I posted a story to facebook a few nights ago, simply because it happened to be an incredible moment, it definitely had that extra cute factor to it, and, honestly, I just wanted to share it with my friends because it seemed like it was just one of those “awwwwww!” moments that others might appreciate.
I have decided to turn that facebook post into a slightly more detailed blog post, for those same reasons, and because I’m wondering if there are other parents out there who have had a moment like this with their special needs child who has trouble communicating. A moment that makes you…well, in my case…cry because you’re so happy. (As in, cry like a baby. Because that’s what I did.)
I do realize most kids thrive on routine. I also believe that most kids with autism depend on it. If you mess with their routine…ohhhhh, dear Lord…you should be prepared for a massive meltdown. I can at least speak for our household and how it works with Easton. DON’T…MESS…WITH ROUTINE. Just…DON’T.
My bedtime routine with Easton is exactly the same. Every. Single. Night. Do I get tired of it? Absolutely not. Do I try to switch it up (and by “switch it up,” I mean sing the song before he gets his book, instead of after)? Yep. I’ve tried. Which brings me to the previous paragraph. Just…DON’T.
He takes a bath that some might consider to be too long every night. I don’t care. He’s happy. I get to take a deep breath at the end of a long day. No more justification needed. He pulls the drain when I say he’s all done. He says “nice.” He hands me his two washcloths, one at a time, to squeeze onto his right hand. He says “all done” and I take him out to wrap him in a towel. I say “Are you my sweet boy?” and lean in to kiss his nose and he smiles. If I skip this, he yells at me. (But, why would I ever skip THAT?)
The rest is pretty standard. Diaper, lotion, pajamas, I say “time for bed,” he says “ba ba bed,” we walk into his room, he says “pick a book” and gets down the same book every night. (We don’t read it together. He doesn’t like doing that. The book is for him to hold in bed.) He comes over to the bed and I sing “You are my sunshine,” and he says “there” when I’m done and crawls into bed. I say “Nigh-night” and give him a kiss. He says “Night-Night!” and makes a kissing sound. I say “I love you”…he starts looking through his book. I close the door.
That’s how it always ended.
Until a few nights ago. I said, “I love you.”
He said, “Wuh you.”
And then I bawled like a baby.
He is almost 4 years old. We didn’t know if or when he would ever talk. Most of his verbal skills involve echoing exactly what he hears. I’m used to him repeating what I say, even if he doesn’t know the meaning. But he had never repeated THAT.
I don’t need Easton to tell me he loves me for me to know he does. I truly don’t. His affection, his smile, his “ohhhhh, hi!” when I walk into a room, his snuggles…those are the things that mean “I love you.”
But, there is no question about it, out of all the words he has started to say in the last 6 months, to hear him say “wuh you” was the sweetest. (In the last few days, he has also added “no” to his vocabulary. It’s usually what parents dread hearing. I’m ecstatic. It’s waaaaaay better than his other way of saying “no,” which is “WWWWAAAAAAAAA!” So. Yeah. I LOOOOOOVE “no.”)
And now, I have to add to this story. This morning, my husband came downstairs, and Easton said, very clearly, “Hi Dad!” We were absolutely speechless. Keegan hadn’t said it first, which is when we would most likely hear Easton say something like that. My husband looked at him, shocked, and said, “Well, hi, Easton!”
And then…I came in the house earlier this evening, and Easton said, “Hi Dad!”
So. Okay. We’ve got “Wuh you” in our vocabulary. Now, we’ll work on the word “MOM.”