Susan's Blog

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We Are So Going To the Bookstore Tomorrow

Listen with your heart, you will understand.
–Grandmother Willow

Just now I was playing the marble game with Nat. He was getting into it; I could tell because of all of the self-talk — both of us: I was babbling stuff like, “Oh, cool!” and “Oops, that’s the wrong way to match it up.” And Nat was doing his thing, words all stretched out or truncated, disguised so that he can be left alone.
At one point I invited Ned in to see our tower, and Nat demonstrated how all the marbles just go in, down, around, down, down. Always. Ned then pointed out to me a tower of books he’s going to resell to the Brookline Booksmith, our beloved indie bookstore, and Nat looked up and said, “Go to bookstore.”
Right away we both responded, “Okay, Nat. We can walk to the bookstore tomorrow after lunch.”
Nat said, “Walkabookstore tomorrowafterlunch, yes.
Okay, so that was a plan.
Ned left to go play with Ben, who is working on drawing cartoon frames to make an animated film. I went back to building with Nat, trying to get in a little bit of science (“blah blah blah gravity”) — you can’t blame a mom for trying! But Nat kept on just self-talking and putting in the marbles.
I heard him saying, “Taaaaaaaaaaaae waaaaaaaaaaaw boohstore. Taaaaaaaaae train. Waaaaaaaaaaw traiaiaaiaiaiaiaiaia”
“Whoa!” I said, “You said, “take a walk to the bookstore. Take a train.”
Nat looked down, saying, “Noooo.” He was very uncomfortable.
But I persisted. “Nat! You don’t like when I know what you’re saying. But I want to know. I want to know what you’re thinking.” I said this very slowly and let it sit there.

Then Nat said, perfectly and clearly: “I want to go to the bookstore after lunch tomorrow.”


I believe it. Our kids are not dumb or disconnected. (And I hope people won't take that as a chance to get ugly here with me or Susan for allowing me in.) Once, when Mia was a tot, we asked her to please sit in her stroller and she said, clear as day, "I can't sit down!" I've never forgotten her beautiful voice or that sentence. Enjoy the bookstore. Never give up, Susan. Hugs to Nat.

— added by Kim Rossi Stagliano on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Wow! It makes ya wonder…

— added by r.b. on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Well I know some kids that are often disconnected, autistic or not. And so am I. It's okay to be sometimes, as long as it doesn't take over lives.

— added by miti on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I was at a meeting in D's classroom the other day after school, with his teacher, OT and ST. We were at a a table and D was on the other side of the room watching a dvd and snacking (a perfect gentleman I might add) His ST has reported that she is still blowing bubbles with him, trying to get him to talk, just one word, which he won't…and I am pointing out that he can talk in sentences at home, for which I'm getting "the look", like I am making it up or something. Then the silent staredown is broken by a shout from the other side of the room…"want some more water?????" Nuff said????

— added by eileen on Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 7:59 am

Beautiful Susan and Nat!
Now, go buy lots of books!!!!

— added by Penny on Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 11:36 am

One thing I appreciate about autism is how it makes me, as a mother, notice the unnoticable and marvel at what would otherwise be ordinary. Every perfect sentence my Owen utters is a treasure.

— added by Melissa on Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm


— added by Susan on Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Mine's been chatty of late. The risperdal is helping… it's a LONG ways from perfect, more like a 2 to 3yr old level…. Not complaining at all… even if some of the conversations go round and round in circles… But I did get a note home from school earlier in the fall that read:

"Today he told us "I don't want to work with a girl" EA/TA "Today you are", "No I don't". "Yes, you are" There was a bit of a sigh and a stomp but he worked with her."

How very normal for an 8yr old, and where did it come from???

Hope you had a great time at the bookstore.

— added by farmwifetwo on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 9:07 am

I really did enjoy the bookstore. Yesterday was the perfect day for that walk, which is a little over a mile each way. We also got snacks and coffee (those we indulge one or the other)and took the T to REI to get Ned a coat. All unplanned! Today, however, is another story; Nat is very very anxious because it's a dark day and so neighbors have their lights on from last night.

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 9:12 am

Letting words sit, giving him time to absorb, has been very helpful with Jared. Also using as few words as possible makes it easier for him to respond with something other than repeating the question asked. Trust me, there are no flies on that boy. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

I've noticed the thing with our guy talking aloud and then being upset when people know what he is thinking. It's odd and, I think points at something essential.

— added by VAB on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm