Today started out wonderfully. Tyler and I went to the Post Office, Walmart, and the fish store.
He was more needy than normal and actually wanted me to pick him up quite a bit. But the good thing about that is that it was because he was interacting with his environment and wanting to be involved. He wanted up so that he could see what was happening during checkouts. This is good. This is what I was hoping to see in him.
We still were on Tyler’s Train. That is what I call it when you go out with Tyler. He ends up dictating the flow of the outing. When you have a child with autism, you learn that your child has certain rules about how things are “supposed” to happen. That is the world he can understand and thrive in.
It is important to always push those limits to expand his ability to function, but sometimes you give your 4-year-old a break and hop on the train with no reservations.
Tyler helped me push the cart at Walmart. He had gotten it in his head that he needed new toothpaste so we picked some up. Also got a new yellow Angry Bird toothbrush and a new Angry Bird toy set. Can you tell what Tyler likes?
The big surprise of the day was when I realized I had told Tyler we were going to the fish store. As we were leaving Walmart, I asked him if he was excited about seeing the birds and fish and mice at the pet store. He looked so hurt. “You said fish store. Not pet store.”
The “fish store” is a fish-only store 20 minutes away. The look on Tyler’s face made my decision. I had, in fact, said fish store.
We got back home and played with the new Angry Bird toy. Tyler had interacted with me the entire trip and let me talk him into several things he wasn’t sure about. He interacted with all the environments.
The best part of the day was when he saw something on the kitchen counter and asked, “What is that?” That is his sixth time to ask a question. Ever.
We took a nap and I woke up feeling like death left out in the sun. I spent the rest of the day losing a battle with a migraine that was phenomenally painful and disabling. I was laying on the floor with an ice pack hoping that the fan would shut the hell up because there is no reason why a ceiling fan should be so loud as to make me want to throw up.
There seems to me no reason why a working mother raising two boys, one with autism, should have the additional tribulations of migraines and a bad back. Hello Injustice, nice to meet you!
But you know what? Despite the fact that I had the worst migraine of my life, the progress Tyler showed me today makes this one of the best days of my life and the best day in a long time.
To see my little boy want to know more about his environment. To see him interacting with me. To see him totally engaged with what we were doing. I would pay the price of a migraine and so much more.
It is crazy the things a parent of an autistic child will never take for granted. Small victories to most are monumental to us. Some of those victories stick but many will be lost and have to be won again and again. But each time a victory is won, our hearts soar and our sacrifices and personal struggles melt away.
In that moment, we see the light of hope, the colors of love, the beauty of perspective, and the face of peace.
I want to win victories. Not just for my family but for everyone. For autistic individuals and the world they interact with. That is why I am doing a Walk Now for Autism Speaks event this October. For children like Tyler, for the families, and for the world. If you are willing and able, please click on the link to make a contribution towards winning victories.
From my heart,
New Angry Bird Toy Set
My planted fish tank with four new platys that Tyler helped pick out