In Lieu Of
In Other Words, GO BACK TO BED

The Missing N

Today was the last day of preschool. A stunningly non-momentous occasion, made even more so by the facts that the end-of-year party already happened yesterday, and that our classroom's little fake diplomas had mysteriously gone missing. We were presented with a laminated piece of construction paper with a poem on it instead. I'm sitting here staring at the thing, thinking...well, I guess I'm supposed to keep this, because they LAMINATED it, but...eh, I guess I'll just put it up on the fridge, or something. Or in this nice pile of bills.

The year ended with a whimper and a sensory bang, as Noah whined all the way to school that he didn't waaaaant to go to school for the paaaaarrrrty, he waaaaaanteeeed to goooooo toooo Bennnnnjaaaamiiiinnnn's houuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssse, and we were late and I was annoyed and had left my coffee on the kitchen counter and realized that the baby had horked blueberries onto my boob and was busy trying to adjust the sling to cover the stain when Noah took one look at the brightly-decorated classroom, with paper lanterns and inflatable beach toys hanging from the ceiling, and decided that whining was not enough to express his displeasure and launched into full-on screaming. The fake grass festooned around the doorway had the audacity to TOUCH HIM when I took his hand and tried to encourage him to go in, and he collapsed on the floor and howled while everybody in the room -- teachers and kids and parents and siblings -- turned around to stare at us just in time to watch him kick over a row of tiny adorable chairs.

"I. WANT. TO. GO. HOME." Noah wailed.

So I shrugged, made eye contact with my one friend in the room -- the one who had spent the entire day before decorating the room and icing shark and beach-themed cupcakes -- and mouthed an apology before walking back out.

"Okay. Let's go home." I told him. "Whatever you want. I'm done."

We made it halfway down the school's hallway before Noah started to mayyyyybe reconsider his stance on the party. He looked absolutely miserable -- he didn't like that different room, with all the extra people and the things and the loudness...but. There were cupcakes.

The cupcakes won out, and we returned.

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I am always simultaneously encouraged and heartbroken to see firsthand just how much Noah struggles in situations like these. He TRIES! He tries so HARD! I watch him attempt to talk to a classmate and...his words just fail him. The words sort of...fall out of his mouth in a jumble instead of an ordered sentence. ("Hey what you doing down there with the carpet truck tunnel?" instead of something like "Hey, are you making a tunnel for the truck on the carpet?") His peer will generally sort of regard him in confusion for a bit before simply turning away because he's not making any sense to her. And then Noah, apparently used this kind of response, will either try again using something he's memorized from the TV (which makes sense, because at least on TV that line seemed to work in a give-and-take conversation), or simply flit off to a corner to talk to himself, or line up some toys in rainbow order, turning his back on the rest of the world for awhile.

And then he gets up and tries again. And again and again and again.

***

Today was anti-climatic. Half the class was already off and gone on summer vacations, stuff was rapidly disappearing off the walls and bulletin boards, and I realized I'd neglected to even get a card for Noah's teachers, much less a gift. His teacher hugged me anyway and told me to patient, to fight, that while it might seem dark and scary and sad right now, we'd get there. Someday, we'd get there.

I collected a thick pile of art projects and photos from his cubby and we left for the very last time. For old times sake, I felt just as nauseous and anxious as I have every day since...oh, December, since his teacher threatened to expel him.

***

I don't usually make a habit of reading my archives -- I regard them for the most part as testaments to what a moron I once was, though the un-moroning of Amy is still a work in progress -- but the other day I happened across of the first entries I wrote about preschool. And I REALLY couldn't read them. My hope and optimism are so fresh and unwounded and downright dripping with sugary sweet naivete. This was going to be okay! This was going to be more than okay! I'm going to just go ahead and stop worrying about anything because we're SO TOTALLY OKAY!

Reading them is like watching a teenage girl in the grips of puppy love throttle towards the inevitable heartbreak while doodling little hearts all over her angst-y mix tapes.

***

When I got home I started sorting through the pile of art projects -- the first real bounty I've seen in months, since our last progress report noted that "Art is no longer one of Noah's choices." There was a baggie full of small squares featuring letters of the alphabet. I sat on the floor and lined them up.

