The past several weeks Jake’s behaviors have been up and down. I’ve mentioned before how he is like a 3-year-old at times because he’s discovered he doesn’t have to do everything we say. Of course he is required to do what we ask of him but he thinks he doesn’t. Makes me smile in a way. Jake is thinking more for himself and able to verbalize those thoughts more and more each day. But the attitude, his constant use of the word ‘no’ and my least favorite “I can’t”. Oh, and let’s not forget the crossing of his arms and turning away from me when I am talking to him is just the best (sarcasm)! We had this conversation a few days ago;
Me: Stop crashing into the couch.
Me: Because I don’t want you to hurt yourself, okay?
Jake (after pausing to think): I won’t hurt myself! (He crosses his arms and gives me the “look” and turns his back to me)
Me: Yes, you will! Do as I asked and quit crashing into the couch.
Jake: I. don’t. like. that! You’re mean!
His arms are still crossed and trying to act mad but there is a hint of a smile on his face. He stood like this for a minute, waiting for me to react. I just looked at him and said “I’m sad that you think I am mean because I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Jake continues to look at me but doesn’t crash on the couch anymore.
The conversation went on a minute with me explaining that I wanted to keep him safe etc. But afterwards, when he was back to being a good listener (we use this term a lot), I was in awe of his verbal and thinking skills. This time last year he would have cried and not said anything when I told him to stop. He wouldn’t have asked ‘why’ because that word was not in his vocabulary.
I am still not used to him questioning me. I am really not used to him talking to me without me prompting a conversation.
The other night I was reading Jake a story at bedtime. We were reading a book called “Pete’s Big Lunch”; in the story Pete is making a huge sandwich. In the middle of the story Jake says “Hey, I like a chicken sandwich!” I said “you do? that’s great!” and he said “I like it with the rounded bread but I don’t know what that is called.” I ask if he is talking about a bun. Jake said, “YES! I love chicken on a bun, it is gggoooooddd!” I almost didn’t know what to say.
Seeing his progression of behaviors and speech over the past year has been hard but it feels so good to see all the years of therapy coming through. Jake’s had a few weeks at school where he was crying, falling to the floor and telling his teacher or aide that he couldn’t complete his work. He quickly learned that these behaviors were not going to work. Fortunately, his teacher is on the ball and worked with Jake’s resource teacher where they created a behavior plan; it seems to be working and he has had some great days. Like any kid Jake wants to push the limits and see what the consequences will be if he goes too far.
I am pleased that he is testing to see what will be allowed and what won’t be. I am overjoyed that he is using his speech to tell me he loves me and even saying that I am mean. I am glad he is able to understand how the consequences can be good and not to so good. Although it isn’t fun to go through the daily battles; I get so frustrated and it can be really really hard! But I am seeing that Jake is learning, processing information and able to understand more each day! And for that I am thankful.