Inside an ABA session, kind of

I’m sitting out in the living room, and this is what I hear/see: (I am not sure the therapist wants her name up on this site, so I shall just call her Therapist. Her name begins with “T” so initials won’t much help. 😛

Therapist: “More? More cars?”
Tristan: “ga ga ga, ga ga ga, ga ga ga ga ga GA”
*ambient noise of maracas and shaking stuff*
*random noises that sound like clicking*
Therapist: “Why don’t you finish chewing?”
Therapist: “You found the square! Scribble?”
(I don’t see anything over the baby monitor)
Tristan: *hums first three notes of This Old Man over and over*
Therapist: “Are you looking for matching? Do you want to do matching?”
*clicking sounds*
*chatting about Tristan still eating*
Therapist: “Let’s stand up!”
Therapist: “Squish into your pillow”
Therapist: “Ready? Row, row, row your boat..” *continues singing*
Therapist: *claps and praises Tristan*
*Tristan tries to open the door*
Therapist: “Good clapping!”

Therapist: “London Bridge is falling down..” *continues singing*
Therapist: *claps and praises Tristan*
*Tristan appears on the monitor and starts turning on his naptime music*
*Therapist removes him to refocus*
*Tristan sits on a blue chair, plays with his house toy, and distinctly says “a-ha”
*Tristan plays with the music on house toy while Therapist gathers things*
*Therapist joins Tristan at the house toy and starts talking about what he is doing*
*Tristan continues playing and Therapist begins setting materials onto his table*
*Tristan gets up and walks off the camera view*
*Tristan cackles and says “da” or “that”*
*Therapist physically arranges Tristan in front of table to play with the spinner, which is what she set on the table a moment ago*
*Therapist demonstrates and Tristan fiddles with some of the parts*
*Tristan attends to the clicking sound of the spinner and watches the spinning motion while Therapist attempts to get him to do it himself*
*Suddenly they’re playing a matching game and Tristan is just moving the stuff around*
Therapist: “Ready? Match!”
Tristan: “gaaaaaa!”


* We got our schedule for June. It is considerably different but is comprised of just about as much time. I’m trying to get more time tacked onto the end of playgroup because we’ve consistently had to scurry out of there to beat the *insert various expletives* traffic lights on Tasman Drive. Noon is corporate hell lunch time, and we live smack in the middle of the high tech version of corporate hell. Anyway, the important thing about the June schedule (and the “what’s different”) is that Tristan will be attending the Shining Stars center three days per week. This is a preschool of sorts. 🙂 I will certainly elaborate on it when I get to know it! Also, I think there’s a possibility of seeing a park or other families again outside of the playgroup…

* Sleep is back to normal..ish. It’s much improved and I am Learning Some Shit. We started him on probiotics to help keep his digestive system from giving him so much trouble if that is what it has been. (Remind me that we all need to start fish oil soon!) We’ve also been experimenting with Tristan’s naptime. He does like to go down by about 3:30pm whether he admits it or not, so that’s what I’ll aim for. I also learned between yesterday and today that there is a lot of environmental noise that wakes him up (like people revving motorcycles or honking at the drive-thru next door) that was easy for me to hear as well from the garage, and that he really doesn’t want me hanging around trying to soothe him to sleep because sometimes the crying is part of the process. I knew that about the crying from when he was very young, but somehow I get caught up between the stress of him crying and thinking he will benefit from being soothed.

* We went to Bounce-a-Rama today. Those bastards keep raising the prices. They also keep changing the policies about parental play with their kids, but they didn’t give me any trouble when I joined Tristan this time. I don’t think Tristan is yet ready to play with other children in a bouncer while he doesn’t have a ninja parent, family member, or friend available to either make sure he doesn’t get his back broken by being trampled upon, he doesn’t splatter the shit out of a smaller kid accidentally, or he doesn’t provoke an older kid into a fight with his shoving/touching behavior. Besides, we tend to do the attendants’ jobs of making sure the kids in the structure aren’t being little assholes to each other, so they tend to shut the hell up. Anyway, Tristan really loves the bouncy structure that they toss about 20 balls of different sizes into. This is an “all-ages” bouncer – not that it matters, because the older kids tend to storm the toddler section while toddlers are in it, so what’s the point of having a “safe” place where the babies can go without a clinging parent? Oi. Anyway, Tristan likes hanging out with the older kids and the 20 balls. He also likes the little toddler slide, and he takes turns with other children very nicely on it. However, he also likes to sort of walk off the edge of the slide and tumble down. All in all, both of us got some much needed exercise.