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The kids had done one square a week, as they worked through each letter. Our collection is missing N, and then stops all together at S, marking the point when Noah either stopped participating all together or when the teachers decided to stop fooling us and making squares for him.

I tried to find any evidence of Noah's actual handywork -- I'm pretty sure he did the E, because the three googly eyeballs are lined up to perfectly resemble a traffic light: red, yellow and green. I know he didn't do the G because it's got another kid's initials on it. Several of them give me a clear mental picture of his teacher trying hard, cajoling him, bribing him, pleading with him to just put a prepasted and precut-out figure SOMEWHERE on the paper, look, here, I did part of it for you, before Noah finally maybe obliged and placed a letter halfway on the paper before running off to the corner to line up more toys.

Basically, just like we do at home, over everything, every day of our lives.

Most of 'em, though? Noah totally had nothing to do with. Good thing they're not laminated.

***
Tonight we're going to a parents' orientation thing at the OT/sensory integration summer camp Noah will start in a couple weeks.

(By the way, does anybody else get as annoyed by the "no children allowed" nature of these things as I do? Hi, I've just handed over half of the contents of my savings account to you, could you maybe think about bringing in some college interns for the night to watch the kids for an hour so I don't have to pay a babysitter with the change I found in my couch cushions?)

I have rearranged my entire life to accomodate taking Noah to this camp, my mornings will be spent camped at a Starbucks or wandering around Not Buying Things At Target and hopefully keeping Ezra somehow entertained and adequately mothered while waiting to pick Noah up -- since the traffic won't allow for driving home and back in time. I have filled out all the paperwork, the case histories, the my child does this never/sometimes/always questionnaires; I have collected the previous evaluations and assessments and the triplicate copies of our IEP. All so we can start over, try again.

I am hopeful. I am optimistic. It is going to be okay.

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It's going to be more than okay.

Comments

A teacher

I had a student who memorized lines movies and TV shows and repeated them when appropriate or inappropriate...he's now in 2nd grade and does not do that any longer. I had another student who would freak out when the classroom was different...I realized how much easier our lives were when I would tell that student before going home for the day and again before I opened the classroom door in the morning that something was different.- Thank God for cupcakes right?!

Tiffany

Gahhh, I'm still a mess from the last entry-and this nearly put me over the edge!
Good luck to you and Noah as you take the next step. I'll be thinking of you, total-stranger-were-it-not-for-the-interwebs.

mairim

Amy, I've been reading since before Noah was born and rarely comment, but I just have to tell you how much this post ( and all others describing your journey with Noah) has touched me. You face each challenge with such bravery, determination and patience, and the constant overwhelming love for Noah is so amazing to behold. I know that with a parent like you he can't help but succeed.

yet another from the legions of Amys

I haven't read the whole post, yet, but I have to respond to this:

"And then Noah, apparently used this kind of response, will either try again using something he's memorized from the TV (which makes sense, because at least on TV that line seemed to work in a give-and-take conversation)..."

I've been teaching for 11 years. I have an autistic student that I've been teaching for the last 4 years. I've studied ASD. And this bit right there made me go "AHA!" This kid is constantly quoting tv and video games. His social skills are poor--they've progressed amazingly up until this point, the end of 6th grade, but he has a long way to go. Of course he's quoting tv. it makes perfect sense now--I'm a little embarassed I hadn't put that together before.

Maureen

Of course it will be OK. It'll be more than OK. We're all here pulling for you guys.

jodifur

on mondays and fridays you will come to my house. B/c apparently we are not moving.

Nancy R

I'm sending you and Ezra 'cool park, preferably with baby swings' vibes with the hopes that one will turn up in just the right location and add to your morning options.

Mar

oh man. He is SO LOVED. I know nothing else that might matter here, but that has got to count for a lot.

Catherine S

It will be okay!! With such a stinkin cute kid and a wicked good mom, how could it not be?

I just started my very young (9 months) little boy on a sensory diet with an OT friend of mine. My kid is just... very quirky for a child his age. Not sure if there is anything serious to worry about now, but figured it is never too early to get started. I have you to thank for even being aware of sensory issues, so a big THANK YOU!!

Shannon

Man, this put me over the edge too. The image of him just trying SO HARD and the incredible love you give him made me just want to give you all a big virtual hug (somehow, just not as fulfilling as the real kind, tho). All that love will make it much more than OK. Here's some "amazing summer camp, totally worth the time and money" vibes to add to the cool playground vibes.

