2012 has been a tough year, maybe the toughest of my life. But I survived. It took a lot of support from family and friends, attitude adjustments, and changes in perspective. But I have survived another year with twins on the spectrum.
Last night I was going through boxes and found my journals from years ago. I started reading old entries from 2003; I couldn’t believe how “stressed out” I was or how “desperately I needed a vacation”…I couldn’t help but laugh. Bahahahaha! Now I am actually stressed out and in desperate need of a vacation.
Let’s recap 2012 shall we…
January 2012: Aden and Alex continued their early intervention program at Kennedy Krieger with Tamra. I also captured Aden’s first playful interaction with another child at the playground: http://youtu.be/_ng6hPr3HWk
On Jan 13th Alex said his first 3-word phrase “here you go” as he handed me a toy. By the end of January, Aden had started calling me “Mommy” consistently, before then I was often “Daddy”. Alex had mastered making requests such as “more milk” and simple phrases such as “all done”. The best of all, Aden and Alex were interacting! http://youtu.be/_sIKynpNltU
It was a mild winter; we spent a lot of time at playgrounds. If I found a great fenced in playground, there was no limit how far I would travel to get there. The best one I found was in Harford County at William Paca Elementary- A gem if you’re ever in the area. Three playgrounds total, one fenced in, one partially fenced in, and one in the back of the school with a large field and away from the road. We’ve been to all three!
March 2012: Aden and Alex wrapped up their 6-month program at Kennedy. It was bittersweet. Both were making such great progress I feared they would regress. We continued attending Jillian’s group on Mondays with Julia, our Early Intervention Aide, whom I miss dearly. Karen, our special educator, Sue, our speech therapist, and Mindi, our OT visited bi-weekly. We also continued with Jen at the Vines once a week. With every session the boys were doing something new and magnificent.
May 2012: Aden and Alex started Connections with Justine, Julia, and Brenna. It was a wonderful program. I was also introduced to Marlo and Connie, the best support group ever. I feel like I’ve known them much longer than 6-months. These two have helped me more than they will ever know.
By the end of spring, both boys were in toddler beds (cribs without front rails); both were sleeping through the night (most of the time), and trying new foods such as hummus, guacamole, and tomato soup. It went by fast, with endless play dates, trips to Storyville and the library, backyard gatherings with cousins, birthday parties, you name it! We kept busy. Here’s a clip from the playground, pretty sure this is the first back-and-forth conversation Alex and I had: http://youtu.be/F8QYjry0LAk
June 2012: We kicked off summer with a vacation to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. Overall the trip was a success minus Alex’s pool incident and Aden’s ear infection. Good times. By July we were approved for LISS funding and Aden and Alex started swim lessons at MarTar Swim School. The first lesson was a disaster. Aden cried the entire time, I’m pretty sure I did too. But to see them now and how far they’ve come. Well see for yourself:
Aden: http://youtu.be/PB2nwXoSDrA (and yes Aden pees while standing on the ledge- I was mortified)
August 2012 was filled with transition and change, two things that I do not tolerate well. By the boy’s 3rd birthday we had transitioned out of Infants and Toddlers, no more group on Monday, no more Julia, no more Connections, no more house visits, it was a difficult time. The people who had been such a big part of my life were suddenly gone. But they didn’t leave me empty-handed; they provided me with the tools necessary to help Aden and Alex continue progressing and they also provided me support. I consider all of them my friends.
Sept 2012: Aden and Alex started public school on Sept 6 and both had perfect attendance for the first quarter. Alex started Achievements Sept 10th and Aden started an Autism Speaks study Oct 16th and I began a parent-training, a much needed refresher. Fall went by fast. We were constantly on-the-go and someone days I barely kept my head above the water.
Dec 2012: Christmas was a big improvement from last year. Both seemed more into the holiday, singing Christmas songs, watching Christmas specials. Alex liked Santa, Aden did not. Alex liked opening presents, Aden could care less. Two different children on two different paths. It is difficult to see Alex making such progress with speech and Aden still struggling with 3-word phrases. In comparison to last year when he wasn’t even calling me “Mommy”, now he’s making requests, the same requests Alex mastered in January, he is also amazingly polite and lovable. It’s adorable to hear him say “thank you” (dank-ou) and “I love you” (I-ov-ou). I’d say we’ve come a long way. That’s what I need to focus on.
Every day I encounter a whirlwind of emotion, a constant battle within to stay positive and never give up hope. Hopefully 2013 will offer more peace of mind and less worry and doubt. I hate the fact that at times I cannot control my thoughts and my mind wanders into dark places. The mind is a powerful thing; it’s the only thing I have control over so I must learn to control it.
Happy New Year Everyone!