Grandpa’s are the best :)

This past week Grandpa (Ed) was in town. Jake was so excited to see him but did his usual activities when he is anxious; he ran around, jumped, bounced, talked in his “jakelish” language and had a difficult time going over to Grandpa to say hi or give him a hug. But it was okay! Grandpa knows Jake well, he understands it takes some time and doesn’t put pressure on Jake to come close to him. He doesn’t beg him for a kiss or a hug. Grandpa lets Jake be Jake and for that I love Grandpa even more! It didn’t take long for Jake to go over to his Grandpa and give him a hug; Jake didn’t feel pressured to do so and that made it so much easier for him to show affection.

What I appreciate the most is that Grandpa doesn’t get offended or upset that Jake won’t run and hug him. I am sure he would love it, Lord knows we all would, but he knows and he gets that this isn’t how Jake is and accepts Jake for who he is. This is a huge load lifted off of me…as Jake’s mom I want everyone he comes in contact with to be understanding, to be supportive and to accept Jake the way God made him. Grandpa does and waits patiently for Jake, he encourages Jake, praises Jake and is probably Jake’s biggest fan!

Jake and Allie adore their grandfather (we all do). He has one of the biggest hearts and does what he can to support and help out where he can. He always has an allowance to give to his grand-kids; Allie was thrilled to receive hers and Jake toted his allwonce around telling us he wanted to go to Amazon and buy another Octonauts toy! It is cool that Jake, somewhat, understands the concept of money ūüôā

Allie enjoyed visiting with her grandfather, driving him around in her “new” car and helping him shop. Jake loved having Grandpa here too. One particular morning Jake was so excited when Grandpa walked through the door; he bounced around screaming “Grandpa’s here, Grandpa’s here”. These kids love him; all 5 of his grand-kids love and adore him! ¬†And what I love most is seeing his face light up when he sees his “kids”!

Our visit was nice and relaxing but was over way too fast! Today he begins his drive back to NY. We will miss his presence more than he will ever know!

We love you Grandpa, thank you for all that you do!!

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sweetest sound

Okay, in case I haven’t told you…Jake is amazing! Everyday he does something new, something fantastic and it is hard not to want to squeeze the poor kid to death! His verbal and language skills are growing every day; it seems over the past 6 months or so they¬†have sky-rocketed. His voice is the sweetest sound to my ears!

The other day we were swimming and Jake wanted to know if he could swim the next day. I told him we would get up, play, eat breakfast, watch Sesame¬†Street and then swim. He likes to clap out schedules so he repeated while clapping “play, breakfast, sesame street and then swim, right mommy?” I told him that was right. He stood there for a few minutes thinking this over, put his hands on his hips and said “breakfast, swim, oh wait…I forgot to play, let me start over. Play, breakfast, swim, sesame street then swimming. I need to tell Sissy. You wait here and I’ll be right back.” The length and the depth of this sentence is awesome, I love that he can remember and repeat all of this. The only down side is we went over this schedule in the early afternoon and we had to hear the play¬†by-play for the next 4 hours and probably 10 times per hour! Honestly, it can be a tad bit frustrating at times because of the repetition but it is his way of remembering, it is his way of making sure he got it right and it probably brings him comfort repeating it over and over and over again. I try my best to not get irritated or frustrated because I longed to hear his voice and I had told myself that when he did start talking I would cherish it all! And I do, I love the growth we have seen in his speech, I love the fact that he changes up my name sometimes from mommy to mama (he never called me mama, you know how babies say it). I love how he calls his sister Sissy, Sis and sometimes he calls her by her name, Allie. I love that he can repeat anything he hears from one of his shows and then proceeds to repeat the scene with his toys. Since Jake started talking he is rarely quiet and that is okay!

Like a typical kid he notices when I am on the phone. I will see that he is settled with breakfast or engaged in playing on the computer or a show and decide to call someone. Seriously, as soon as the other person says hello, Jake is in my face talking to me about whatever he deems important at the time. The other day I told him to go play and that I would talk to him in a few minutes, he stood and looked at me and said “Excuse me mommy, Jakey needs to talk to you. First I play and you talk on the phone then you come play with Jake?” I shook my head yes but with Jake he needs a verbal response. So I told him “yes” and he went to play for like 2 seconds then he was back repeating the same schedule. If I don’t repeat it back to him he will keep on and on and on. Finally I told Jake to go play quietly until I am done, he walks away to play then comes back over and says in a quiet whisper “Jakey is a whisper, I play, you talk on the phone then you come play, right?” ¬†So you can imagine how my friends and family feel when I am on the phone and Jake is awake. There is a constant ‘hang on a minute, I’m sorry, what were you saying, hold on again’…etc. We are working hard on manners right now but like anything else, it’s gonna take a while.

