Monday, August 7, 2017

Emotional Growth

The first day of school is next week and suddenly I felt like I needed to start preparing Isaac. Last night I got into bed with him and started on my spiel about how we handle situations that make us mad and what to do if someone says something that isn’t nice. Isaac doesn't like when people bump into him, or even accidentally brush up against him--this makes carpet time and standing in line particularly challenging. He seemed to understand that yelling isn't the right path, though we’ll see how it goes when all of this is put into practice. Out of nowhere he started talking about a girl he liked at school and all about how he asked her to be his friend and that his heart thumped out of his chest when he saw her go down the slide—to show me this he joined his hands over his heart and pulled them away from his body and back in. And it dawned on me that I always pray for Isaac to have friends, or even just one buddy, because we’ve never known if he would be able to understand love and relationship the way we do. But I’m finding that as he develops he is starting to understand emotions and is expressing compassion in ways he never did before. Sometimes he even volunteers a hug which is always a special moment for me.

About a month ago, I rested my head on my arms against the kitchen counter and Isaac said, “you have a headache?” I was shocked. He’s never asked or seemed to empathize with another’s feelings or emotions. This was an incredible first. Since then he has asked me if I felt sad, and another time, if I was angry. This is really exciting progress as it shows me that his realm of understanding emotions is broadening. Perhaps this will even help him express his own feelings since to this day, when he is upset, language is the first skill to go.

As Isaac talked about the little girl who made his heart swell, I knew that I needed to start praying for his future life partner and for Isaac's sweet innocence. I think my son will be able to understand love and heartache, and passion and pleasure. It makes me happy to think that he may some day have a meaningful relationship with someone outside of our family. Since the day Isaac was diagnosed, I was saddened by what might be a lack of friendship and quality relationships in his life. But we have seen glimpses of possibility, and because relationship is central to being human, this makes me so happy. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Maine Vacation Day 3

Today we made our way to Port Clyde and went back to the little beach at Owl's Head since we loved it so much. I'd wanted to go back to Rockland to see if the local art shop was open, but Isaac was done for the day and insisted we head back to the house. He's been super flexible on this trip, so we ended the day's adventure and came home to relax which was needed anyway.

Drift-in Beach--the tide was in so we only stopped for a few minutes.


COFFEE!!! We enjoyed a break and a cappuccino in Port Clyde:

 Back at Owl's Head Beach

I try not to get a tan. As you can see, my legs reflect the sun. Only cool people are proud of this.

I have to take pictures of myself so it looks like I was on this vacation, too.

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Maine Vacation Days 1 and 2

All I keep thinking on this trip, is that Isaac has come so far and this allows us to do some things that we used to avoid. Yesterday we were able to go kayaking as a family and I talked to Isaac beforehand about how brave he would have to be since the kayak would rock a little bit. He said, "okay, I try" and handled the whole experience beautifully. Isabella, our born explorer and adventurer, took charge of her own kayak. She had one moment of panic after discovering a spider in her kayak, but was able to work through that issue. As for me, water in general makes me anxious and I was trying not to worry about the kids drowning for most of our kayak trip, but everything went well--no one tipped over, and we all made it back to shore unscathed--except for that spider.

As you'll see in the photos, Charley is with us on this vacation. It's one of our first vacations including a dog and I couldn't be happier. Stella is at home in Ohio enjoying having the run of our house while my mother-in-law takes care of her. Charley did well on the fourteen hour drive. We tried to block him in the back of the van, but he seems to think his head should be between the driver and passenger seat and creates his own third seat (just for his head). The kids did very well and for the most part we were able to maintain Isaac's meal schedule. It's so hard to stick to that schedule when we are away from home and unfortunately, the change in his routine is causing some very frustrating meal-time issues, but that was to be expected.

We've rented a house for the week in Friendship, Maine. We share the property with the owners who are very nice and have allowed us the use of their kayaks. The following pictures are from our first morning walk to the edge of the property:

In the evening went found a little beach area where because the tide was out, we could walk out to the little island to the left.

More mud on the dog...

Isaac stayed in pretty much the same spot the whole time, but he's becoming more interested in exploring.

Random spot where we stopped to check the map on our way to Owl's Head Lighthouse.

Walk to Owl's Head Lighthouse:

Beach area where we spent a while looking for shells and sea glass. I loved this beach area. The rock formations are so interesting and I like looking at how the shadows fall along the crevices. I'll have lots of material for my next watercolor class.

Attempts for a family photo:

In Rockland. By this point Charley is tired of wandering around a small town and decided to lie down in a flower bed--oops! I went to Over the Rainbow Yarn Shop and can't wait to start some new projects with Maine-made yarn!

Outside the Andrew Wyeth Museum. I'd like to go back. We didn't have enough time to actually go in the museum.

Hike to Mt. Battie. Everyone was exhausted and sweaty since it was a very steep climb. I was worried about Isaac but he was a trooper. By this point we were all getting a little slap-happy and then a little angry. Unfortunately, even with the steep climb, we didn't make it to the top since we lost the trail. Walter went back for the car and we then drove the .5 miles left to the summit.

By this point I'm angry at Mt. Battie, and reluctantly took these photos. Isaac sat in the car and refused to get out--ha!

Everyone earned some ice cream, so we stopped in Rockport at River Ducks Ice Cream.

Ironically enough, I think Isaac is the only sleeping well on this trip. He's been snoring so loudly that Isabella has been sleeping on the couch in the living-room.