When I go on and on about the changes we’ve seen in Caleb since starting the STX 209…this is a perfect illustration of what I’m talking about.
Yesterday, after a long day of school and work, we got home. We followed our normal (read: insane) getting home routine which involves everyone getting upstairs, getting jackets and shoes off, getting Tucker out so he doesn’t make a mess in the house, getting naked (Caleb only) or changed into pajamas (Money only, Daddy doesn’t play along.) It’s a big flurry of activity with Caleb yelling out commands for us as he works through the steps.
This is all routine…habit…after almost 9 years he has got this down. But yesterday when we got home I could tell by Tucker’s bark that he needed to go out NOW, so I raced straight to the back of the house dropping my purse and coat along the way. I made it by the skin of my teeth and when I got back upstairs I was a little short of breath. And perhaps a little hormonal ((TMI, I know.)). So I wasn’t at my most accommodating.
About the 47th time Monkey asked me to hang up his coat because he can’t reach (and we still haven’t put up a hook so he can) I might have snapped a little. I might have looked at him steadily (he is making AWESOME eye contact these days) and said very quietly (in that Mommy-is-this-close-to-losing-her-mind quiet voice)…”Caleb. Mommy is busy. Hang.it.up.yourself.”
He spun away from me and retreated toward the front of the house, he’s a very, very smart boy. I took a couple deep breaths, counted on my fingers and in an “A-HA!” moment realized I wasn’t a little hormonal…I was A LOT hormonal. OK then. I took a few more deep breaths and as I was getting back to normal I heard him return.
“I did it! I did it! Well done!” he exclaimed, half crying and signing ALL DONE with a nice exaggerated movements. This did not make my Mommy heart jump for joy, oh no, this made it sink to my toes. This was the kind of self praise he does when he knows he’s done something he shouldn’t have done. It’s a confession and a not so subtle attempt to tell us what he wants us to say when we see what he has done and an apology for how unhelpful it turned out.
This is the “I picked up dog poop with my bare hands but the floor clean!” self-praise. The “I put dirty dishes in the dishwasher when it was full of clean dishes” self-praise. The “You might want to get a picture of this for Facebook” self-praise. Oy.
I set off, trying to figure out what he could possibly have gotten into in 45 seconds. The dogs were still out, he hadn’t been in the bathroom…or the kitchen. Where was his jacket?? I looked around the living room, doubled back and checked the dining room, glanced at the kitchen and dismissed the idea…he wouldn’t throw away his coat…
“Caleb, where is your coat?
“I did it! Well done!”
He walked around me and out into the hall and came back carrying his stool…the one from the bathroom. I hadn’t even seen him go in the bathroom. He went and put it away while I walked over to the front hall. I looked, expecting at best to find something like…oh…this.
BTW, in case you are wondering, that isn’t my size…
But there was nothing, and his little orange coat kind of stands out. I began to turn to go back into the living room and glanced in the closet and was totally and utterly floored by this…
Do you SEE what he did there? He hung up his coat. He couldn’t reach so he grabbed a stool from the other side of the house. He couldn’t get the jacket to stay on a hanger so he took a hanger down (the one with the inner liner of his coat already on it), looped the jacket over it and hung it back up. Then he put his stool away.
All because I told him to hang up his jacket himself. No prompting of steps, this isn’t something we’ve ever practiced. He just DID it…all by himself. He problem solved and DID it.
THIS is what I’m talking about…this is what this medication has given to him and to our family.