In general, little man has been doing very well over the last week or two. Maybe it’s because he’s not been sick and it clears his brain. Maybe his teething has eased a little. Every time Ollie has a breakthrough we hold our breath, because it could mean the beginning of a new hopeful phase, and it could be that he gets sick or has another bout of seizures that inevitably makes him regress.
But this week, I saw my son purposefully communicate with me for the first time. It was so simple, but for any special-needs parents that have non-communicative children, you have an idea of its significance. Oliver is very sweet and very reactive to us, something that many of his buddies are not. But he’s never purposefully talked to us or sought our eye contact specifically. This weekend, I had him sitting on my lap, facing out and he tipped his whole head back and made instant eye contact (also a new behavior, knowing I’m behind him, looking for me and reacting to me once he does). He held that eye contact and made obvious sucking movements with his lips. I gasped, asked him “Are you hungry, buddy? Do you want food?” His eyes lit up and he gave me an ear-to-ear smile. I tried not to scream with excitement and rushed to get him his food. Once I was 3/4 done with his food container, he looked up at me again and scowled, shutting his mouth. “Are you all done?” I asked. His classic Ollie scowl continued and a line of food made its way out his mouth in a spit of acknowledgment. Ok, so two messages in one day. He’s done either “I’m hungry,” or “I want my paci,” to me three times since then.
Ollie’s favorite game is “One, Two, Three….” The rules are simple. You say the numbers in succession and on three, you must do something jiggly, tickly or surprising (NOT scary surprising, mind you) to entertain the boy. In return, you will get smiles by the time you hit number two (that’s anticipation, people, take notes!) and if you’re really blessed, some Ollie giggles. We do it constantly, because it makes us happy to see him prove doctors wrong (many told us not to expect him to ever learn patterns, cause and effect or behaviors). And for that smile.
Here’s Ollie playing with Carrie, his babysitter and Michelle, his Interventionist – two of my favorite people, incidentally.
Every night, Ollie gets a dose of a fairly strong muscle relaxer and seizure med. I hate that he takes it. But man, is he ever ADORABLE when he’s loopy! Chatty McChatterson emerges and he regales us with stories of his adventures for minutes at a time, up to 30-minute bursts. Last night was no exception. And the best part is, I happened to leave the video going on the floor when the giggles began. But the part I REALLY want you to pay attention to is after Daddy starts the game. At some point, Ollie makes a clearly different noise – one he’s never made before – that sounds very much like, “One….” Do you think he’s playing along, or even asking his Daddy to do it again? Or did he just make a new sound while drunk? What do you think? Also tonight, while giggling with Margot in bed, I asked him over and over if he loved Margot. He said another new sound, one that sounded like, “Mah-ohhhh.” Hm. Probably nothing. But a mommy can have a totally irrational moment, can’t she?