One of the hardest thing about being a mom who has a job outside of the home is when my kids get sick. I can't stand it when they don't feel good and I'm not with them. I struggled to leave work as early as possible today to get back to my babies to take care of them. None of them are feeling good.
Ciaran has gone to bed now, and I can still hear him coughing. I wish I could ask him what was wrong. I wish I knew if his throat hurt, like it does for his sisters. I wish I knew if he wanted to blow his nose, or if he felt hot or cold. But parenting Ciaran is a guessing game. There's me, using the connections achieved through attachment parenting, trying to determine what he feels, wants, and needs without his being able to communicate it verbally. And to some degree, I think he does the same thing. His receptive communication skills are also taking a long time to develop, and I think he's finally really started to try to read me. I only had to give him a stern look earlier and he cried and wanted to be held.
We had an IEP meeting at his school this week. An IEP for those who don't know, is an individualized education plan. It's the plan that looks at where Ciaran needs work, sets goals for him, and lays out the basics of how to achieve those goals. It was an easy concept for me to understand. As nurses we do the same thing when we make care plans. These are just care plans for students.
One of the things we talked about at the IEP meeting was that Ciaran, at school, doesn't play with the other children. He plays near them, but not with them. This is usually seen in babies, and they call it parallel play. But in Autistic children, it's harder to move past than it is for NT (neurotypical) kids. Thankfully, this is only a problem at school. At home, he has siblings, who keep him very involved in play. I'm hoping that soon, the behavior he engages in at home will begin to show up at school, too.
They have noticed that Ciaran has had a language explosion recently and is labeling a lot more. He really has made such progress through this early intervention program, it's so cool to watch.
Reagan is also affected verbally and socially. He's that kid who knows a lot of big vocabulary words and adult phrases and uses them regularly in his speech. At 11, that doesn't exactly make him popular. And he can't really understand it. That's the social part. He just doesn't get the cues that most kids pick up on naturally. He tries so hard, and that sometimes just pushes the kids away further. He thinks he's the least popular kid in the 6th grade. I just keep reminding him that the coolest grown ups weren't really cool in the 6th grade. And I remind him that he has options. We are still a homeschooling family, after all. Right now, he'd still rather plod through the social politics of middle school. Something I don't miss, at all.
Hopefully the kids will feel better soon, and I won't catch whatever it is they've got. It's no fun trying to take care of sick kids when I'm sick myself.