A lot has happened in the last few weeks. We added a new therapist, who seems to be working out well. We also had another visit with THE DOCTOR, which was great. Sadly, we are losing a third therapist! Already!! This one is harder for me to swallow because she is very, very good with Jack. She reads him the best out of all of them, aside from Michelle. Apparently Jack's original team was so good that the clinic is hiring them to fill vacant senior therapist positions. I actually started crying when I was told about it! This therapist is at our house 4-5 days a week, and more importantly, Jack really likes her! He told me last week that he has a lot of fun with her, which he rarely says about anyone! Thankfully, the clinic is aware that we have just lost two people so they are letting her stay on until she can train her replacement, unlike the other two. Still, it's heartbreaking to watch Jack become attached to these people and then watch them leave. I'm really hoping we get some good replacements that will not be leaving quite as quickly.
THE DOCTOR - As usual, he had a lot of really good ideas to help Jack where he struggles the most. We're going to put off potty training until he is more comfortable with all of his therapists and is more compliant. Michelle made a comment about making the bathroom a really fun place for him to be. I agreed but didn't completely understand what she was getting at. After talking with someone else with an autistic child and hearing what they did to their bathroom, it finally became clear: we're going to have to turn our bathroom into a train room. We need paint, of course, and some trains on the wall, but I can see that we need a whole lot more than that too. One of my friends suggested finding a Stop and Go railroad crossing that he can turn on when he uses the bathroom. Finally, things connected. Not just a fun place, a super-awesome-lit up-fantastically fun place. I have a good feeling that will work for Jack. He IS going to potty-train!! I can feel it!! It may require a completely different idea that what I have ever pictured, but it will work eventually!
I said something this week that I'm not proud of. I was conversing with someone about Jack and his tantrums (which at times are very, very difficult to listen to), when I finally got to the heart of the matter. "I don't want him to be like that," I said. I was referring to the tantrums, which consist of throwing his table and chairs on the floor and throwing his toys and books over the stairs. Each time something lands on the floor, I cringe and fear that this a long term issue for him. Partly, I just thought it wouldn't be me that had such a disruptive child. I also don't want his tantrums to interfere with school, friends, and development ~ he has a lot to give inside. I also tend to feel defeated as a parent every time I hear something hit the floor or him screaming the always popular, "No! I don't want that! I don't want to!!" Yeah, "I don't want him to be like that," doesn't really help him or me. Later that day, I realized something important: I'd lost the joy of being Jack's parent. I was so worried about helping him and overwhelmed by what that requires that I had forgotten what an absolutely fantastic child Jack is. He is strong-willed and controlling, yes. But he can utilize those elements of his personality as he gets older and grows into himself, so to speak. He is also caring, fun, and intelligent. He has a great sense of humor and the laugh to go with it. I'm so glad that he was given to me. Hopefully the next time he tantrums, I will remember these things and not get so upset.
So, any ideas for an awesome train-themed bathroom? Let me know!!