G

Ugh. I never comment for fear of looking like a dumbass but wanted to let you know my fingers are crossed for you guys. Your posts are so sweet and honest and heartfelt and sometimes I get sad when I am at the end of one because I just want to keep on reading. :)

I have an almost 5 year old with sensory issues and some days I can barely get out of bed... I just remember that somehow things will be ok. They really will.

JRM

Be sure to include the last picture you included in this post. NOM NOM on the dimples.

Elizabeth

Oh Amy, it will totally be okay, you go ahead and be as mix-tape-angsty as you need to be. You are doing such a great job! I'm sure you have days that are just so draining, I mean, 3 year olds are so stubborn as it is, it must be quadrupley hard with his sensory issues.

Happy graduation, Noah!

Mouse

I started copying those always/sometimes/never questionnaires once I realized that some places use the same one and many have similar questions. When I was asked to send in copies of all previous paperwork for the autism evaluation, I made something like 80 copies. And the file continues to grow...

Starbuck

I'm sorry you have to watch Noah struggle. But you are doing everything humanly possible to get him through and past this. While it may be little consolation now, one day you will look back with awe at the boy Noah was to the man he is. And your heart will swell with pride at all he has accomplished.

Molly

I work at a special needs summer camp, and we have a lot of kids with sensory stuff. When parents come in to meet with the camp director/chat we have staffers meet with the kids at the same time, to get to know them/determine placement/bask in the cuteness of future campers.

kim

In reading the part about TV lines, I thought of one of my best friends from college. We are 30 now, and most of us think he probably has some form of aspbergers (sp?) -- but the point is that at 30, he is an awesome, witty, wonderful, whipsmart guy. As a teacher, I know that kids all move at their own pace. You are doing a wonderful job with Noah, and while the road will be rough, it is going to be more than ok.

tutugirl1345

I really, really hope that this camp does great things for you and Noah. You both deserve a break, and a breakthrough.

I suggest you get a Starbucks card and register it. If you use it to buy your drink there, you get two free hours of internet, which is always awesome.

Robin

It can be ok. It will be ok. Just keep chugging along and doing what you're doing, because it helps.
It really does: http://wwwmylifeasitis.blogspot.com/2009/06/cant-get-much-better-than-this.html

Courtney in FL

I always cry when you post about Noah because I can see so much of my two year old in those stories and I am afraid of the future. Thank-You for mentioning the book "The Out-of-Sync-Child", I called an OT the day the book came because I saw my son within the first 10 pages.

Hang in there! :)

Kathy

I know you already have an A in your alphabet line-up, but I give you another A. No kid could ask for a better mom than you.

The Informal Matriarch

I definitely know where you're coming from. My little darling has autism. It's freakin hard!! Hang in there, there's many of us out there who are in it with you!

Amy T.

Oh how much I wish we lived close to each other to get our sweet little socially awkward kids together to ignore each other for playtime! I swear your Noah is identical to my Sarah who is a little bit older, she'll be 4 this month, and I love reading how you put all of the heartache, frustration, joy, pain etc....into words that I never seem to be able to do. I love your line about Noah trying to talk to his friends and being used to their confused responses....I want to cry everytime I see that same thing happen to Sarah. But I want to encourage you that at least he's trying to make conversation even if it's a bit awkward. It's such a great sign that he wants to engage with them and I know he'll figure it out, it's just like getting him to start talking in the beginning, I think it takes these kids more practice and they just have to LEARN what comes naturally to most "typical" kids. My daughter unfortunately just will maybe answer "yes" or "no" if a kid asks her something, and sometimes will just grunt or snarl at them, even though her language is so great now at home or with adults. So, I think Noah actually using his words and making some attempt at all is awesome! Oh, and we too just got accepted to our PPCD school here in Texas and I too am scared and have shed tears over the "short bus"....whew, it's hard, but thanks for putting all of your situation out there because I love reading it and knowing that somebody somewhere knows exactly how I feel!

Angella

It's going to be awesome. I know it.

Bamba

With a great MOM like you, and that adorable NOM NOM dimple face.....I think that Noah is one AWESOME and LUCKY kid!

Kristin

Yes, that no children allowed totally pisses me off.

