Tuesday we went to the eye doctor, Mommy went with us to help. When we parked, the office called to preregister the Goofy one and being on the phone, I was going through the motions of getting Alex and Goofy out, not really questioning who was doing what. Mommy got Alex, I got Goofy. I looked back to check on Alex and Mommy and saw she was walking him the old way- directly behind him, both hands fisted in the shoulders of his coat, in full control of every step he took. She was nervous because she didn't know the new him, only who he was, so we traded. I sent Goofy to her, stepped to Alex's side and grabbed the back of his coat in one hand, letting him be in control but keeping him close, setting the pace.
We walked into the building, I'm still on the phone so my attention is mostly on that, partially on the boys. Alex is doing what Alex does, I glance back at Goofy who is skipping along beside Mommy chattering a mile a minute. Inside the building they have this lovely entrance- lots of glass, high ceiling which is perfect for vocal stimming. We walk on down to the bathroom and I take Alex in with me, this room is also perfect for vocal stimming and he goes nuts with it. I finally get off the phone and take Alex into the large stall. I lock the stall door and hang my purse to block the lock but Alex doesn't go for it. He paces the end of the stall enjoying the sound of his squeals and squeaks bouncing back to him. I go to wash my hands and he doesn't run out the door, he paces and stims.
In the waiting room, Alex goes to the play area with Mommy and Goofy, still going with the vocal stims. I sign him in, looking over at them to make sure he's ok. The receptionist says he's fine with his stimming and to not worry about it but after all of these years, I finally know how to stop it. by replacing it. I hand Mommy Alex's cereal and explain to her that the crunchy stops the vocal stim. He starts munching silently on his cereal, looking at Mommy patiently for the next piece.
Yesterday, I had to take Alex with me to Goofy's school. He sat in his seat, looking out the window. Not getting up, not unbuckling, not climbing around the car. When we stopped and the door opened, he waited patiently for me to be ready to unbuckle his seat belt, which took a while because Goofy was horrid. I grabbed him in the new way to walk him in the building and he followed my subtle directions easily. He stayed beside me as I signed Goofy in and got our stickers, he walked beside me to the nurse's office.
In the nurse's office, he sat in his chair and waited patiently for me to get done. I didn't have to look at him, I didn't have to hold him on my lap, I didn't have to stand in front of him. I was free to focus on what we were doing. This is a big change from when I couldn't take my eyes off of him for a second. This is a big change from the beginning of the school year.
We went to the counselor's office. I sat him at the table beside me, I poured some cereal into his bowl lid. and I didn't think about him again except to add more cereal in the whole 15 minutes I talked with the counselor. He sat quietly in his seat, munching away, perfectly content.
As I write this, I'm in the living room, I can't see anything beyond a piece of the kitchen and Alex wanders around. and that's ok. He doesn't have to be in arm's reach anymore. He doesn't have to be in sight anymore. I know where he is and I am confident that I, my husband, his brothers have a handle on what is ok. We have the house Alex-proof. There is nothing upstairs that can hurt him, nothing he can hurt. He can't get out. He's safe in his own home. Finally.
If someone had told me 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago, that things would one day be like this, I'm not sure I would have believed them. The boy is something special. Impressive.