21 months old

It’s been almost a month since Tristan’s started his ABA therapy assessment and whatnot with Stepping Stones in our home. He’s learning a LOT of neat stuff related to play skills and communication.

If for any reason, you have a kiddo and you suspect a delay in communication or the like, get your ass in touch with your local variant of Early Start for an assessment…!!!

The “more” sign – Tristan picked up on the hand sign for the word “more” the first time it was modeled, but he only used it with regard to “more tickle.” He’s getting a lot better and even spontaneous in his offerings of the sign. James spent a lot of time practicing with Tristan when there was a breakthrough moment involving pepperoni. Tristan LOVES pepperoni. He also has proven that he either just craves spicy food or somehow doesn’t notice it. More on that later. Anyway, the sign. I can’t remember offhand all of the situations he’s generalizing it to, but food is a big one and peekaboo is as well.

Play skills – Tristan can stack EIGHT (8) of those putzy little wooden blocks up. That’s at least “up to speed” in that department. Actually, he has an awesome sense of how to balance things when he wants to. Hmm.. he can now roll cars properly and is somewhat interested in them when paired with a ramp toy. He’s learned how to use a Magna-Doodle toy, and prefers to use the magnetic stamps instead of doodling with the pen. He is learning to sit at his new table for activities for several minutes at a time (the chairs are a hazard when he thinks to carry them as a stepstool!).

It’s been really neat that he has taken to the therapists as complete strangers that came in to play. I feel like this whole experience will somehow give him quite a competitive edge in life, because he will be NO stranger to cute girls completely devoting their attention to him. That will probably give him a social edge should he decide he isn’t interested in girls later on as well. I think both he and I are starting to form preferences, but nobody has worried me or made me think they’d be bad for Tristan. I have also been more civil to my family since I am receiving regular breaks from stimulating Tristan in some way.

In, he’s been fairly pleasant and doing neat and/or crazy things…

* This kid loves the spicy food – that wasn’t news in general… but we all know of these, right? (complete with an array of adult vices and fire safety devices)

Yes. THESE fucking things. Tristan devoured, with NO drink available, half a bag of them. And do you know what happens to a child who devours half a bag of those?

You come upon the child first thing in the morning the next day. You see a bit of.. red stuff.. on the sheet. Then, you smell poo and know that the first thing on the agenda will be a diaper change. You get the toddler onto the table reluctantly and notice that his PANTS are also slightly.. reddish. This looks nothing like blood – it looks distinctly like watered down red food coloring. Can you guess what the inside of the diaper looks like in such a scenario?

Yep. Bright red pudding poo everywhere is what happens when your child eats half a bag of those damn Cheetos.

The good news is that if this ever happens to you and you don’t know how your baby will deal with eating such a noxious food, know that it will probably be ok. Half a ton of capsaicin doesn’t seem to hurt either the insides or the skin in contact with the diaper for however long he went between pooping and being taken out of the crib.

* And the LAST thing I wanted to mention is that Tristan is learning how to do neat stuff with the help of red light cues. By “neat stuff,” I mean playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on a musical keyboard with the help of a lit key tutorial. I also mean that he’s been playing his age 2+ alphabet musical toy and able to spell words such as “jewelry,” “museum,” “zoo,” and a few others with similar blinking red light cues. It’s really impressive to see, even when you know that Tristan’s just good at following cues. 🙂

Family schedule shifting

It’s 4:22 and guess who’s not even close to asleep? Did you guess Tristan, or did you think I was going to gab about someone else’s kid?

Tristan’s nap time has officially moved from 3pm to 4pm. He’s also been taking his naps lately without unnecessary waking and screaming, although he’s getting really bratty about going DOWN for them (not a problem, just parental refresher course necessary for me!). Anyway, anyone who thinks they’re all ninjalike and smart because they figured out when to call here needs to reconsider, because we’re off by an hour and change suddenly. 🙂

So, the rough stuff.

