Monday, February 06, 2006

What it Takes to Win the War

I was in the middle of drafting a long, unfocused, sad post about this little internal war I've been having -- the war between the accepting part of me and the part that wishes I could simply get rid of the autism, as if it were something I could extract like a bad tooth -- but then realized that my heart wasn't in it at all. I'm sick to death of this internal conflict of mine so why belabor it here? Because the fact is that autism is a part of our lives and so I might as well get on with the accepting. I know for certain that Oliver and I are the only casualties of my little war and that scares me 100 times more than the unknowns of autism. Thankfully, I have the wisdom of my fellow travellers to read that so often helps me find the way. Messages like this one and this one inspire me everyday to make my peace. They remind me of what it takes to win the war.

So instead of what I was going to write I'll share a few highlights from the past few days:

Oliver crawled in bed next to me on Sunday morning and said: "ABCDEFG" just like that. Then later when I was counting his fingers to make sure that they were all there after the long night of sleep, I got to five and he continued: "six, seven, eight, nine." All ten fingers were actually there but my guess is that he wanted to leave a bit of dramatic tension in the air. He's got quite a sense of humor, my boy.

Also, yesterday, there were no clean pants for my boy to wear, as we hadn't finished the laundry yet, and so he spent most of the day running around the house in his underwear. Mid-afternoon I saw him dragging the bin of dirty clothes to the playroom but thought little of it -- Oliver likes to dump things and it seemed a harmless way for him to occupy himself as I cooked dinner. About 10 minutes later he came walking into the kitchen wearing RT's (Resident Teenager's) sweatpants. He was struggling to hold up the waist while attempting to walk without tripping on the too long legs. It was the first time he independantly found an article of clothing and put it on. He looked so delicious standing there that I wanted to eat him.

We had a good 4 day run of no toileting accidents. We've spent a LOT of time in the bathroom since November and it's been a long road.

But I think we are almost there.


  1. Those are all some really great highlights! I am very impressed with the potty training success. I haven't put out that much effort in that department with Andrew yet. I plan on working on it with him more this summer.

    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog. We are all really fine. If you want you can email me so I can reply and explain a little more.

  2. That's great! Oliver sounds like he has some wonderful secrets that he's shared lately! Good luck with the potty training.


  3. What you are feeling is normal. Grief has stages. Stage 1 I think is shock. Stage 2 is despair, Stage 3 is anger and Stage 4 is acceptance. I think I'm somewhere in between 2 and 3. It's hard to imagine I will ever make it to 4. Keep taking it one day at a time. Somedays Oliver will give you everything you need to keep going. Other days he will make you very angry and sad. It's natural.

    At times, I am amazed at where we started when we got Alexander's diagnosis (May 2005) and where we are today. I'm finding that after several "off" days, Alexander will have leap in new skills followed by a couple of good days and then more off days.

    When you think you are most alone, remember, there are others just like you. I often feel alone in this and sometimes I just have to let my self feel the grief.

  4. A most impressive resume at this point. You should be proud and so should Oliver. It took a very long time and a lot of hard work and frustration to get Noah toilet trained, but it is soooo worth the effort. I've met many parents who just don't even bother to try. I always want to say to them that that seems more like giving up to me.

  5. Maybe casualties, but all flags are flying, right? You're moving along close to the ground and sometimes ducking for cover. But you're doing it!

  6. Everyone has their own war...I think we all secretly hope that someone will hold up the little white flag to surrender. In fact, I think that's me. I just have to surrender to the very things you talked about and then bask in the joy of the victories during the small battles.