We decided to try to finally make use of our Benihana gift certificate from Chistmas, today.  Took Tristan to a park in the area beforehand, and let him burn off some steam.  Maybe too much.

Tristan was a bit fussy/restless – managed to ply him with milk and an iPad, for the most part.  He actually consumed some of the mushroom/onion soup they had – which was fairly shocking.  But he wouldn’t eat corn, or rice, etc., which was equally shocking,.

The meal itself was fairly uneventful, for the most part.  Until about the main entree.  Kirin tried to feed Tristan a kernel of corn – and he puked all over.   To the extent that I was unaware he could contain that much… stuff.   It’s somewhat amusing that it’s basically the second time we’ve ever seen him actually puke.  He hit his shirt/pants, as well as the table, and his plate (which, based on the timing, the chef didn’t notice and tried to serve his chicken on, requiring Kirin to argue that the damn well should make a new order of chicken)

One of the others at the table evidently tried to give Kirin advice about how to avoid such in the future (uhhh, we’ve had Tristan puke a grand total of twice in almost three years, and this was a result of him gagging on the food – I think we’re good, thanks).

We, unfortunately, hadn’t really planned for such.  I managed to improvise a new outfit out of a sweatshirt and pair of shorts that happened to be in the car.  He took it fairly well – he got over it pretty much immediately (once he realized I wasn’t taking him to the bathroom, at least).

We wound up taking the food to go – Tristan fell asleep on the way home (he’d woken up at 7:45 this morning, so that part wasn’t shocking).  Thankfully, the food reheated fairly well.

Best part?  In all the chaos of Tristan puking everywhere, I totally forgot to use the gift card – so I guess we’ll be headed back there, eventually.  Maybe we’ll hit the one in Burlingame instead.

Progression in language

James was taking Tristan to bed and I said, “Good night!”  Tristan said, without any sort of prompting, “Good night… mommy!” The ellipsis represents the marked pause he currently has between his (gasp) independent strings of words.

Tristan isn’t just echoing back two word combinations or getting them by chance.  He actually remembers how to do it.  And he’s been calling me “mommy” and James “daddy” a lot lately, even to the point of calling it out if one of us goes to leave.

I never was as overwhelmingly disappointed at not being called “mommy” as other folks have been, but it’s SO nice to hear Tristan using words to refer to me and to his dad.  This represents maturity, intelligence, and independence.  He’s not using only babylike screaming to get our attention.  He remembers who we are and that we have ‘names.’  He’s catching on that words can get him what he wants and all fast ninja-speed like.

Oh, dear god.  He has learned to ask for milk.  While we’re at home, he still seems to have no drink preferences.  However, Tristan knows that both cars contain a case of portable milk cartons.  And since Tristan has learned that saying the word “milk” will earn him milk or at least dialogue on why he must wait for his milk (none in the case, about to hit a restaurant, etc.) he has been requesting milk Every. Single. Time. He. Is. In. A. Car.

We went to Bounce-a-Rama tonight.  All of the milk seems to have caught up to Tristan.  He managed to poop so copiously that it exploded out a side of a size 6 diaper.  That’s the largest diaper sold in the babies’ section – if he needs a larger one, we’ll probably have to shop the incontinence supplies.

I’ll pack extra diapers to win more battles in the war of language acquisition!  Extra wipes, too, I suppose..

Gaining skills and noticing things

* Tristan now notices house numbers and makes sure to look for them.  If the number is below 100, he will say the number; if it’s above 100 he will just recite the digits in it.

* His climbing has really improved this past week or two.  He takes major responsibility for his own safety.  He can climb up almost any slide from the bottom, he can climb most of the playground structures, and he isn’t nearly as likely to walk off the side of something dangerous as he was even a few months ago.

* We put him on a “big kid” swing again today and he did a wonderful job on it.  He even managed to dismount without too much trouble, although he promptly walked into my still-moving swing and cracked himself in the face.  He observes the other children on the swing since he understands that they are self-propelling the swings somehow, but I think it will require practice before he’s a soaring swing ninja.


Tristan figured out how to sit on a big kid swing and hold onto the chain today. He’s also officially proficient at climbing random playground structures and being trusted not to walk into dangerous situations more and more. I’m actually writing this while still at the park….?

Yep, I wore blue

It appears to be Autism Awareness Month again!  It’s been a full year since we first had the A- word thrust into our lives at our son’s 18 month well visit.  Since we were told that we could not be certain of our son’s future – whether he’d be independent or social or capable or existing on the same plane as the rest of us.  Never mind the shit parents tend to wonder about their kids’ futures – whether their child will be pretty or smart or a complete asshole.

Not having an idea formed of what autism was, we suddenly found ourselves faced with the presence of a 1 and a half year old child who was at risk of not developing.  I mean, we weren’t at the doctor’s office because Tristan had troubles – they screened him with routine questions during a well visit.  We were aware that Tristan was different; in fact, we suspected that he was at risk of being different and that is one of the reasons I wanted to document his growth and development before he was even born.

I remember when Tristan was just shy of a year old, I could not teach him basic verbal commands that kids seem interested in learning.  The only thing he would “do on command” was to splash water.  He would not high-five, although he’d been taught to do it a few times.  He would not point, wave, or try to say a word on command.  He didn’t seem to understand English that much.  But we weren’t speaking any other language to him.  He wasn’t against being social and around people unless they tried to feed him.

So: we were told that our son had “autism” of “unknown severity, since he’s so young.”

After his diagnosis, we immediately began Early Intervention services.

It’s been a year since that point.  Tristan is two and a half years old and has had such a head start in life because we have had such focused instruction for him.  He fits very few of the negative stereotypes of autism on a daily basis, and he fits some of the fun ones.  He engages with people and has fun with them, although he is shy and aloof.  He interacts with children his own age and plays meaningfully alongside them and sometimes even with them, taking turns.  He loves to show off how well he can talk and is putting several words together now and even requesting things.  His self-stimulation does not get in the way of purposeful play.  He is very attached to us and to his therapists.  He learns from imitation.  He doesn’t put shit in his mouth that other kids his own age don’t, except for the shoulder of his shirt.  He’s kind of patient for a two year old.  He’s a freaking two year old who can read and count – never mind knowing the precursors like the alphabet and what “10” means.

In other words, we were treated to the glory that is knowing your child with autism has a sharp, present mind and wants to reach out and learn.  Far before most people suspect their child with autism has any problem, agewise.  One year after he received his diagnosis, we have hope and dreams for his future instead of the destruction of same.

Because he has this diagnosis, he will receive help with his weak areas rather than the same middle finger kids like him received in my generation.  Because he has this diagnosis, I received a lot of help with a very active child who wore me to the ground on a daily basis with his constant need for supervision – and now he does NOT need such constant supervision.  Because he has this diagnosis, his educational opportunities will be personalized and broader in scope.

I don’t find that scary at all.  What I do find scary is families who delay or refuse therapies or evaluation because they are in denial somehow.  How is refusing to help your child, for fear of a label, going to give your child the assistance in developing skills to cope with the world?

Oh yeah – the “cure autism” bullshit is about as respectful to people with autism as “cure homosexuality” bullshit is to gay people.  Whether you say “autistic person” or “person with autism” is irrelevant.  Just saying.