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Success, Measured in Tiny Little Increments

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It’s easy to let yourself get caught up in all the negative things going on with a special needs child.  It happens to me all the time, and I’ll feel overwhelmed, like I’m drowning.  But then some small thing happens to remind me of the progress that’s been made, and I remember that it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Like the Grand Canyon, time and pressure makes profound changes.  Or maybe like the Shawshank Redemption…about twenty years to dig a tunnel to sunlight.

After 8 months of weekly social skills playgroup attendance, one of the phrases they have been taught has finally generalized to the home setting.  “Okay, maybe next time.”  Four words, HUGE accomplishment.  Instead of blowing up, yelling, or having a meltdown when told to do something, or told “no”, about 40% of the time we will get, “okay, maybe next time.”  True, it’s only 40%, but I’ll take it!!  Now somehow we have to get that generalized to the school setting.  I hope it doesn’t take 8 more months.

On Saturday, Connor was playing with one of his cars, and just like the old days, kept driving them up on the walls.  I reminded him about not driving on the walls, because it scratches up the paint.  He said “okay,” then turned and asked, “how do you spell ‘wall’?”  What?  He wants to know how to spell a word?  He’s asking on his own?  This can’t be so.  Just the very idea that he has any interest at all in how to spell a word made me almost fall over.  Lucky for me that at story time that evening, the word ‘wall’ was in his book.  It was the perfect excuse to point to the word, without having the book go sailing across the room.

There was one other accomplishment this past weekend.  Connor was in the bathroom, and started yelling for me (and that is never a good thing).  I went running, got to the door, and found him staring at the toilet, yelling “it’s gonna overflow!!”  All I could think in my head was that I didn’t want to be like Andy Dufresne, and wade through a river of pooh.  I grabbed the plunger and got to work.  With mere centimeters to spare, I cleared the clog.

River of pooh, no bueno!!

Connor looked at me and said, “Good job Mommy!!  That’s good teamwork!”  He even added a finger snap and a wink at the end (cheeky little monkey).  Wow, a compliment and a reference to teamwork.  Except it wasn’t really what I’d call teamwork.  He clogged it up, I fixed it.  But hey, it’s the sentiment that counts.

With less than 13 years to go until he’s officially an adult, we better get cracking if we want to make it to that sunny beach in Mexico (or the Grand Canyon, for that matter).  Of course, I better bring a plunger.  Their plumbing is horrible there and I’m not confident that Connor will know how to unclog a drain by then.

Great beaches, bad plumbing!


About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

4 responses »

  1. Yep…Daddy missed out on this”special” moment too!!

  2. That is so awsome to see the skills you both have been working on applied to a nonscripded situation. That is so great!

  3. I like his definition of team work! Reminds me of when I “help” my wife out with stuff like a clogged toilet. Oddly enough, she doesn’t consider my running away to get a snack as team work.


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