Thursday was a particularly lovely fall day in Colorado. Things cooled down a little, and ushered in my my favorite time of year. Sweater weather!
Fall has always been my favorite season, and I do love the layering up. Plus putting a sweater over my butt0n-down shirts helps conceal the fact that they may have gotten a bit tighter in the past 6 or 7 months.
The colors have been really beautiful around here, and days like this I particularly love my office, which is in a little loft area on the second floor of our house. I get to look out at some lovely trees while I march through the day’s work.
Henry had a really busy day of therapy, with ABA in the morning, occupational therapy in the afternoon and a doctor’s appointment after that. Given our past experience with overly packed days for Henry, and the tantrums that often came with them, we were a little concerned.
But our boy really stepped up to the plate. He was focused and did a great job with both of his therapists. He participated, engaged, followed directions and did a great job.
After OT, I took the kids to an appointment, and we got stuck in some pretty awful traffic. In the age of COVID, we seldom find ourselves out in the world and dealing with that kind of thing these days, so I admit it felt pretty jarring.
Of course, now that I’m thinking about it, I believe a day or two before, I was engaged in a conversation where I was saying that as much as people complain about Denver traffic, it’s quaint compared to what I used to face in Southern California and Chicago. So I may have jinxed myself.
Luckily, even in the context of that jinx, it didn’t turn out to be TOO bad. We wound up being a few minutes late, which is better than I likely could have said in a similar situation fighting Chicago or LA traffic. Some part of me is probably still stuck on the 405, and I haven’t lived there in twenty years.
Anyway, of course on the way to the appointment, Henry fell asleep, which is almost always a recipe for doom. Like his old man, Henry often wakes up groggy and grouchy from naps. We parked, and I steeled myself to fight the fight, but before I could, Amelia said, “Henry! We’re here!”
Henry immediately snapped awake, and in an almost chipper tone, said, “OK, Mia.”
And that was that. No grog, no grouch. He was up and at ’em. I was surprised enough by that, but then even more pleasantly surprised by the fact that he was awesome in the appointment. Once again, he paid attention, he followed directions, and he was engaged and jovial.
This may sound like a small thing. I’ve been writing some posts in the “Beautiful Boy” series about some of the ups and downs we’ve had with Henry following his autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis, and in one of the upcoming ones I plan to write a little about some of the challenges we’ve had in situations just like this one.
Flashing back a few months, I remember being in this same office and he was grouchy, refusing to follow directions, and sliding into tantrum the entire time. It was super stressful for all involved.
But this time, he was right as rain and even the doctor noticed the difference. She hadn’t seen him in several weeks and remarked at what an incredible job he was doing and how far he had come.
There are days when we slog through all the therapy and all effort and it feels like we’re running on a hamster wheel. Immese effort and just spinning and spinning. But in that moment, I could really see the product of all the hard work Henry has been doing, and I felt immensely proud.
All the time the therapists have spent with him, all the work Erin and I have done with structure and reinforcement, and most importantly, all the effort and focus Henry has put into his own development is really making a difference. It was really encouraging in so many ways.
So he did well, the kids both got suckers as a reward for their excellent cooperative behavior, and we were on our way home. It felt good to see Henry do so well. He is a superhero.
Of course, not every day goes as smoothly, but you take the victories where you can get them, and in this case it’s plain to see it’s part of a larger, positive trend. We walk the path, one step at a time, one day at a time, one success at a time and one sucker at a time.