Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Keep The Cold Germs Away From Us!!

Last night, AJ came into our room at 10:00. That’s not unusual. But, he was upset. Normally, at 10:00, he wants to tell us all about his new invention, or something like that. But, last night,:

Me: “AJ, what do you need?”

AJ: “I need to be close to someone.”

I sat up and opened my arms. He knows that means he can get up on the bed, and get hugs - if he wants them. He did.

Me: “Are you OK?”

AJ: “No.”

Uh-oh.  One word answers.  That does not bode well.  Something is definitely bothering him.

Me: “Can you use words to tell me what’s wrong?”

AJ: “Just need to be close.”

OK, Question and answer time.  It's the only way I'm going figure this one out.

Me: “Are you scared?”

AJ: “No.”

OK, no monsters.  Move on.

Me: “Are you sad?”

AJ: (starting to cry) “Yes.”

Tears.  This could mean anything.  We don't see tears alot.  So it's not good.  But, we might be able to figure this out.  I’ve been sick for a week. Nothing too bad, a cold, fever, blah, blah. Not even worth a doctor’s visit. But, I’m guessing he’s worried about that.

Me: “Because I’m sick?”

AJ: “Yes.”

Time for a shot in the dark.

Me: “Are you worried that I won’t be around to take care of you?”

AJ: “Yes”

Me: “Like Grandpa?”

His grandfather died last year, and he’s still not completely over it.

AJ: (really crying) “Yes”

OK, now I’m crying too. He really misses his grandfather. He’s still processing it, but soooo slowly. And, it was the first time he really figured out that parents can die. It’s bad enough to him that most people don’t always live with their parents forever, but the fact that parents could actually die - it’s too much for him. And, then I got sick. I’ve probably been whining about it too much, without realizing how it was affecting him. And, before bed, we told him that I would be going to the doctor’s office, and Mamu would be home to take care of him. We told him that, because I am always with him during the day while Lisa works. We never thought that he would freak out over that. So, he probably has worked out this cold into some horrible disease. Poor kid, he’s so scared.

Me: “You know that Mamu and I are REALLY healthy, right? I just have a little cold. Just some sneezing and coughing. The doctor is just going to look in my ears and in my throat and give me some medicine to make it go away. I’m fine!! Mamu’s fine!!”

Lisa: “We’re both healthy and strong.”

AJ: “You’re OK.”

Not a question, just repeating what we said.  But I'm not sure he gets it, or he's just repeating it.

Me: “I work out, everyday, right?”

Lisa: “I do karate, right?”

Me: “ We’re strong. We’re healthy. And we’re young.”

Lisa: “Grandpa was really old. But, we’re young, and we’re healthy. We’re going to be here a really long time.”

We’re tag-teaming here. Trying our best to say everything he needs to hear. We’re a good team.

AJ: “When I’m old?”

OK, he's hearing us, and he's processing it.  He's back, he's got words again, and he can use them.  Making progress here.  He’s feeling better now. I think it’s safe to try for joking.

Me: “Long enough for you to get sick of the sight of us!”

AJ is giggling now. I go for a tickle and a tighter hug. I ask him if he’s ready for sleeping now. He says yes and goes back to bed… but not before this:

AJ: “Love you guys!”

Us: “You too baby!”

Whew - that was a tough one. I think Lisa and I did OK, and I think we need to make sure not to get another cold.


Michelle O'Neil said...

Scenes like this make me so sad for the non-verbal kids.

Hope you are feeling better soon!

Autism and family said...

I was thinking about that. It must be so hard for the kid and the parent. So much to say, and no traditional way to say it. I hate when AJ loses his words, and so does he. Luckily, when he was a baby, we taught him sign language, which he's been able to use since long before he was 1, so even without words, we can usually communicate.
BTW, feeling better already, thanks.