Sunday, October 22, 2006

"If He Can Make it There..."

On Saturday, October 21st Michael went into New York City for the first time in 5 years. We live about an hour east of the city. Back in July of 2001, we were crazy enough to take the train in with the big stroller. Never again! I had to carry that stupid thing up and down a million flights of stairs in the subway. I don't know how people in wheelchairs do it. New York City is not a "handicap friendly" city. We were so determined NOT to take the subway back to Penn Station that we walked 40 blocks North, in the rain. It was actually a nice walk- right up 5th ave. But, I never took Michael into Manhattan again. Well, until yesterday.

Like I've written before, Michael has a new friend from Nigeria who we met at Dr. Imam's office. He's 9 years old and has autism also. The boys play so well together and I wanted to get the family out of the boring hotel room. We ended up driving in around 1pm. The traffic wasn't bad and after a few u-turns, I found a parking garage. The family wanted to go on a carriage ride in Central Park (something I've never done) and Michael had fun.

Then we walked a few blocks south to Times Square. We went to this HUGE Toys R Us with a Ferris Wheel inside. It was really a sight to see. Michael enjoyed the store and went on a ride.

One thing we did was make a personalized puzzle. Michael picked out which picture he wanted and which background. I knew he would pick Dora and Diego. The kid is obsessed. He actually says frequently "mommy, abre the door". Did I spell that correctly? It's the spanish word for "open".

Michael really enjoyed the lights in Times Square when we got out of Toys R Us and it was dark. We ate dinner at Planet Hollywood. Which if you haven't been there before, is the noisiest restaurant on the planet. There were about 10 large screen televisions on the walls and the music was pumping. Definately don't bring your autistic child there if they are sensitive to noise. Michael was amused by it all. We ended up leaving the city around 9pm and Michael fell asleep in the car on the way home.

It was a nice trip. The boys had fun. Michael wasn't overwhelmed with the city and actually seemed entertained by it. The high buildings, beeping horns, big buses, crazy taxi cabs, bright lights. It was also nice to be able to enjoy the city. On the walk back to the car, we stopped at Starbucks and Michael was so interested in reading the sign in the window. He walked around the store, finding the word Starbucks on everything. I helped him sound out the word coffee. Today he was wanted to see the photo I took of the sign and was drawing it in his notebook. He really is learning all the important things in life :)

I asked Michael to draw the logo and this is what he did.

Chippendales Chelation

Michael has various sensory problems. He won't eat regular food. He hates to touch the cats. One issue that has changed over the years is his clothes. He used to be able to sit in his own poopy diaper for hours and not care. Now, if the kid gets a drop of liquid, pee or poop on any article of clothes- off it goes!

So, this past Friday (October 20th) we go to Dr. Imam's office for chelation and 5 min. into it, Michael drips orange juice on his shirt. He didn't seem to care about being half naked and of course, it made for interesting pictures. By the way, this week Michael sat really nice and Nick was able to get the needle in on the first try. I think that was the first time it didn't take multiple times.

This week Michael's teacher wrote even more good comments "Michael is a sponge. He has been talking up a storm. His descriptions of things are so amazing. I see such a difference in him from last year, as well as from this summer! He is becoming more social too!" She also wrote how on Friday "he was making fun of his friends".

Oh No! He Understands Holidays Now

Ok. First let me explain (for those who don't know me personally) that I'm not a big holiday person. I have a catholic mother and a jewish father. Michael and I are Unitarians. nyway, Michael used to go to the UU church in Northville with me until he was about 3 years ago. Everyone was very supportive from the church when we got the diagnoses at 2.5 yrs old. We stopped going when I realized Michael was disturbing the service. In a room with 40 people, you really can't have a kid running up and down the aisles screaming.

Our past experiences with Holidays include a crying fit in the arms of Santa when Michael was about 1.5 yrs old, Christmas 2000 and 2001 with Michael stimming off the wrapping paper and not wanting to open his presents, a horrible Halloween experience where I had Michael collect money for the Red Cross in Oct 2001 and people complained (after 9-11) and Michael freaking out from Fireworks.

In a way I was happy that he didn't understand holidays- then I didn't have to fake my way thru the last 7 years. I tried. I put in effort. But, I just got to the place where I thought "wow- this isn't so bad". I celebrate different holidays from most people- first day of school, last day of school, spring training, world series, election day, first days of spring & summer and of course, the beginning of the fall television season. I was even excited to see what new shows would be on Noggin this fall.

Ok, back to Michael. So, now that he is understanding more and participates in activities at his typical school, Michael now understands holidays. And not just the big ones. He can tell you what day is Memorial Day, Vets Day, Columbus Day and "the Jewish Holidays" (as he calls them). He is very interested in seasons, weather, days off from school, etc. He walks around saying "tomorrow it's going to rain- no school, vacation". He's also very into his pumpkins and brings them inside when it rains.

Then he sees some children's videos about Christmas and all he talks about is Santa is coming on December 25th and it's going to snow. NO!!!!!! Presents, Tree, Santa, Snow---- HELP! He singing Christmas songs- and it's October. Wait. MY KID IS SINGING CHRISTMAS SONGS AND WANTING TO SEE SANTA. Holy crap- it's typical behavior. It's progression. Wow. This is a big thing. And it's good. So, I'm going to take all the Christmas stuff out of storage and decorate this year. I'll keep you all posted on how it works out. Wish us luck ;)