And, the try, try again is why Noah will not only be ok but he will be AWESOME!

lonek8

let me just reassure you that there is a very good chance all of the communication issues are not Noah's fault. My daughter will go right up to other children, say hi ask their name or say something otherwise perfectly understandable, and they will just stare in response. No reply. I have witnessed adults doing this and let me tell you, if it makes me mad to see a kid refuse to speak to my child you have no idea how infuriating it is to see a fully grown adult who should know better refuse to acknowledge a polite hello from a 3 year old. And the look on my daughter's face of confusion when she is just trying to make friends is heartbreaking. So you can feel for Noah's struggle to get his words out, but keep in mind that the lack of response may just be the infection of rudeness spreading throughout the country. best of luck with the summer camp

Lisa

I really think this WILL be better...a camp tailor made for your special kiddo and an IEP where his specific needs will be addressed. I am pulling for him and for you!!

Lisa

And I meant "special" in the very best sense of the word, by the way. Noah is awesome.

Miss Grace

It's going to be more than okay.

Feather Nester

An especially great post.

It seems pretty redundant at this point to say that my heart aches for you, but on the off chance that it helps, it does.

I am a speech therapist, though I specialize in adults with swallowing disorders--about as far from your kiddo and his language issues as one can get. But I of course had training and have had clients somewhat like him in that training and your description of what it's like to him was so clear and eloquent that I feel like it's given me a deeper insight towards trying to imagine what it's like to be a parent of a child who struggles like that, or to be the child himself. Thank you for that.

Thank you for all the honesty you share. Your love for your sons comes through overwhelmingly.

Birdy

Did you notice that in the last photo the toy girl has her hand on the toy boy's butt? Very kinky for preschool!

Jennifer P

Noah has the best smile EVER.

Elizabeth_K

Your posts about Noah are always so inspiring, and frankly, it is your precious fragile hope that keeps him going --- thank God for it, no matter how painful it seems in retrospect. You'll always have hope for your lovely son, and he'll continue to exceed your expectations.

Katie

It is going to be okay, because he is going to be okay, in his own unique okayness. He will continue to astound you and develop in leaps and bounds because he has parents who believe in him and love him and will do whatever it takes to make sure he gets the best care possible.

Linda

You and HE will be just fine. I know it. Your post is heartbreaking.

amanda

It will be way more than OK. Noah is so lucky to have you. And you are so lucky to have Noah.

Jeanne

I still really wish Noah could come over to play with my little boy. He loves to line things up too. I think they'd have a ball.

I know it was hard, but this year was good, really, because it lead you to the next step and that is all any of us can do. Just move on to the next step.

And maybe Noah could teach Fisher to sing, because my kid? He's tone deaf!

Brooks

I have been on the road you are traveling for nearly 24 years now. One thing that I have learned is that we master measuring progress in vastly different ways than most other parents. My hope for you and Noah is that neither of you ever forget that each step takes you farther down a road less traveled, and that you walk in the footsteps of those of us who have gone ahead. You are doing all the right things, and for all the right reasons. Never stop thinking that "It's going to be more than okay."

Laura

Although I am not living through what you are living through, I can tell you that every time I see a picture of Noah smiling, I think about what a truly beautiful child he is. And what a truly awesome mother you are.

Elizabeth

My youngest is now 8, but that comment about parent meetings with no kids allowed did bring back a few choice memories. When I was a stay-at-homer, my husband traveled a lot, and when he was home he wanted to come to the meeting too, so it meant a sitter. Then, when I worked full time (which doesn't actually change the first problem, now that I think about it), we had a Sunday School director who set up mandatory training for all teachers at 10 AM on a Thursday. (And all parents with kids in the program were required to volunteer - which isn't really volunteering any more.) She offered it twice so everyone could come. I called and asked if she could offer one session on an evening or weekend, and she said no, because she wanted to have those times to spend with her family! Ack!

LaFawn

Please keep faith that all will work out exactly the way it is supposed to for you and your beautiful family. Reading your posts about your little one give me hope, knowledge and understanding as my 2 year old is just starting the process with Infants and Toddlers. I will keep your family in my prayers. Be Blessed.

*m*

My son was very similar to Noah in terms of language and social skills (or lack thereof). The preschool teachers were sweet but didn't know how to help him; neither did I.

