his; his eyes veered away. He obviously felt off kilter: he fell apart asking for juice. (Turned out he was upset that we were leaving a hardware store -- he calmed down when Dan got him to articulate that.)

We played doctor/patient and then Dan played a lot with him outside. By evening, Damian was very on. Wonderful direct gaze, very responsive, very present. Whatever it was had gotten resolved.

Which leads us to: he had two pancakes this morning. Was it the gluten??? Dan's persuaded me to try a gluten-free diet for one to two weeks. We have to brainstorm to make it work.

Out to dinner at our favorite Japanese noodle house. Damian enjoyed his rice. A girl walked past the window; she was about three years old. She smiled at him. He gazed back at her. He put his hand up to the window. She put her hand up too. He repositioned his so they matched -- ie, they would have been touching, like a prayer, if not for the glass barrier. Proof: he is interested in other kids. Better they be behind glass, though.

Today he started putting his hands up to his ears when he hears a vacuum/loud car motor. A first. A sign of auditory oversensitivity when he's been underreactive till now. Probably a good sign, oddly enough. (He's not tuning things out.)

Sunday 9 December

Long talk last night. Dan and I have decided to try cutting down Damian's gluten intake, also trying to broaden his palate. Not forcing him to go cold turkey. We also came to the conclusion there may be another culprit to Damian's recent regression, his emotional withdrawal and insecurity. It could be Bonnie. She means well, and I think she's smart and probably good for other kids but he seems to shut down with her and be shut down afterwards too. So not so good for him.

Damian and Dan played with some black glass beads in the bathroom sink. (The sink was filled with water.) I guess there was some airplane reference, I'm not clear on that, but Damian picked up some of the beads and said "The black people are flying in the airplane to the airport," and let them fall back into the water. Imaginative, that.

Whole Foods visit. At the deli case, Dan gave Damian a sample on a toothpick to try. Usually they give cheese samples, and Damian likes that. This time it was... well... Dan told Damian it was "smoky cheese," so he ate it. And liked it. And ate a lot more. It was, in fact, smoked chicken. This marks a whole new food for Damian. A new protein. This is fucking huge if we can keep getting him to eat it. I bought a thick slab of it and I'm going to cut it into chunks and put it on toothpicks!

Damian had no wheat products at all today, no gluten, and he was perfectly fine with it. Sweetened corn cereal for breakfast, sushi rice and smoked "cheese" and corn puffs at Whole Foods (call it lunch a la shopping cart), dinner was rice pasta with his usual butter and parmesan. He cleaned his plate. Never noticed it wasn't semolina. I put a piece of broccoli and a piece of fish on his plate. He actually picked up the broccoli and put it to his mouth before rejecting it.

It's obviously too early to tell if the gluten-free diet is doing anything. He was a little stimmy today. He jumped a lot and asked me to rub his forehead a fair amount (this is something I've started encouraging him ask for when he needs that sensation, it avoids him doing something too close to hitting himself for my comfort and it's got that Mom-soothing element, to boot). Stimmy may be the wrong word for all of this, but he was clearly seeking proprioceptive input. Toe-walked too.

We lit Hannukah candles. Damian liked it. Was bored with the prayers, kept interrupting, wanting to move on to the lighting part.

Meltdown tonight. Didn't want a bath. Fine. Didn't want pajamas/bedtime ritual. Wanted to play with new toys in the living room all night. Not so fine. I had to force his pjs on while listening to him scream and trying to talk to him in a reasonable voice. He did calm down after his pjs were on and we talked to him for a bit. He wanted his new toys with him while he had books and pictures. When he moved from my lap to Dan's, he gathered ALL the toys in his arms. They kept falling out, he kept trying to stack them. He finally did, and moved with the toys intact.

Monday 10 December

I told Rivka that Damian seems less than thrilled pedaling trikes. She put him on a trike. He pedaled the length of the gym and back. Wanted to stay on even though it was the end of the session. Go ahead, kid, prove me wrong. I don't mind.

I listened in on Silver's session with Damian. She was very affirming. Asked him some choice-type questions. We ended up doing a bit together: Damian came to see me and developed this run-from-Mommy-to-Silver-and-back game, which we turned into a sort of double patty cake (clap my hands, clap hers). I don't think she's as inventive as I am, doesn't spend much energy on expanding games, but she does go with what he does and gradually expands. At one point, they were rolling on the living room floor together, then some imaginary critter climbed up "banana mountain" (an unpeeled banana on a plate on the couch).

