My Caleb has accomplished a lot in his 11 years of life.
The things he's accomplished maybe aren't super impressive from a "normal" point of view, but when you're raising someone with autism, you start to see "success" as a very different thing than you ever thought it could be!
Caleb has successfully figured out how to be a complete pain-in-the-butt to his younger sisters! Why is this an accomplishment? Because he didn't always bother with them at all. He was happy in his own world, in his zone, and the only minding he did of his sisters' was if they took something from him, or insisted on making some sort of terrible noise that really upset him. Now, I'll send them out to play, and he'll pull down the tree branches they're climbing on (dangerous, I know, but also amusing!), he plays tricks like taking all the money out of one girls' piggy bank, and putting it into the other girls' piggy bank, then watches them fight and accuse each other of stealing (that one reminds me of something one of my brothers would have done!), and he loves to sit on them. If they're on the couch, in bed, in the van, he'll just sit on them and smile.
He's also figured out that he can protect them too though; if one of the girls' is getting in trouble, he'll often step in and say (something monotoned like) "you will not be mean to Abigail (or Keziah)?". Yes, it is phrased like a question. Or, if one of the girls is hurt, he'll say (monotoned again), "oh no, are you o.k?" He doesn't always really care, but he has figured out that he is a part of their world, and has a "job" as an older brother. That's a huge leap from when they were babies, and they didn't exist at all (unless they were crying and he'd cover his ears).
Caleb has also in the last few years expanded his eating horizons enormously! Where he once only ate apples, romaine lettuce, Nutella spread, and gluten-free bread (well, and any candy he could get his hands on!), he now eats pretty much any meat I've made-chicken, on or off the bone, hamburger and steak, even fish! And the kid loves bacon! He eats carrots, cucumber, celery, still loves romaine lettuce; he'll eat all berries, pineapple, bananas (this one is only recent to the last few months), potatoes and corn. Does this seem like an "accomplishment" worth mentioning? It is to a parent who wants to give her children, and especially her special needs child, the best food to fuel any and every achievement he sets his mind to! It makes going out easier, it makes sending him to school easier, and a smidge of my mommy-guilt fades when I know he's eating a balanced diet! Mommy-guilt? What? Let's move on... :)
Recently though, Caleb pulled something off that we were never sure he'd manage. Riding a 2-wheeler bike! He's always been not so great at 'driving'; as a young lad he had a battery powered "tractor" he could sit and drive in (pictured above)....and he would just crash into everything (if there was a picture from 2 seconds later, you'd see him crashing!)! He had no sense of his own body and his control over the vehicle. This translated into bike riding, and he'd often steer right off the road and crash into the ditch! In the photo below you can see his Grampie holding the handle bars, while Caleb stares off into space! Not exactly the best way to ride a bike!!!
So, needless to say, taking training wheels off didn't seem like an option!
A few years ago however, our (detached) garage caught fire. We lost everything in it, including Caleb's bike with training wheels. When we went to replace the bike, we got him one that was a better size for him, but also forgot to grab him some training wheels to attach to it. We got it home and thought, "well, we could try to get him riding a 2-wheeler...?" So, we worked at it, and worked at it, and worked at it...then thought, "well, maybe we do just need to get him some training wheels?" That was a defeating thought for my husband, who wants his son to be able to do some 'regular' boy things, including riding a 2-wheeler. So, my husband persisted, stayed patient (long after I could manage!), and finally, one day he sent me a text; a video of Caleb finally riding his bike on his own! I wasn't at home at the time, but I stopped what I was doing and announced to everyone I was with, "Caleb learned to ride his bike!!!" and then I cried!
The video is crappy (from a cell phone), but I love it! I love that Caleb has this new skill, a new freedom. I love his reaction at the end to my husband asking "who's the best bike-rider in the world?!?". Celeb says, "me??". "Yeah, it's you", Adam replies. Caleb's reaction-"wow!" :)
Take nothing for granted when raising a child with special needs. Enjoy each accomplishment, no matter how big or small!
Have a great Thursday!
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
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