Susan's Blog

Friday, April 25, 2008

Natty Boy

Natty boy, the groups, the groups, are calling…
–Danny Boy, old Irish song

Things have been going so beautifully I have not wanted to write and possibly jinx it all. Plus there is that matter of blogstipation. So I knock wood as I write this morning.

Nat has been so happy these days, (knock, knock, knock). Even though Max and Ben have vacation, and sleep late, break the morning routine, etc. Even though he has school and they don’t. He wakes up with laughter lacing all of his silly talk. And all he can talk about is social group. Now the guy who runs the group sends fliers and all other correspondence directly to Nat, who for the first time in his life understands the fun of opening mail sent to you. Birthday cards and presents never held his interest the way Drew’s envelopes do. Nat reads the stuff, and then periodically comes back to it during the day and repeats portions to me, with wide eyes, just like when he was a little boy turning to me to tell him what was what about the day or the world. He so openly seeks my input, my validation, or at least, my conversation, because he knows that I care as much as he does about these things.

This is why I say to people, atypical development really means atypical development. Some people get to things later than others. Just because a kid could not care less about opening presents or mail when others first learn to care, doesn’t mean he’ll never care. Just because a kid doesn’t like hanging out with other kids when he’s in elementary school, doesn’t mean he’ll never want to. Nat loves having friends and outings now, at 18. And by the way, his version of having friends is quite different from mine. He does not talk to his friends, whereas that is all I do with mine. He goes places, in vans or on the T, with them. I sit in restaurant booths or go to shopping malls or walk with mine. Whatever you do with a friend, it is good to discover exactly what it is you need. Well, Nat has, at last, and you can see how happy it makes him to have this need known and met. I am so proud of him to have grown this much, to understand himself and to let us know what he has learned — without words, but with smiles, joyful house stompies, laughter, and eagerness to go.

Ned and I are going away to New York this morning, after my parents get here. I have not written anything down for Nat, but I have talked about it a lot with him. As long as tonight’s social group outing is all set, he is not all that interested in what ever else I need to tell him. Tonight he is going to social group without an aide, which is new. But I checked with Drew and he knows Nat so well; his staff also felt that Nat would be fine without the aide. I trust them.

I pay around $40 per outing, including the aide. But to be able to say, “I trust them,” and to see Nat’s face when he bounds from my car to the vans on Friday nights, I’d pay a whole lot more.


Wow. Your blogstipation is my inspiration. There’s really hope, isn’t there?

I hope you have a wonderful trip.

— added by Judith U. on Friday, April 25, 2008 at 5:24 pm

“A happy-ever-after life is not the kind he got / but he tended to be happy, more often than not”

— paraphrasing from “The Ballad of Erica Levine”, with apologies to Bob Shepherd Blue

— added by Phil Schwarz on Sunday, April 27, 2008 at 12:58 am

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