I asked her afterwards if she felt that -- as a general rule -- Damian was engaged with her the whole session, only at the end, or somewhere in between those two. She said "The whole session, unless he's tired." I told her what Bonnie had said, that he only engaged with her the last ten minutes. I said I thought that for whatever reason, Damian wasn't doing well with Bonnie. Silver told me she'd had a discussion with Bonnie last week about this, in fact. Bonnie felt the same, problems forming the connection.

I called Boss Lady. Told her we want Bonnie to stop coming. Hard to do; I like the woman, and I think she's smart and has many of the right ideas. But it's not clicking for him and is probably doing damage. So that's that.

Damian picked up his small paint roller. He started rolling it on me, said he was "painting the Mommy wall." Then he "painted" my glasses. I pretended I couldn't see. He thought this was funny, kept repeating it, then closed his own eyes to experience blindness for himself.

Tuesday 11 December

I saw Damian during yard time at school. He had an oversized golf club and was using it to hit a big ball. Fun. Another kid came up and grabbed the ball as it rolled. Damian turned away, avoiding any kind of confrontation or interaction. TWO teaching assistants stood by and did NOTHING. A third (the only decent one of the bunch) fetched another ball for Damian, thereby aiding and abetting his avoidance. I was -- and am -- furious. This school is supposed to teach my child how to interact with other kids better? And exactly how are they achieving this? By standing around like dumb asses???

I talked to Linda, his main teacher, about it. She's never out in the yard, so she didn't know they were slacking off. I'm not satisfied, though: how can we trust that things are any better during inside time? Damian would be getting more appropriate help socializing with an aide in a mainstream class. Is it time to think about that sooner rather than later? We need to have a serious talk with Cheri, the school director. She tells us Damian has generalized anxiety and talks about what we can do to help him. What about dealing with it at the source: in the classroom? Isn't that even more important?

Linda did say that Damian had a good day, defined as: he was in a good mood, seemed happy, answered questions without prompting. She paired him with Percy, another high-functioning kid. So she is trying to follow my request and make sure he gets more social time. Apparently, though, it's not the best match as both kids need help/prompting to interact. (Did they get that prompting? Unclear. I didn't think to ask.)

On the way home from Heidi's, Damian started squealing in a high pitched tone. First I pretended he was a mouse, so I was a mouse too. We had a high pitched conversation about mouse food and such. Then my throat hurt so I made my voice go high-low, low-high, and got Damian to mimic me. I felt good that we sustained a good back and forth in the normally-dead car time.

Wednesday 12 December

Dan told me that when he dropped Damian off, he watched for a bit. A kid took a toy away from Damian. Linda (the teacher) retrieved it, gave it back to Damian. Not ten minutes later, a kid took a toy from Damian (another kid, I think). Kenny (TA) retrieved it, gave it back to Damian. This is what my comments yesterday has wrought: they're trying, but really. All they're doing is acting as interference. We need them to teach him to stand up for himself. And the fact that Dan saw this TWICE in ten minutes says that the other kids have learned that it's easy to take toys away from my child. Which in turn says it HAPPENS ALL THE TIME with -- till now -- no teacher watching out for him or trying to change the nature of those interactions.

Yes, I'm still furious. Why do you ask?

Linda told Dan (before he left and witnessed the above) that Damian's a different kid when he's with either of us (his parents). Much more responsive/interactive/engaged. Well, yeah. He's shut down at school. They're not seeing the real kid. We are.

She wants to keep Damian and one other kid inside during yard time, supervise their interaction. Good idea and yet not. He needs the outside time. Craves it. And he'd do far better with supervised interactions out there, when he's revved up by the gross motor activity.

He was funny when we got out of the car at My Gym. He ran along the sidewalk, saying "I'm running to the gym!" Clearly excited to be going. So I engaged him in a back-and-forth about that. Well, I tried. He was kind of stuck on "I'm running on the sidewalk to gym class!"

He did great at My Gym. I swear, there was absolutely no way to tell him apart from the other kids. He sat where he was supposed to, only got up once and that was a justifiable confusion, paid close attention to the teachers, did all the exercises and well, too, from what I saw. And what pleased me most: he wasn't shying away from the other kids. At one point, he sat in an isolated spot around the circle, then got up and moved to sit next to the teacher -- in a more kid-crowded spot. At another point, they were all doing an egg roll (lie on your back, tuck your legs up to your chest and rock from side to side). Damian rolled into the boy next to him. Rolled away. Rolled back. Three or four times. Bumping into the boy every single time and not minding at all.