Finally got a diagnosis at 4 and he has come a mighty long way. I won't lie and say it has always been easy. But he has friends, he's verbal, he's learning, he rocks. I wish I could go back in time and comfort my old self by telling her/me, "He'll get there."

Instead, I'll tell you. He'll get there.

Emily

I can identify with almost all of what you just wrote. Thank you so much for sharing.

I too spend my days accomodating my sons therapies/camp schedule not buying things at Target. Literally, I do that exact thing.

You are doing a great job. Keep up the good work. When I see those pics of Noah, all is see is a happy and loved kid.

Stacy

I do truly believe that things are going to be okay. Mostly because Noah's mama is willing to take a deep breath and try one more time. And that kind of hope is the best kind.

Good luck and keep trying.

Stacy

I do truly believe that things are going to be okay. Mostly because Noah's mama is willing to take a deep breath and try one more time. And that kind of hope is the best kind.

Good luck and keep trying.

Bea

It will be ok. Honest. It may not be the outcome you'd thought, but it will be ok. I can not thank you enough for sharing these difficult parts of your life, because I know that there are others out there struggling alone.

My parents struggled with my brother for too many years to count. He's now happily married and completely normal (as normal as the rest of us, anyway) these days. NOBODY thought that would happen.

Carrie

What a beautiful, beautiful boy. :)

Jessica (@It's my life...)

Oh Amy, wow I'm so glad that school is behind you now. The whole letter cube thing is so darn depressing. Especially that the teacher tried and then stopped, like she gave up on him. So very very sad.
I'm with you hoping that this new thing will be much better, but at the very least he'll be heading into something where people still believe in him and his potential.

LaFawn

One more thing, if you have the time please read "Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew" by Ellen Notbohm. It is a fairly quick read. I dont have an official diagnosis for my son, because he is still quite young, but there are so many things that this book has to offer for anyone dealing with a sensory sensitive child. I have so much to learn as my little one and I embark on this journey. I am grateful to you for your willingness to share with us all that you and Noah are experiencing on your journey. You are an awesome mom, and Noah is an awesome little man, you will get there:)

Katrin

It IS going to be okay!

I have been reading for more than a year now, but first time commenting I think.

Just wanted to let you know: I admire you and your strength AND the honesty you not only show to us readers but also with yourself. In my opinion, it is very brave to be that honest and open-hearted and needs a strong person.

Plus, you are an amazing mother!

I'm feeling so much with you. All my love to you!

Jennie

Those photos of Noah playing at the party are just adorable. Reading about how well you know him and how you see him trying so hard all the time just brings a tear to my eye. He's an awesome kid and you are an awesome Mom. Best of luck with the camp this summer.

Joyce

I always feel like a dumb ass commenting, too, but just wanted to say... I don't know, something supportive and loving... like what everyone else has said! Crap. Also, try not to beat yourself up about being optimistic and hoping for the best, you are always doing all you can and you didn't know that it was going to be such a crappy preschool experience. It's over and you have a fresh start now. It WILL be ok. I know it's cliche, but Noah is so loved and that is what really matters. Wish we could hang out and have margaritas to celebrate.

kris

RE: the letter squares - I'd look at it as they finally started letting Noah enjoy himself by letting him go line up cars or whatever else he enjoyed doing. Don't look at it as giving up on him look at it as letting Noah be Noah. My oldest brought home very minimal art work his first year of preschool. A piece of paper with one line of paint or a gluing craft with one thing glued on to it. His teacher said he was more interested in playing (he's 7 and he's still that way which has made 1st grade interesting) so that was that.

Good luck this summer. I hope Noah loves camp. At least Target is air conditioned!!

Jeanette

I have lots of those art projects myself.

And I recall my son telling me why he didn't like art in school "The teacher yells at me to finish." No wonder.

We homeschool now and he has found (gasp) that he does like art after all! And he likes himself even more.

Jean

It will be ok, more than OK. You have done something (I know it made you feel ill) that is the critical step to getting Noah the help he needs. All the evaluations, all the discussions are now going to be put into a productive, helpful, nurturing situation where Noah can THRIVE!!! He'll be able to be even more amazing than he is now and the people that will work with him will recognize the amazingness of him. He's beautiful and precious and lovely.

