February 25, 2012 by Marj Hatzell

Like most new mommies I had pictures and scrapbooks and baby books. Well, at least with Bug Boy (who was Baby Bug back then). Poor Bugaboo!  As is the case with most second or later children, I kinda let it slide after the first eighteen months or so.  It just happens when you have two kids under two and baby sit two nephews and a niece all at the same time. I was a teensy busy and at night the last thing I wanted to do when they were asleep (if they were asleep) was spend hours with a baby book, scissors and picture. I tend to be an online/computer girl. Also? Not crafty in the slightest. So I filled out what I could in those premade baby books.

The truth is that while I did have the best intentions and I’m not crafty and I wanted to do what I could, as the milestones went by and they boys missed one after the other after the other I was sad. I couldn’t bring myself to record things. I read all of those “What to Expect” books and nothing applied. The only thing my boys ever met were physical goals. Their gross motor and fine motor were ok.  But other things? Social goals? Speech? Interactions with others? Nada.

I’ve been on a tear lately organizing, gutting and tossing around my house. Since I don’t get much sleep, things ten to pile up or get shoved in closets. I’ve been working in one room at a time, trying to tidy up the pantry, under sinks, cabinets, closets, dressers and the like. Last week I tackled my closet. You know, the black hole? The pit of despair? Yeah. THAT. Everything else in the house ends up there. Bugaboo’s dresser is in there right now. And his “good” clothes (because he destroys his room and broke his last dresser). Christmas gifts I put aside and hide,  blankets and fabric I need to sew, the hamper for our dirty clothes my shoes and clothes. And piles of crap I’ll never wear again. What’s left of my jewelry that Bugaboo hasn’t destroyed and the kitchen sink.Two bags of trash and four bags for Goodwill later (WHY DO I KEEP THIS CRAP) it looks soooo much better. I even found a present I forgot to give to the boy for their birthdays.

But I also came across their baby books, where they’ve been hidden away for six years, in a box.

I made the mistake of opening them and reading them.

Bug Boy has hit the majority of the milestones at some point. His potty training was early but his speaking/babbling very late, his waving “bye-bye” late. His first favorite food was taters (THAT’S MY BOY!) and he cruised and took his first step at 6 months, walked with no support on the last day of his eighth month.So while it was tough to read that he didn’t speak until he was over 2 and didn’t want to play patty cake or wave to anyone (and still has to be prompted to say hello and goodbye to people) he at least met those later milestones.

You can imagine reading Bugaboo’s was much more difficult.

He rolled over AND slept through the night at one week. Seriously, he was the easiest happiest baby. Foreshadowing?  Perhaps. But he never really crawled much (and crawled first to Shadow, later we found out he was trying to stand up and used her as leverage). Stood at 6 months, walked and cruised around 7 and was walking by himself on the first day of his eighth month. I knew I was in trouble then.

But first word? Blank.

Potty trained? Blank.

Wrote my name? Blank.

And other things, like what he liked to eat, what he liked to do? Nothing has changed. He still likes trains, the color yellow and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He still loves pizza, dough and cereal (though now, wheat free). He will spend all his spare time in the bathtime, just like he did then.

And it’s difficult to read.

I stewed over it all week. I couldn’t bring myself to blog, since I was still processing it. I was sad.

Then yesterday I received his quarterly progress report in his backpack. It detailed where he was in all of his IEP goals since our meeting in November. And folks? He is meeting, exceeding and making great progress towards ALL of his goals. Some of his behaviors increased while we adjusted meds but now we’re back on track. And he’s doing great.

So he doesn’t exactly speak but he communicates with pictures and sign. He isn’t totally potty trained but wears underwear and is 99% successful and independent. He may not yet write his name but he can trace the letters in his name (luckily, only three!) and can type it on his own on the computer.He’s meeting milestones. Different ones. Many different ones. I couldn’t be more proud.

While it may not be the progress we expected, life is full of the unexpected. We’re actually the ones that have changed the most. Bugaboo? Same kid . Same amazing smile. Same adorable, beautiful child with the longest lashes on the planet. Same laid back demeanor. Same sneaky, active kid.

Our boy.

5 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. Barnmaven says:

    I remember when my daughter was in her toddler and pre-K years and her bipolar was completely out of control. I worried so much then that the milestones we would have in life would be worlds different than other people. When my son couldn’t cope with kindergarten it seemed like I cried all the time, wondering how we would be able to survive. Its amazing how a few years later I’ve learned to let go of the worry and celebrate the successes that we have.

    You have such fierce mom-love for your boys. I can’t imagine a better advocate, coach, cheerleader and teacher for them. Their lives might look different than the neurotypical kids, but when you get to celebrate a milestone it has so much more meaning.

  2. spectrumom says:

    It took me years to readjust my goals. And it still sometimes takes my breath away. But my goal now is for my boys to be happy. And to contribute to the world around them. I’ve learned to say “fuck you” to naysayers, and ask “who here is retarded?” to the testers who use tests the boys ignore and then claim they mean something.

  3. Michele says:

    Yay, Bugaboo!! His smile is awesome … Just like his mama’s.

  4. musingsf says:

    Thank you for this post. You provide an honest account of life with a child with autism. Thank for sharing his milestones.

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