I’ve been looking for a way to say this, but it’s kind of hard. It’s hard because it’s uncertain.

Please don’t panic. We’re not panicking. We’re just following the steps.

Don’t Google this shit, either. I want to impress upon you that Tristan is in great health and doing very well.

A chromosomal abnormality has been found in Tristan. There is a duplication. I do not have the numbers straight, so I will not divulge further lest we scare the shit out of people.

We’ve been told that this may not even relate to his autism.

I also want to impress upon you that chromosomal abnormalities exist in many people; testing for such is fairly recently widespread. Him having an abnormality doesn’t mean a whole lot yet.

We have a tiny bit more information but no more RELEVANT information. Just a little bit of description that has changed per person who has told us, so I don’t want to repeat it. Something about WHICH chromosomes and all. I’ll talk about it all when we have it in writing and not just talking to people on the phone.

Now, the relevance. If you’re a member of Tristan’s biological family, we’ll be interviewing you shortly about family health and reproductive stuff. If you’re familiar with me or James during childhood, please; we need your help. They will be studying us extensively to see if this comes from either of us.

No worrying. Just information, please. Send it to me or James privately if you want or post it here if it’s part of our social network.


* If anyone asked what age Tristan went from eating “toddler food” to eating “people food” I would probably mark now as that time. We had luck with a plastic baby fork and lots of stabbable foods like chicken pieces and smushy garbanzo beans. He can jab the fork into his mouth but has to work very hard to overcome the urge to remove the pieces by hand to place them in his mouth instead.

* Tristan has still been demanding chicken soup whenever it is present. This actually requires that either Tristan be served in his high chair (haven’t done that in a while) or I will have to keep the tap flowing at the expense of my bowl. James has been quite the trooper for our sakes and has been doing the bulk of the spoon-feedings with Tristan involving my our precious chicken soup. But just like me, Tristan will continue to require this chicken soup steadily until no more evidence of it exists. This is easier accomplished for Tristan, who isn’t yet aware of every possible container that soup could be stored in. (Since I am aware, I have to cook soup a LOT to feed Tristan some!) But I think that we firmly have a spoon back in use. We’ll have to see if he will try it with less-adored foods. Or whether it really even matters yet. He’s not exactly handicapped without utensils – he just looks weird eating adult food that way.

* It has taken me three days to write this entry, so I will post it for now and try again later.


We decided to head to a local healthyish buffet tonight. The interesting bit is that Tristan was in a “try new foods” sort of mood. Turns out he really likes garbanzo beans. And corn (which we knew from last weekend, where he was eating rice with corn in it). Also, shredded carrots, of all things. He even ate some macaroni and cheese off of a fork (which is a first…). He actually took a liking to the peas, as well (even though he’s never much been into non-dehydrated peas, before hand).

All in all, he really seems to like garbanzo beans – we actually sent me back to get more for him. We managed to roughly finish eating before he really started getting restless (and in this case, restless mainly means grabbing food and dropping it on the floor, repeatedly).

I remember what I forgot – very neat stuff!

That “one thing” I forgot that Tristan has started doing?

Humming a recognizable tune and using that to request a certain song to be either played or sung! Specifically “This Old Man,” although he’s not particular about the words. He probably got used to the tune because all of his Little People toys play it with different lyrics (in and out, stop and go, etc.).

One of those silly little things I got for him was the Discovery Kids MP3 player (you can probably get it for $49.99 if you look around; we got ours at Marshall’s for about that much). It comes preloaded with a lot of kid-oriented music and there’s room to still throw a couple of other songs on top of that. He now knows how to find “This Old Man” and/or request it over and over, and he can even carry it around with him.

So, yeah, if you were wondering when to get your kid a music player, I’d suggest 20 months. Of course, my suggestion is based on one child’s experience, so take that with a grain of salt. And we’re one of those families who gets our kid his own MP3 player, but we’re also one of those families that don’t give him our MP3 players, phones, or keys to play with. 🙂

Now, to get Tristan interested in some of our musical tastes.. muahaha!