Yesterday was quite an emotional day for me. And it’s a fairly long story, but I’ll try to keep it short…
Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m the mother of an autistic son. Mr 3 was diagnosed back in March, and with his diagnosis came a turbulent rollercoaster ride of emotions that lasted… well… I guess it’s still kinda going, come to think of it…
So anyway, the diagnosis was also helpful in that it brought ‘closure’, in a sense, to all the questions. It meant that I could feel a little less ‘guilty’ that he had zero interest in toilet training (Miss 7 and Miss 4 were both pretty much trained by their third birthdays) and that he regularly spat his food back out (it took until the diagnosis for me to realise that he was actually gagging on it) and that he wasn’t speaking (lightbulb moment again – if he couldn’t use his mouth muscles to manipulate the food in his mouth properly, then duh! Of course he couldn’t manipulate those same muscles to reproduce speech sounds!) and it also made sense why he HATED bath time – getting into the bath meant an instant tantrum with banshee screams, head thrashing, etc etc etc. And it didn’t matter if it was cold, warm or tepid, bubbles or no bubbles, by himself or with his sisters, the reaction was consistent. I realised that, just like the identical reaction he gave whenever I suggested he try the potty, that it was the sudden change in textures and temperature that was setting it off. So for the past 9 months or so, Mr 3 has had ‘bird baths’ (wet washcloth – there’s still a tantrum but it’s over quicker) and the potty has been up and out of sight.
So yesterday, I took the potty down from the shelf (it was on top of a bucket that I needed) and – being in a rush to head out the door – left it on the floor rather than packing it away immediately. We got back home, and Mr 3 noticed it sitting in the middle of the bathroom floor.
Now both he and Miss 4 needed baths (they were filthy) which is why they’d both gone into the bathroom in the first place. Miss 4 and I watched curiously as he looked at it, went over and touched it, then tried to sit down on it. I was incredulous. Even more so when he let me remove first his clothes, and then his nappy, and then he sat back down. I absolutely couldn’t believe it!!! And he seemed happy sitting there too, so I left him there and started running the bath for Miss 4. She helped me add the bubbles,then got in. Mr 3 then came over to investigate the bubbles, and I thought ‘why not try this sitting thing again!?’
Now we have a little blue footstool that he uses to reach the bathroom sink. He loves it, and sits down on it every time he brushes his teeth. So I put this into the bath, then put him on it. He was surprised – but not as surprised as I was, seeing him within the bathtub, with not even a scream! He started off with standing, then eventually sat on his heels, then his bottom. And I was happy with that – my younger two children playing happily with their toys in the bathtub.
I went to unlock the rest of the house, put away the rest of the things, etc, and left them to play for a couple of minutes. (I also didn’t want them to see me crying, I was so incredibly happy at what had just happened.) But I got the shock of my life when I returned. Miss 4 was now sitting where Mr 3 had been, and she was playing with the stool. She’d turned it upside down, and was using it as a ‘boat’ to carry her toys.
Mr 3 was down the other end of the bath, sitting on his bottom, immersed in the water up to his waist, playing with the bubbles.
I couldn’t help it. I cried again. (I’m generally not an emotional person; but being a mum of autistic son has made me realise that I now cry fairly regularly!) Tears of utter joy and happiness. Yay! My son was having a bath!!!
Have a great day, dear readers. I need to go get the tissues…