Friday, November 8, 2013

No Where Else

Last night I was busy working on three different client projects, two of them due today. Dad was nice enough to be doing the bath and bed routine so I could continue working.

Connor and Xander were content to come give me hugs at the desk before going on to bed.

Not Sawyer. Bed time is our time, and he's not easily persuaded to give it up. He comes running out of the bathroom, spins my office chair around and physically tries to pull me out of it onto my feet.

"Let's go, lady" is what his actions tell me. Sometimes he even says, "Go!"

Yes, I still had a lot of work to do. I'd been working all day and would work well into the night to finish. It's the nature of my job and the deadlines associated with it.

But I got up when he pulled. I let him lead me by the hand down the hall into his room. I saw his big grin and heard that sweet giggle. I watched him jump onto his pillows and wait for our routine to begin.

Sawyer lays on top of both pillows against the wall. He waits for me to add the doubled up sleeping bag on top of him (our inexpensive version of the weighted blanket). Then I climb on top. He loves pressure, especially at the end of the day. He pulls my hands under his head and holds onto them with his own. He expects us to stay this way. I usually roll over beside him at some point, worried that even though he likes the extra weight, it may be too much for him.

Some nights he shoves and tells me "bye," signaling it's time for me to go. Other nights, like last night, he reaches his arms out and holds on.

I love those nights.

Sawyer is the one who often prefers to be by himself. He likes his space. He's not big on prolonged hugs or touch. Not usually. But sometimes, like last night, he just reaches out and holds on.

In those moments, I will always stay. Even if I have more work to do, even if it means a longer night for me. Because when he does reach out, when he does hold on, it's one of those moments you just can't pass up. There is nothing else more important, and no where else I'd rather be, than right there inside his tightly held embrace.

My sweet boy, who works so hard and goes through so much every single day. Yes, I'm going to stay.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Progress



Progress comes in many different shapes and forms, especially when it comes to our boys. This little picture is a HUGE, huge step forward.

Those letters are Sawyer's.

Let me say that again. Those letters are Sawyer's. This is the little boy who hates any kind of fine motor activity. A kid who has never liked coloring or writing. A kid who has just recently, at the age of seven, shown an interest in letters at all.

And those are his letters. He wrote, from memory, "Viewers like you (in orange)" and "Thank you (in green)". He's learning the phrases from his brother's drawings and writing, but he's replicating it completely on his own from memory.

Letters. Words. Phrases. Write now it's just duplication. But someday ... someday it could be communication. It could be describing something he likes. Something he wants. Something he feels.

Huge.

None of this would be possible without all of the amazing people in place on "Team Sawyer" - both at school and at home. His teachers. His therapists. His aides. So many people have played a role in getting him, and us, to this point.

Special thanks are definitely in order to his private occupational therapists, Ms. A and Ms. J, who started him on a new writing program over the summer because they thought it would offer a meaningful way for him to communicate outside of his current signs, gestures and his iPad software. We moved away from just Handwriting Without Tears to a box and arrow system. The visual and spacing really made a difference for him.

Letters. Words. Phrases. That's my boy.


A Day with Xander

Last year we went through the process of obtaining a community living support waiver for both of the twins. One of the greatest benefits is having extra pairs of hands to help out with the boys on day-to-day activities, whether it's homework after school or getting the boys to and from their various activities and interests. It requires quite a bit of oversight, paperwork and planning. But it's made a big difference in the lives of our boys.

One of my absolute favorite things about the program are those days that allow me to spend one-on-one time with one of the boys. Sunday was Xander's turn. Connor was away for the weekend with Grammy, attending a children's dinner play and visiting with extended family. Sawyer was out with his helper, and Josh was working at the fire department. It was just me and Xander, so we made a day of it.

First we went to the local Arboretum to do a little walking (and some random sitting and people watching).



Next we tried the bowling alley, but it was more crowded than we'd ever seen before. We went in to give it a try, but there weren't any open lanes. So we had to leave. I was expecting trouble, but Xander was remarkable calm about it (a huge step forward for him and a major benefit of the waiver program which has allowed him to get out of the house so much more to try different activities). We put his shoes back on (he took them off while I was checking in at the desk), and then we headed back out.

Next stop was Wendy's for some french fries. He placed his own order, though I paid this time around instead of letting him pay (as his helpers usually do).


After that we headed back to the house. Xander was still focused on bowling, so I suggested some Xbox Kinect bowling. We played a few games, and then we headed out again. This time we took a scooter ride to the local neighborhood park. We packed our tennis rackets to get in a little practice. We started on the playground, and then ended our afternoon on the tennis courts.




And that was our day. Having three boys can be a lot of fun, but often requires a lot of multi-tasking on my part and a lot of compromise for the boys. Days like Sunday are really fun. We got to plan our day based on Xander's personality and what Xander wanted to do. That doesn't happen very often.

And I think he enjoyed it, too. I got extra big hugs Sunday night when it was time for bed, and that's not his usual style at all.