Pam

I have no kids, but your writing moves me. Really, are you writing a book? Your style is very readable and relatable and I would totally buy it.

My wish for you is a very near future with two well-adjusted kids in school, and you with free afternoons to sit around drinking wine and writing.

el-e-e

I have an Rx in my purse for an OT evaluation for my son. I haven't managed to blog about it yet, but I have to thank you for speaking out about Noah's issues; I might not have even thought anything of my son's, if I hadn't been reading you all this time. Gentle hugs to you and Noah.

Cheryl S.

This post hurt my heart. I really do believe that Noah will find his place. I hope the camp helps!!!

Brenda

I wish that you were a town or two away. Grey would be happy to fill in any gaps in conversation left by not understanding Noah.

May Noah find friends who love him for the delightful person he is.

Kendra

Oh, Amy, my heart just aches for you and for Noah. You're doing such wonderful things for him, and you're being to brave and wonderful to share it all with the rest of us. Somehow knowing that there are other moms out there, trying to deal with the heartbreak that seems to be such an integral part of raising children, makes a huge difference to me. I hope it helps you a little.

Noah is beautiful.

Karen

"My hope and optimism are so fresh and unwounded and ownright dripping with sugary sweet naivete."

Oh Amy, my blog is the same way! I keep thinking that my family must be so confused when I write "It isn't autism" and "We're getting there!" and then I write about early intervention and IEPs. It is healthy to have those days when our guys are doing well and days when they melt down at the site of plastic palm trees. (and really, who likes those things anyway?)

I just try to take it a day at a time and continue working on things...although I just noted my basket of TEACCH materials rotting away in the closet last night....soooo breaks are good!

We all need a break and this camp sounds like it will be a fun way to focus on play with a side of OT while you and EZ get a little extra bonding time.

You are a great mom and there are many of us right here with you. Just ignore all of the labeling in these comments though, because I don't think Noah is on the AS...I think he is late talker like my ds and some other things...like those social skills will come with time. I know many kids who speak beautifully but can't wear shoes beacuse their sensory isseus are too great...or they test normally but hate loud noises. Every child has some of the "red flags"...our sons just have the ones more easily recognized in public. (damnit!)

Kyla

I know that exact, "like watching a teenage girl in the grips of puppy love throttle towards the inevitable heartbreak while doodling little hearts all over her angst-y mix tapes" feeling. Exactly. I just want to scoop Poor Naive Kyla up and warn her...but the good news is she gets there on her own, maybe just a little worse for wear.

I hope this camp is great, A. I really do.

Kailee

You're doing it RIGHT. You are.

Bethany

I just wanted to add my own prayers/wishes/good vibes for a great park to turn up near the camp along with a baby-friendly, inexpensive coffee-house.

You really are an inspiration to so many. If there is any truth to karma you are due for great luck and success with Noah because of all the good you put into the world.

Jill

A friend of mine sent her son to OT/sensory integration camp. He must have been about Noah's age. She said it was the best thing she ever did for him! I hope you have a similarly positive experience!!

Sirena

Amy, I hope you never see your hopefulness as negatively naive! We have to hope for the best. I think all of your readers know for certain that with a mom (parents) like you (guys) your wonderful little boy is going to grow up just splendid. Good luck! PS, I don't even have kids and spend plenty of time wandering around trying not to buy things :-)))

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

That last line is right. It will be more than okay. I'm sure.

Maria

It will be more than OK. Noah has a fantastic, loving family... which already pushes him over the halfway mark to more-than-OK.

j

I have been reading for years and can see how hard it is for you to watch Noah going through these difficulties. Since I do not know your personally I am going to take a step back and tell you what I see. One thing I have noticed in your post though is that you are so bitter with this preschool. Those teachers probably have 9 to 15 other kids in the class and do have an obligation to facilitate learning for each one of them. Hopefully your new situation will be better and you can stop being so bitter. This is not YOUR FAULT you need to stop blaming yourself and perhaps better focus your frustration

meowlam

Ahh, Amy - with you and Noah fighting this together...it's gonna be WAY more than okay.

It's gonna be AWESOME.

Just look at that face.

Kassia

This may be the first time I've posted a comment, but I've been reading your blog for a very long time now. I just had to post to say that this particular entry made me get all teary eyed.

