Yikes. I knew I had not written in a while, but it never occurred to me it had been four months. I guess it is fair to say life around here has been hectic at best and manic at worst. Much has been going on since I last wrote - it is actually hard to know where to start.
I guess the best place is to start where I left off.
I am till practicing saying Sam has autism. There are days when I don't believe it as Sam is so engaged with the people around him. Then there are those days where Sam has retreated so far into his own world, the only thing that is able to pull him out is food or music. In between those two extremes are just everyday life.
It's not like we have locked ourselves in the house and hid from the world. Far from it. We took Sam to a Halloween extravaganza. No, he didn't wear his cute fireman costume longer than five minutes.
But he did have a blast with the decorations and amazing smoke bubble machine.
It was fun seeing Sam surrounded by other kids, enjoying himself. I even caught him making eye contact with one of Irene's friends. It probably helped that she was in a costume and looked different, but still, there was definite eye contact.
Thanksgiving rolled around, which gave me a chance to see Sam and his progress though the eyes of someone who had not seen Sam in a few months. At the last minute, my brother managed to come for an extended weekend and hang out with us. Sam took an instant liking to his Tio, and seemed to really enjoy spending time with him. My brother was shocked at the improvements in Sam. He loved how much Sam was talking, and felt like there was a lot of eye contact. Granted, Brian hadn't seen Sam in almost a year, so some of this improvement could have just been age, but I think had a lot to do with Sam's therapy.
After Thanksgiving, it was a mad dash until Sam, Irene and I got on an airplane and joined my parents for the holidays and New Year in Paris. (Sadly, Peter couldn't make the trip due to a work deadline.) Now, if you read that carefully, you will notice that I said I flew to France with an 8 year old and an autistic 3 year old... by myself.
Amazingly enough, despite all my panic in the weeks before the flight, I had what could best be described as the best eleven hour airplane ride ever. Both kids were fantastic. Irene made friends with the gentleman sitting next to her, and ended up sleeping on his shoulder for five hours. Sam was either listening to music, playing a game on the ipad or sleeping. It was so easy.
And of course, at the end of the long flight - we were in Paris!
Both kids had a blast. I learned to bring headphones with me where ever we went for Sam. This allowed us to spend four hours in the Orangerie and wander the Louvre. Sam looked at the art, people watched a little and listened to his toons.
Yes, I may have relied a little too much on the headphones at times, but Sam was happy, I got to enjoy Paris and we never once got a nasty look for having an unruly child.
We came home from Paris right after the New Year and fell quickly back into the routine of life: shuttling kids from here to there and back here again - with maybe a stop or two in between for whatever.
And through all of it, Sam has continued to excel in his therapy. Every day something new happens that just blows me away. Some I will save for a later post, but my favorite was the spontanious duet he and his sister sang in the car the other day.
This may not sound big to most people, but up until that moment, Sam would throw a temper tantrum any time someone tried to sing one of his songs. For some reason, this time, he asked his sister to sing, and halfway through the song, Sam suddenly joined her on the chorus. It was a truly beautiful moment - one a much savvier mom would have captured on film.
All in all - we are plugging away here watching Sam advance and improve.