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Thumper Turns Nine

My sweet silly Thumper,

Today is your ninth birthday, and I don’t feel ready to think of you as a nine year old.  Because nine seems OLD.  Nine is the same age that Ane was when you were born.  And I don’t think you would do very well if a baby sibling moved in right now.  (Prepare yourself for your new baby cousin, kiddo, because he is going to be part of your life in only a few more months….)

Things have definitely changed in a year.  ABA has changed, and while we have hit milestones (you have not worn an overnight Pull-Up in something like 10 months, you can button your own shirts and put on your own socks correctly, and your speech has most definitely improved), we also seem to be stalling out.  And this is not really your fault, and it’s going to require a fix (eventually) that will be a big one and one that means a big change.  And I keep putting off thinking about how that change will go, even though I know that it probably will be the best thing for us.  You’re only getting older, and the world is going to become less forgiving and less understanding.  You don’t realize that, and that lack of awareness makes me even more determined to make sure that you have a soft landing, whatever we decide to do.

You’re back in school, and the masks have come off – which confused you, but you’re not complaining – but now your sassypants behavior is escalating into… an angry hamster?  I don’t honestly know what is going through your fuzzy head, but everyone has a theory on “what is up with Thumper.”  Are you hearing more advanced language, and it’s frustrating you?  Are you frustrated with your inability to clearly express yourself?  Do you just want your own way and are becoming more rigid in your routines?  Are you going through a very very very belated “terrible twos”?  This is one of those times when I wish I could mind-meld with you and help figure this out.  In the meantime, if you could stop headbutting people, that would be a step in the right direction.

The other thing that has changed is your “label.”  No longer are you simply a kid on the autism spectrum.  Nope, you had to be “special” and add an ADHD diagnosis to the mix.  And not just what people think of as ADHD, but inattentive-type ADHD – which, I am told, makes you something of a unicorn in the autism world.  I always knew you were different – but did you have to be THIS different?  This wasn’t the way I had planned for you to one-up your brothers, dude.  Now we have to think about the wonders of a “dual diagnosis” and all the fun that goes with that.  Everything you do now has to be filtered through multiple sieves – “is this autism? is this ADHD? is this sensory?” – in order to understand why you do what you do.  And you did not come with an instruction manual.

Right now, I am using your favorite music to calm you instead of stir you up, and the current track on repeat is  “Love Theme from Superman” (John Williams FTW again).  A few weeks ago, it was the end credits to “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (terrible movie, good music).  For you, music is a universal language, and does soothe your inner beast.  It is the language which anyone who knows you, has to know how to speak.

And yet, you are still the most lovable, the snuggliest, the cuddliest, the giggliest, and the cutest nine year old I know.  And you are still a freaking ninja and hacker, with an unhealthy obsession with DVDs and their cases.  And an unrepentant cookie monster.  And I love you to pieces.  Happy 9th birthday, my sweet fluffy Boo.

Love,
Mama

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