I have a good friend who's staring her journey down a similar path with her 2 year old son... the beginning of all the evals, appointments, healthcare referrals... and all I could think to do (aside from listening and being there to help with her younger son) was to give her the link to your blog. She loves it. It has helped. So thank-you for that :)

Stephanie D.

I love your writing, so poignant and honest. My heart aches for sweet Noah...wish I could fix everything for you both... sucks that I can't!
You're a great mom and he's a doll. Just keep on loving him and the rest of the "stuff" will work itself out.
Amy, hugs to you, Noah and Ezra. :)

michele

The one thing that stands out to me in your journey so far is that your faith in 'the system' may have been shaken and some 'professionals' have let you down, but your faith in Noah has never faltered and YOU will never let him down! Stay strong, when you are unsure Noah will lead you!

MsCellania

My Mr. Unique did everything Noah is doing at Special Ed preschool, except he only blurted assorted NOUNS! and occasionally a portion of a sentence he'd heard a few times from PBS. Mostly he screeched, ignored the other kids or lined stuff up.
You won't believe this, but this will all me 'meh' to you in a couple of years.
Because? Noah will be talking! Making friends! Lining crappe up! Beating on you to get his needs met!
But you will be out of the mourning stage and onto the Different is Okay stage.
I promise you, you will.
My fellow is 8 now (yesterday!), going into 2nd grade, and excelling at academics. Not so much the talking part, but he has plenty of friends, plenty of invites to stuff. I lurk at parties and pluck him out of the bunch and leave when I notice his classic signs of distress.
I would also recommend the book 1-2-3 Magic! (Love and Logic for 2 - 12 year olds) for discipline. We started using it when he was 3 and a half (and not talking - just beating on me or doing whatever he wanted, anyway) and have never looked back. He is now extremely well behaved, and if he starts to amp out of control (still happens alot), I simply hold up one finger and quietly say "ONE!" I don't have to talk or tell him what he's doing, or even count to 2 or 3 anymore. It took THREE DAYS to turn my out of control kid into someone who was actually listening to me. A couple of weeks to turn the behavior around.
Now that he's totally addicted to Wii and other computer stuff, I have Big Ammo to get him to behave. And by 'behave', I mean get into the car when requested, go into venues he is leary of, do homework when he'd rather be lining stuff up, etc. If we get to "3", he loses Wii for the only 2 days of the week he gets to play it!
You HAVE TO give your special processing child tools to get his own behavior under control. For us, 1-2-3 Magic! gave me verbal tools to enable him to get control of his emotions and short circuits. Without being mean, or losing it myself. I was running out of wrestling holds!

Cara

I'm so impressed that you could let Noah call the shots about the party, both leaving and returning. I can't imagine how important it is to him to have that control, to decide what he can and can't put up with me. And look at him - he can put up with as long as its worth it. Go Amy! Go Noah!

Leah

Noah probably doesn't have the words to say this yet, so here: "You're doing a good job, mommy."

Brigid Keely

Is... is that a Pterodactyl behind "D" or am I seeing it wrong? And if so, why? Or is that some other flying dinosaur with a... oh. Ok. D for Dinosaur. This, uh, is why I didn't do well in the lower grades of school and on many standardized tests. Over thinking things.

It really really sounds like you are handling Noah and his needs very well. He doesn't want to be someplace, it freaks him out, and you don't insist or punish him. Instead, you leave. And he reconsiders because the issue is not being forced and thus he does not have to Take A Stand, and he winds up having a good time. Win win! you have his back and he has an escape plan. How reassuring that must be for him!

chiquita

Aww, my heart is breaking. I hope the camp will be a good fit for him. He is resilient and he has great support at home. take care of yourself.

Missie

The Noah is more than Okay. He is teh awesome!

Karen

As I read this entry I thought to myself, "don't cry... don't cry.. don't cry." It was touching, it was real. I got teary. Then I noticed something in the last picture... out of focus, just behind Noah there are two dolls lying down together. One doll has its hand on the other doll's butt.

Springsteen fan

I can't hope to equal the eloquence of previous posters, but I am so moved by your love for your kid. Lucky, lucky Noah and good, good Amy for trying so hard, day after freakin' day. It's what moms do, but man, it's a bear sometimes.

Sheryl

Great post, Amy. I am beginning to realize that I relish my time reading your blog so much that I actually check it BEFORE checking my email...

