Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our story part 8: Little Bitty's arrival

I have to backtrack in the timeline a little bit here. A couple of months before Cuddlebug & Bearhug were diagnosed with autism, I became pregnant with Little Bitty. He was born about 2 months after they started therapy.

Little Bitty was a very cheerful and easy-going baby. He wasn’t prone to overstimulation (at least, no more so than the average baby) so we could pretty much take him anywhere. If it was just him, we could make multiple stops in one trip without fear of impending doom.

I was amazed with his ability to communicate through eye contact as a baby. At four or five months, he could tell me he wanted his bottle simply by staring at it. I remember the thrill of how easy it was to read what he was trying to tell me, with very little guesswork involved. And even when I did have to guess, 99% of the time the answer was on the short-list of "most obvious things to try." Hungry, sleepy, needs a diaper change, wants to play, wants his paci... check, check, check. We didn't have to worry about hard-to-guess things like a new picture on the wall making the whole house feel different to him, or the fabric of his onesies driving him crazy.

Like his brothers, he took about a year to actually sleep through the night (we’re 0 for 3 when it comes to sleepers, lol), but unlike his brothers, he was relatively easy to get back to sleep. He woke up, had his midnight (or 3am) snack, and went back to sleep, no fuss. Awesome. At first he was up 2 or 3 times a night, and it slowly tapered off to once or twice.

As he grew, he engaged in interactive play. I remember feeling both excited that he was actually reciprocating my efforts to play, and guilty about being so excited about it. Many of his milestones were not only firsts for him, but firsts for us. No achievement, however "small," went unnoticed or unappreciated. People probably thought we were crazy, bragging about, "he played with a toy... appropriately!" or "check out his eye contact!" LOL.

As he got closer to a year old, he developed a few little quirks (like a fascination with string and licking shiny metal things), but who doesn’t have a few quirks, right? His development overall was right on track, and he was very much a "typical" child.

It was right around 15 months that things began to change, although it was so gradual that it would be several months before we realized what was happening.

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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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