I might struggle with meltdowns, but I certainly know to enjoy the good moments. An hour after the above photo was taken, Liev opened up MS Paint and created the following merged image and caption:
This is Liev’s homage to Mathmagic Land, the 1959 Disney cartoon featuring Donald Duck. He printed out his masterpiece and handed it to me. “This is so you know that Donald Duck and numbers are a good pair.”
Amazing. He used google images to find Donald and the numbers, saved them as jpegs, imported the images into Paint, layered them, merged them and printed them out. And he figured this all out by himself.
I will place Donald prominently to remind myself to have courage during the occasional meltdown.
I would like to share a list of wonderful new things Liev can do. One year ago today, he could not do any of the things on this list.
Now Liev can:
Take walks around the block without running off or melting down when he gets home.
Visit with the neighbors; feed their koi, turtles, and ducks.
Play outside independently for fifteen minutes.
Choose a DVD, load it in the player and select the cartoon he wants to watch.
Get dressed and put on socks, shoes and a jacket unaided.
Find and put on clothes the first time he is asked.
Fix a simple snack.
Follow instructions to help Mama cook.
Answer the telephone.
Wash his hands alone.
100% potty trained—no accidents.
95% potty trained at night.
Play responsibly on the computer by staying on approved sites following rules.
Make his own (strange!) Boardmaker stories.
Converse coherently on the phone with Grandma, including greetings, questions, answers, and farewells.
Take a shower and wash his hair.
Stay in his room when asked, no gate needed.
Identify physical symptoms of not feeling well—sore throat, yucky tummy, headache, etc…
Walks to the bus and chooses a seat quickly.
Sits next to another person on the bus.
I feel very proud of my little guy and grateful to everyone who has worked with us to make all of these new skills a part of our lives. Deepest thanks.
BTW, the odd characters in the above journal page are an alphabet Liev and I created. To entertain him last night, I wrote dozens of “secret messages” in our code. He was taken by the “good boy” stories, so I included them in my entry along with his artwork.
Today Papa grabbed the camera to document day two of the Great Short Bus Adventure. T gave his goofiest grin for posterity and we cheered as he drove off. I was worried he would have problems, but he truly enjoys the ride and he comes home calmer than when I drive him.The boat-like swaying of the bus soothes him.
I am so happy this is working out, yet I feel guilty because the bulk of his day is school. That’s eight hours. Eight hours!
When I first realized this, I sunk into a funk. I quit my job to be a mom. I visualized the quality time I would spend with my child and how I would help prepare him for a wonderful, balanced life. After brooding for most of the day, I got over it.
Tyoma cycles through nine teachers and twelve peers each day. He needs playmates, plural, playmates and structure. I work phenomenally hard to provide structure and routine, but there is no way I can meet his socialization needs. I cannot replace the twelve kids that play by his side. One day, Tyoma will graduate to public school and the skill and tolerance he has gained here will benefit him.
Today Tyoma rode the bus for the first time! It went well, I wondered why I kept him off of it for so long!
After yet another snow day, I was so very pleased to see him on his way. Nevertheless, I was shocked by how early the bus left, since it puts him on board for about an hour. I figured that it would be okay since the coming and going of friends and the routine of the process would entertain and soothe him. Besides, we would frequently leave for school very early to drive and talk.
A very nice thing happened in the morning. At 8:00 my friend Ashleigh called to tell me that she saw Tyoma and that he was doing well. I was deeply touched by her concern and thoughtfulness. I look forward to seeing her this weekend at one of her fun parties.
Anyway, Tyoma came home tired but jazzed over his experience. He told me that I am never driving him to school in my “sad car” again. Yay!