I'm surprised as hell that I'm saying this, but I think the (almost but not completely) gluten free diet is having an effect! Damian's eye contact is better, he's not stimming at all, he's more present even when he's tired, and he seems more cheerful overall. Knock me over with a feather.

Thursday 13 December

Robin and Jean have joined forces: Damian and another quiet boy, Evan, now play together on Thursdays. Robin said it was amazing how different Damian was around Evan vs. his previous (aggressive) playmate, Bobby. Damian usually didn't want to be around Bobby for long at all; he played with Evan the whole time. Mostly parallel play, but there was some interaction too. Good start, I say.

At the playground: Damian piled sand on a table. A little girl shoved it onto the ground. Clearly wanting to play with him. He left. But only to the other side of the table. Backing off just a little. I encouraged him to play with her, or at least doing the same thing side by side. It sorta kinda worked.

Gamma was pleased with her session with Damian. She said he was engaged the whole time (unlike last week). She said they had a fun back and forth -- she took a toy, said "It's mine!" He pulled it back, said "It's MINE!" They went on like that. Then she was trying to get him to clean up with her. He wasn't interested. She pouted and said "I have to clean up all by myself? That's not fair!" He replied, "That is fair!" And on like that. I like that she's challenging him the way another kid would. And that he responded. Shows he can do well if he's comfortable with the person/situation. Just have to raise his comfort level overall.

Friday 14 December

First time I've had a good conversation with Sally. I asked if they've done any imaginative play yet. She said no, said they were still getting to know each other and she was following his lead, going slow. She told me Damian's been spending time with her in the sand yard lying down drawing patterns in the sand with a rake. (She joins him.) I said "But that's perseverative," and she said "Well, it's comfortable." Meaning: gives him comfort. She said he didn't do that today, though, and that was good, was an improvement.

So I'm feeling better about her as a person and as a floor timer. But Damian freaked out on me again, not wanting to come in from the sand yard. I suggested he needed a mommy hug. He agreed. I hugged him, he felt better but then refused to leave my lap. So there I was sitting on the floor in the school corridor with a very unhappy child on my lap. Sally and Kahuna too (he stopped by) tried to get Damian off my lap so I could stand up and head to the back area with him. No go. I finally had to carry him. I would have simply diagnosed exhaustion, but he only seems to have this falling-apart type of exhaustion after seeing Sally, not after Robin. He didn't take a nap later, either, and he was clingy and obstinate all day. I'm back to thinking Sally's not the best match for him, though I do like her better than I did.

Went out to dinner for our anniversary (fifteen years since our first date!). Brought Damian. Went out for Thai. Damian ate rice linguini with butter and parmesan. Devoured it. Played with a tiny toy airplane. Said "The airplane is flying to the plate airport."

Saturday 15 December

Damian was VERY spacey today and sensory/comfort-seeking, to boot. I haven't seen him like this in a week, not since we took him off gluten. Might be the chocolate cake he had last night, but I think the more likely culprit was his time with Sally. Seems to leave him feeling discombobulated. He was better by evening, after having some good play time with Dan and running around in the back yard, getting his energy up and his body organized.

At one point, I was rocking him and he was incredibly restless. I suggested I sing to him. He liked that idea. Listened quietly. When I sang "I gave my love a cherry," I interrupted myself to explain "A cherry in its blossom, it has no stone." Damian was very interested in this idea that it flowers before it becomes a fruit. I illustrated with my hand, opening it to "blossom" and closing one hand around the other to form the round fruit. He mimicked me and repeated my words. Then he ran his joined fists across my chest and said, "The red round fruit is rolling on Mommy."

I did something Dan had done a couple of days ago, which I thought was a great idea: Damian was lying on the bed and I picked up a pillow, pretending it was a rock falling off a mountain, and dropped it on him. Then I lay down on the pillow, squashing him. Giving him proprioceptive input all over his body in the guise of pretend play.

Damian got excited about playing with Dante. He got a little boisterous and Dante got frisky. He reared up and smacked him in the face with both front paws -- velvet paws -- and then ran off, hoping to be chased. Damian was shocked by being hit, even though it didn't hurt. He started to cry. He was really upset. In a way, this is good -- his feelings were hurt by Dante's rejection. There's a real ability to process his own reaction implicit in that.

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