But the sweetest and most precious words that Jake will utter to me in that high-pitched little voice is “come sit with me mommy, it’s time for kisses and cuddles” and he flashes me this smile that melts my heart. Of course I have to stop what I am doing to honor this request because, well…how can I resist?!?!?!


Expect the Unexpected

I can’t believe we are on summer break! Seems like yesterday we just started the new school year. But I have to say, I love summer. I love the relaxed schedule, I love the sunny warm days and I love that I don’t have to make lunches first thing in the morning! But most of all I truly love that I am able to spend much more time with Jake. We have a lot more time to hang out and if I am lucky more opportunities for kisses and cuddles. Kisses and cuddles is a game Jake and I play. I will sit on the couch and tell Jake it is time for kisses and cuddles, he runs away and tells me no that he doesn’t want to kiss and cuddle. But he always comes over for a quick squeeze and a quick kiss. He laughs and will tell me “more kisses and cuddles, pwease!” I would love for him to sit with me for about 10 to 15 minutes and let me squeeze him and I could kiss him as much as I want but Jake really can’t handle that so I take what I can get, 10 to 15 seconds is better than nothing!

This summer Jake is enrolled in social language playgroup two days a week. I had already signed Jake up for the group¬†before I knew his preschool teacher and assistants would be the teachers. I had mixed feelings about this. I thought Jake might be too familiar with them and might not behave accordingly but I also thought it might be a good thing because he already knows them, they know Jake and they know what areas where he needs the most help.¬†I looked at other options, I prayed about it but in the end I kept coming back to this particular group (I’m glad I did).

Before the playgroup we talked about how his teacher’s were going to be there. We read a social story provided by Ms. J. to prepare him for the class. I knew it might be difficult for him to go in and see his school teachers in a different setting. Jake’s first day was this past Tuesday and he seemed excited as we walked to the classroom. But one look inside was all he could bear. He bolted and tried to run off and hide. He told me he wanted to go home and didn’t want to see Ms. J or his other teachers. We sat outside the classroom and watched other friends go inside, he even saw one of his classmates pass by and seemed genuinely excited but there was no way he was going into that classroom without a fight.

Because autism is a processing disorder it is extremely difficult for Jake to connect and process what is going on around him. I can remind him that we talked about how Ms. J, Ms. L and Ms. T were going to be in his class and how he would be in the same room as his other social group etc. I do believe it helps and it does eventually click with him but not as fast as it does with others.

After a few minutes went by and I saw many of the parents leave I knew I had to get him inside. I knew in my heart once we got through the door he would be fine. So I proceeded to push and pull him towards the door. He screamed a little but mostly¬†he just fought me. Jake is 4 feet tall and weighs 60 pounds; I am sufficiently strong enough to keep him in my grasp but the boy is strong. He pushed back and held onto the door for dear life. Another parent saw my struggle and held the door open and I was able to remove Jake’s grasp from the door and push him inside. I am sure we were quite the sight – ha! But once we were inside we sat down in a chair to take it all in. He saw his teacher’s, he saw new friends, he saw a familiar room (we have had social group in this room before). It took Jake about a minute and then¬†he was up, smiling and excited to be there. He went over to the table and started coloring. He was super happy to be there, he told me goodbye, gave me a kiss and for the 3 hours he was there he was great! ¬†We went back on Thursday and repeated the same routine of not wanting to go inside and me pulling him etc. Again he was happy as soon as we got into the classroom and had another great day!

Not sure how Jake will respond on Tuesday when we go back but that is okay…I never know how Jake will respond to anything so I’m sort of used to that! ¬†One thing that this journey has taught me is to “expect the unexpected”! Never thought I would use a quote from Big Brother¬†in regards to our autism life but in fact it is fits us perfectly. I have found that anytime I think something is going to go one way it usually doesn’t so I try to expect the unexpected often. If I don’t do this I get worn down, I might cry or I might throw in the towel. Jake is his on unique self, he has many typical behaviors and many not so typical behaviors. I never know which will show up at any given time so all I can do is roll with whatever comes my way.

Our summer will be filled with a variety of therapies, OT, PT, speech, social group and music therapy but we will also have some down time. Yes, my favorite part of the summer…down time!