Maybe seeing the sun and being able to be outside has helped me just as much as it has helped Brandon. Yesterday was one of the best days we have had in a while. Don’t get me wrong, we have had good days, but yesterday felt different. It felt positive and encouraging. I am hopeful. J is home from his band trip, A had some good news at work, and Brandon had a really, really good day.
What made yesterday different than the day before? The day before yesterday was a so so day. Brandon perseverated on Mario Kart and we were frustrated. And then I asked him if he wanted to make mom happy. He said yes and I told him I would be happy if he would stop saying Mario Kart for 15 whole minutes. He looked at me and said “Yes”. So I set the timer and he did it!!!!! Woo Hoo!!! And then he continued perseverating. Ugh.
Yesterday was different. Brandon got home from school and immediately said “Mario Kart”. I ignored that and told him we needed to go to the store and that I was waiting so I could go with him. In the car, Brandon was smiling and didn’t even seem to mind me singing along to Sweet Caroline on the radio. My mom was a HUGE Neil Diamond fan back in the day.
We walked around the store and Brandon picked out Zebra Cakes. He, of course, wanted two boxes, but they only had one and he was okay with that. We ran into an old friend and stopped to chat for a bit. Brandon helped load the bags into the car and even helped carry them into the house. He gave me a hug and a kiss (sniffing my hair is his kiss).
And then he said it. Play Mario Kart. I must have rolled my eyes, because Brandon looked straight at me (direct eye contact was made) and said “make mom happy”. I asked him what would make mom happy. He said “stop talking Mario Kart”. YES!!!!! And he did!!! He didn’t say it for 45 minutes. He put together a puzzle, he jumped outside, he read a Little Critter’s Book (these are his favorites…I think we have all of them), looked at pictures, and watched a bit of Toy Story on his laptop.
When dinner was ready, Brandon said he did not want to eat. The rest of us sat down and started our dinner. Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and hominy. I know, weird combination, but we all like it. Brandon eventually sat down with us and ate a steak and two helping of mashed potatoes. He even put his own cheese on his potatoes and listened when we told him enough was enough with the cheese. His appetite has been so much better the past two weeks. He didn’t mention Mario Kart once during dinner.
After dinner, he started again with Mario Kart. I ignored him and he again said he wanted mom to be happy. And he told himself to stop talking about Mario Kart. Steve and I were pretty impressed. We did talk about Kelly coming to take him to the Science Center. We also talked about what he did at school. We know that he wants to do the action cards with the music therapist at school. He also went to Target with his class and bought some cheese.
Brandon didn’t tell us all of this on his own. We ask him questions about his day. We do this every day. For the past few months, we have had to direct him away from saying Mario Kart to get questions answered. Not today, though. He was focused and engaged. There was a lot of eye contact and not as much jumping.
The Cardinals were playing and Brandon sat with us for some of the game. He would occasionally say “go go go Cardinals”. And he threw his hands in the air when Yadi hit his doubles. To be fair, that’s what I do when Yadi hits doubles and Brandon tends to imitate what he sees, but who cares. Go Cards!
As the evening wore on, it was obvious that Brandon was starting to struggle a bit. He was saying Mario Kart more frequently and starting to stand 2 inches from my face to say it. He would go outside when we directed him, but would start perseverating as soon as he came in.
We were starting to get a bit frustrated, but we stopped ourselves. We had to remind ourselves how hard Brandon had worked throughout the evening. For him to not say Mario Kart at this point takes a lot of effort and energy from him. For him, it must have felt like a very long day. He was tired and had worked so hard to keep from saying the words he most wants to say. We cut him a bit of slack and praised him for being so good.
When he went to bed at 10pm, there was angry jumping in his room. I went to his room and talked with him about what he gets to do today with Kelly. He quieted down, but did not get to sleep until 11. He laid in his room making his happy sounds with the occasional laugh.
Yesterday was a really, really good day. And today is J’s birthday which means dinner at IHop (one of J’s favorite places). And who doesn’t love IHop. Here’s to a wonderful day! �