Nik, while lying in bed with us this morning: “Four hearts together makes a family.”
Pete was telling the Nik this morning how he always gets comments from his friends that Nik looks just like him. The shape of his head, his face, his smile. Nik said,”Well, you’re my dad.”
So I asked Nik: “Who’s your mom?”
Thinking I’d get a response based on the color of his hair, or his brown skin, I followed up with: “How do you know I’m your mom?”
Nik turned to look at me and said: “Because you take care of me.”
That pretty much sums it up.
I was working on this blog on Sunday morning, and then decided to read a few posts out to the kids. I thought they would get a kick out of hearing about their lives when they were little. Nik was sitting right by me and was able to read a few words of each as I scrolled through the posts. I skipped over the ones that referred to his diagnosis or the ABA therapies, since I am not ready to discuss autism with him yet.
I also skipped a few that I thought would make him sad, but read one out that I thought he could handle, one of him getting picked on by older girls who dumped sand on his head at a birthday party, when he was three, and he let them because he wanted them to play with him. He was upset when I read it, and asked if we still knew the girls and how old they were. I explained how they were young then, only a couple years older than him, but they probably wouldn’t do that again if they saw him today. And that he would never let them get away with it now. He made a couple of vengeful comments and a face or two, but then seemed to let it go.
Last night, I heard him crying in his room. When I asked him what was wrong, what was bothering him, he said, “Sand. Sand on my head.”
Broke my heart all over again.
Had the melody of Swan Lake floating through my head and couldn’t help but hum it out loud to get it out of my system. Nik raised his eyebrows and went back to eating lunch; Anjali tried to interrupt me by saying, “If I can’t sing, YOU can’t sing!”
Sometimes I just have to ask her to stop, or she’d hum all day long….
Today was a hard day for me.
At one point, I was sitting on the couch, curled up with the pillows, staring blankly at the show on the t.v. I’m not sure how long I was sitting there. I could hear the kids playing upstairs, running back and forth, alternating between laughing, yelling, whining, then laughing again. It all was a blur in my head.
Then the kids came downstairs and I heard plans being made to go out front and play with their dad. I wasn’t paying attention, and then…
I felt this small hand stroke my arm slowly. Then it moved up to pat my head, and I turned to see Nik standing there with a small sad smile on his face.
I asked him, “Did you know that I am sad?”
He nodded and gave me a long hug.
And then he was gone.
But that was enough.
Nik learned to read over the summer.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that he has been interested in books since he opened his eyes…I have a video of him at 4 months, sitting up on our couch, paging intently through a picture book.
However, while the interest was there, his brain couldn’t make the connections it needed to make in order to take the interest and strong desire to actual reading. The letters made no sense, the words were hard-won, and slowly the frustration didn’t seem worth it and he would just give up. Or he would memorize the story and fake his way through it. He fooled many reading parent volunteers at his school this way…
Agony for a mother who has read since three, and has never stopped inhaling books ever since.
And then this summer, a breakthrough. It seemed like almost overnight, he went from laboring over two- to three-word sentences to reading polysyllabic words in long sentences. He would read out loud, with the proper intonations. He even changed his voice to match the characters, if he was reading conversation pieces.
With this newly found skill, his confidence grew exponentially; he could understand his homework now, he enjoyed his math lessons, he could read signs on the street, he would read out loud to his sister.
If I wasn’t here to watch it happen, I would not know that this boy was the same Nik from the end of the last school year. In fact, sometimes we catch ourselves looking at each other in amazement, at something profound he’s just said, or something thoughtful he’s just done, and then can’t help but burst out to him: “Who are you and what have you done with our Nik?”
And he responds: “I am the real Nik, and I just said that.”
Yes. You are the real Nik. Every single day.
Showed the kids our wedding albums for the first time this morning…long story, crap photographer, hated the photos for a long time…but enough time has passed. Anjali had asked what color my wedding dress was and so I guess it was time…
And another facet has been added to the legend of the Switch Witch...
Me: (driving home a few minutes ago in the rain with the kids, realizing that I’d forgotten to get the Switch Witch gifts): “Hey kids, we’ll have to leave the candy out tomorrow night. The Switch Witch doesn’t fly in the rain.”
Anjali:”Why can’t she drive her car?”
Me:”She doesn’t have a car, she flies everywhere on her broom. And if the broom gets wet, it won’t fly.”
Me:”Yeah…that’s too bad…you’ll have to hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow night. Hey! She’s probably at home drinking hot chocolate!”
Anjali:”And talking to her cat. All three of them. And they are all black cats. I wonder if she has a green face.”
After I peel out of the left turn lane as soon as the arrow turns green, blowing away the front car in the other left turn lane (yes, we were running late for school. And no, my car is most definitely NOT a porsche!), Anjali says: “That was QUITE the turn, mom.”