October 10, 2008 by Marj Hatzell
I have no words to describe the way I feel right now (can you imagine? MOI? NO WORDS? Surely you jest!). This week has been full of amazing things for Bugaboo. It’s as if he suddenly turned a corner in his development and is making connections for the first time.
Bugaboo has major short-term memory loss. It takes many, many, MANY repititions for him to learn something new. Once he has it mastered, it’s never leaving his brain. But getting it into that part of his brain is a different story. We can say something to him, he’ll understand it, and then two minutes later it is gone, as if we never said it in the first place. After about twenty times, he’s all, “OH YEAH! I REMEMBER THIS!” I suppose we could blame the seizures, since they pretty much concentrated in his temporal lobe (which also explains the difficulties with auditory processing). So basically? His brain often acts as if he is deaf. Which is convenient when you are autistic and trying to avoid people anyway. So it’s a win-win! His visual memory is also affected, however, and therefore it takes him a very long time to learn something (and coincidentally, he also has seizures in his occipital lobe. Go figure).
Now, it’s obvious to me that the boy learns things that we do not show him. He sometimes figures things out on the first try. I blame this on “learning by doing.” He learns by rote, memorizing things. And that boy has a memory like an elephant! Once he sees certain landmarks while we are driving, he knows EXACTLY where we are going and gets very excited, clapping his hands and bouncing. I mean, the boy has a homing beacon for Wendy’s or something. He knows when we are within a mile of a Wawa. He’s smaht.
Recently we’ve been excited at all of the new things Bugaboo has been doing. He has tried at least ten new foods this week. We have no idea why he is doing it or where it is coming from but we are ecstatic that he is interested. It started out with him walking around the table to see what we were eating. Now he pretty much tries everything at least once, and has no fear about it. For a child who gags when he sees play dough, this is a huge accomplishment. The fact that he is trying a variety of colors, textures, smells and tastes is nothing short of miraculous. Still no fruits and veggies, but hey! A Girl can’t be too picky!
This week alone he has eaten pork chops, beef jerky, spaghettti, pepperoni, yogurt, pudding, raisins, eggs, graham crackers and waffles. And recently he has tried pancakes, soup, dog food (hey, it’s still edible, right?) different types of snack food and cream cheese. The other day he sat and ate cheese off of a plate. I mean, who woulda thunk it? This is a child who has subsisted on rice crackers for the past three years. He has gone entire weeks eating nothing but apples or cheerios. He’s a stubborn little mule sometimes.
The best part of this is that he is also getting the connection with the toilet. He will sit as long as we want him to but up until recently was all, “You want me to put THAT in THERE? UH-UH! Not gonna do it! I drink that toilet water, woman!” and we were, shall we say, freaking pissed off slightly frustrated that he wouldn’t go on the toilet when he has ABSO-SMURFLY no problem pulling his pants down and squatting behind a tree or peeing on the kitchen floor. And then stimming in it. Yeah, loads of fun here. Suddenly he’s all, “You mean if I go in the toilet you’ll give me my favorite snack? HELLA YEAH!” See? It’s all good.
Which brings me to the next thing I should mention. Remember the other day when I said, “Hey! Guess what he did? You’ll get an award!” And a few people guessed? Well, the three things were poo, coffee grounds and an ENTIRE LOAF OF BREAD. And folks wonder why we don’t replace our worn carpets and shabby furniture? Hmmmm…I wonder. Can’t quite put my finger on it though. And Bug Boy? Took him 55 minutes to consume three pills. Three. As in, the number after two and before four. That’ nearly twenty minutes per pill. Of course, I’m leaving out the part where he fell off of the chair four times, ran to the bathroom twice, got up and walked around when I put Bugaboo on the bus and let the dog out a few times. but this morning he did it in less than ten. It may or may not have something to do with the fact that I was standing over him threatening to put them in his mouth myself. Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that I had a certain DS in a certain hiding place (shhhh…coffee can, don’t tell) and it may or may not be earned if he, perhaps, takes the meds. See? Mommy can be a big meany, just like he says. Meanest mommy ever.