Breaking away from the history segments I've been taking you on of late with Maya and our early forays into the land of autism, I thought I'd give you something a tad more current. I have two little videos to share with you as well as a story about Maya from yesterday. Nothing spectacular, just some little cute things but they show the ways she (and Kurtis) are no different than other children in their own age range and yet, they will also show a little bit too of the differentiations that DO exist there as well.
First, here's a little video Maya's half-sister, Kate, better know here as the "sixteen-year-old," made with her little digital camera she got for Christmas. This was Maya back in February and I know that because I see the flowers sitting on the kitchen island that Mandy received from her Dad for her birthday and the other bouquet she got from Bill for Valentine's Day. I don't remember what "party" Kate may be referring to though -hard to say. But I just thought it was a really cute little clip and you can see from it when I talk about Maya and the way she frequently just "skips" through the house -and life, too. (If they ever do a remake of the Wizard of Oz, I'm betting she could pick up the dance that Dorothy and the Scarecrow and company do as they skip along the path to the Emerald City.)
And, here's yet another little video Kate made of Maya. On this one, Maya was playing with the little bitty ($10) camera I bought before Christmas to try to get myself kind of acclimated to digital cameras and such. It did work but not anything in the way of quality photos and Maya does love to play with it too so as long as it won't hurt her, what's the harm in letting her play with it then. She was definitely hamming it up for Kate on this video though, as you will see.
The next video is one I did yesterday of Kurtis. We just discovered on Sunday while up at my son's house that he is afraid of the grass! He also has a lot of trepidation when he walks on the sidewalks too. Yesterday, Mandy and the kids and I had taken them for a walk -each in a stroller although Maya usually would prefer to walk. However, when she saw Kurtis was riding, she insisted she had to ride too even though her feet would have been dragging on the ground if she hadn't kept them up on the foot thing the entire time. Such is the bull-headedness of children when there is also just a tad of jealousy creeping through, ya know. But, anyway, when we got back to the house, Maya wanted to run a bit in the yard and Mandy figured it would do Kurtis good to get accustomed more to being outside on the sidewalk, also maybe a little more exposure to the grass too. He just ran up and down the sidewalk though and before I did the video, he was very, very cautious, almost as if he knew that old children's line "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." as he would either stop completely or at least slow down at each crack in the sidewalk. Notice too, when he goes back up to the steps, the ritual he goes through of touching the post, then touching the step, before he turns and runs back towards me.
And, to give you a little idea of some of the things that go on around here, I've a story for you that happened just last evening.
Mandy had to go to a church council meeting but when she leaves the house for work or to go see her girlfriends or anything at all, if she leaves Maya behind, I am generally stuck with a child who is extremely sad, often very angry too at being left behind. The emotions that come through from Maya can be anything from soft crying, a little sobbing -even tears -to louder wailing, and can escalate to screaming, shrieking, kicking, stomping, throwing things -a full-fledged meltdown, can also take place. But throughout these events, she also intersperses her rants and wails with questions -or even commands. "Where Mommy go?" "Where'd the car go?" "I go to meening (meaning meeting, here) with Mommy." If you repeat these same questions over and over again for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, you will get the same sensation as I get when they start up.
Last night though, Mandy had been gone for at least 10 minutes before Maya realized she wasn't present and accounted for and then the crying and questions began - lasted for a good 45 minutes last night but at least they didn't go full-blown, nothing thrown, no massive tantrum. As she started to calm down a bit, I realized Kurtis needed some drastic attention as there were some really strong odors emanating from the little guy, so when I took him to the bathroom to change him, I got Maya to go along with me. Ok, for a child who refuses to use the commode for anything other than to "put her water in there." she does have a strong fascination with what things other people put in there so when I dumped Kurtis' little package into the water, she was right there, studying it very closely and telling me all about it then too. And then she started her own series of questions for me.
Maya: "How you spell poop?"
Gram: "P.O.O. P."
Maya: "How you spell poopie?"
Maya: "Where's the 'ess'?"
Maya: "Where's the 'ess' sound?"
Gram: "Tell me what you mean?"
Maya: "How you spell Poopies?"
Gram: "Oh, ok. P.O.O.P.I.E.S."
Then a few minutes later, back in the living room, she started telling me that we needed to go someplace and in a half-whine, half-crying voice, insisting "We go inna van to grocey store?"
Gram: "No, Maya. We aren't going anyplace tonight."
Maya: "Yes, yes! We go store, inna van!"
Gram: "NO! Maya. NO! Not tonight!"
At this point, Maya came over to me, puts her right hand on my left thigh and says:
"We go to grocey store now, inna van. Okay, Honey?" And with the last two words, she leans down and looks directly up into my face as she she says the "Okay, Honey?"
I don't think I have to tell you I lost it -laughing like crazy at her insistence and also, her manipulative mannerisms there too!
Just another day in the life of a child on the spectrum -but much of this could also be titled as just another day of life with a typical four-year-old too as the meltdown issue and the repetition of the questions are really the only things that I think would earmark this episode as being typical for a child with autism in that age range.
Now pray for a nice sunny day, not too warm -just comfortable -no rain, please -for Saturday, April 12th when our team "WE ARE for Kurt and Maya" will be participating in the Penn State Autism Speaks Walk/Race! It's not too late either, you can always come join us Saturday and register at the site in front of the Borough Building in State College -just down from the corner of Allen and Beaver Avenues! We'll be one of the noisiest groups there I grant you that!