Those moments in which your kids achieve new skills are some of the most precious of a parent's life. Those first words, the first steps, the first bike rides are all eagerly awaited and celebrated by us. Those moments are even more sweet when we are parenting special needs children.
The other day I was alone with Beans (my profoundly ASD 8 yo) and I needed a shower. He'd been kinda ornery, so I was hesitant to leave him alone for that long. I felt I didn't have much choice, as I really had to shower with the temps being in the triple digits lately. There was no negotiating this. So, I went in the bathroom and left the door cracked open about halfway.
I began turning on the shower and arranging the items I needed for my shower. I look up and see Beans doing the leaning and peeking thing from the living room, then take off running. I thought to myself, "I have seen that look before. My other kids have given me that look. What is it?" After thinking for a few seconds I had it. It was the look of a child wanting to be sure you were preoccupied so they could precede to get into something uninterrupted that they are sure is off limits. This would be something new for Beans. He usually doesn't show any awareness that I may have knowledge that he doesn't or vice versa. I decided to go check to see what his plan was. I found him in the other room digging through my purse looking for stuff to play with and eat. I took it away, prompting him to have a bit of fit. I went and finished my shower.
When I got out, I noticed he was in his room with the door closed. Seemed odd, but I figured he was just hanging out. I didn't think much of it, until he came out and I looked in there to see that he had sneaked the swimming bag in there. He likes to smell/play in the sunscreen and chew on any change (dangerous!) he can find. I was dumbstruck. This is HUGE in developmental gains. He had the theory of mind to hide his activity from me, and the executive functioning to carry out a multi-step plan. So, as much as I was not happy that he was being naughty I was thrilled at his new abilities! He had gone from about functioning at about a 12 month old level to about 18-24 months. I think we are now in terrible 2 territory, as he now has grand plans that he sees me, big, bad Momma interfering with. There is lots of fits, where he was extremely passive. That's okay. I will gladly take the meltdowns over every little thing all day that doesn't go his way rather than a child who really has no will or plans of his own.
I am proud of every milestone, even the ones that are mixed blessings.