Sunday, April 26, 2015

Today I know that my son likes pizza

Today we went to my kids' favorite place in the entire world...the zoo. I'm not going to lie, it might be my favorite place too. If you know us or follow my blog, you know that both my son and daughter are on the autism spectrum. My daughter has had a fascination (aka obsession) with elephants since she was barely 3 years old. Last night, laying in bed, I could barely sleep because I knew today was such a big day for us. Not just because we were going to the zoo; we've been to the zoo lots of times. But this was our first trip since last summer and I knew today would be different. Different because so much has happened in our lives since then. None of the usual changes that a typical family would mention, but changes that have altered the way my children and I are able to communicate and engage with each other.

One year ago today, my daughter said "mommy" to me for the first time. She was 4. She had probably used the word 1,000 times before, but in reference to some movie she was reciting. That was the first time she had said it to ME, with purpose. 

My son regressed when he was 18 months old and lost all of his words. We were back to square one. Maybe even lower than that because before we could get him to talk we had to figure out WHY he had stopped talking. He started picking up a couple of words again around his 2nd birthday and then really took off around 2 1/2 years. Today, at age 3, he said "lion", "giraffe", "elephant", "gorilla", "look! Over there!", "outside", "this way!", "mommy", "zoo", "eat", "water". You name it, he said it. There is never a question about what his wants and needs are anymore. When we got home he said "pizza!" He wanted pizza for dinner. What a simple thing for a child to ask for and yet to me, in that moment, it was the most amazing thing in the world. The fact that he can now not only say the word "pizza" but that he knew what he wanted and thought to ask for it floors me. And while I hope I never take for granted moments like that, the truth is I probably will. But right now, on this day, it is still so fresh in my mind what it was like 1 year ago, 2 years ago, when neither of my kids could/would tell me what they wanted, or what they were thinking about, or what they enjoyed. But today I know that my daughter likes to run through the zoo taking in every animal exhibit as quickly as she can. And today I know that my son wants pizza.