My son will start pre-school in the fall. I'm not going with too high expectations, as I know they will not be met. I'm hoping he can make friends, have fun, play... Amazing to think that this is the beginning of their schooling-life, and they are only three years old.

Finally, if you truly are going to Not Buy Things At Target, you should stay away from the clearance endcaps. I ended up getting wasabi- flavored potato chips, chocolate truffles, and some funky nail polish today because of those damn orange clearance stickers (so cheap! so reduced! so MINE!)

charlotte

Sending you, Noah, and Ez many many hugs from California. So yes, Noah tries, and he tries hard--and that's a very very good thing because he's aware of what he has to overcome. This tells me he'll be ok.

elliemac

yes. yes, it is.

teachergirl

Amy, it's going to be all right because of Noah's parenting. I was discouraged from going into teaching by one of my favorite teachers in the entire world. He told me that it wasn't the students that discouraged him, it was the parents. If you don't get good parents, you aren't going to get good students. Good parents, who are willing to go the extra mile for their kids, make the difference for the students and the teachers and the schools. And you know what? He was right. Good parents make all the difference in the world. You're one of the good parents. He's going to make it because of you.

Plano Mom

Amen to the babysitting. Our elementary school lets the kids play in the gym while the parents meet.

Hang in there, it's going to work out as it should, and you will have the strength to handle it, whatever that may be. I'm still praying for wisdom and peace with your decisions.

Sarah

I cried when I got to the part about Noah's interactions with peers. I really hope the camp provides breakthroughs this summer.

You are an awesome mommy to your special little guys.

Justice Fergie

OH he is SO cute!

And bless his heart for trying over and over again. That's what it's all about.

Crap. Tomorrow is Chatterbox's last day od preschool. I was supposed to buy a gift? Crap.

Sherry

It WILL get better, I promise. Everyone's situation is different, I know, but it's absolutely uncanny just how similar Noah's situation is with my kids', both of whom have SPD. Much love to you, my friend...if I know anything, I know just how difficult it is to be a Momma fo a sensational kid.

Lena

Oh, Amy. You know what I love about your writing? That 2 seconds after I'm tearing up with compassion I read "I know he didn't do the G because it's got another kid's initials on it" which probably isn't even supposed to be funny, but made me laugh out loud because could that make your point any better?

Anyway, I bet Noah will be a writer. All great artists get off to a rocky start.

Wacky Mommy

You're not a moron. You're Amalah and a v. good mommy, to boot. (Go get a copy of that How I Became A Pirate book for the boys, if you haven't already.)

re: "...and decided that whining was not enough to express his displeasure and launched into full-on screaming."

I can relate.

Brandi

Its going to be ok because you are his mom and you love him. Don't give up and neither will he.

Kimm

About the art projects-I used to teach preschool music, 4-6 yr olds, and we "made" a picture at the end of each class-many kids didn't really do a lot to it, maybe point to a bear as we put the glitter on it-but pointing is good:)and the parents had something to talk about with them that related to the songs they learned. Many kids don't like doing art projects or working in a big group. Teachers were wrong to make you feel bad about that. So glad he's not going back there.

Cat

He. Is. So. Beautiful.

Alice

I hear you with the no children rules for the parent meetings. It's not expensive enough?
You guys will be more than ok. Noah has such a tireless advocate in you and your husband. You guys will be great.

MommiePie

Isn't summer camp where everyone finds their own true self anyway? Best of luck to you all and I hope Noah has a totally awesome, fun summer!

Amy

I love that boy and I love how you love him and how you write about it. It's so powerful and moving and heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. You were given this special boy with the room-brightening smile because you are the kind of mom he needs and you are the kind of writer other kids and other moms need. Thanks for sharing your life so beautifully - and your fabulous, wonderful boys!

Elise

Oh, wow, this post sent me back in time 20 years to when I used to babysit a little boy with autism. Sweetest kid ever but he would substitute dialogue from TV commercials in regular conversation, it was heartbreaking to see him try to interact like he knew everyone wanted him to. Sad for him, his parents were in denial about his diagnosis and refused to accept any services.

My friends have a 5 year old with autism who was diagnosed at 18 months. He's been in intensive therapy ever since and has made a lot of progress.

Best of luck to all of you.

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