Happy Days

You guys! John is singing! He comes home every day, a skip in his step, his legs in full gallop as soon as he steps off the bus. Well, let’s be honest, he is always in motion — there is just an extra-special exuberance lately. Once inside, he goes immediately for the itouch or computer and requests a smorgasbord of songs: the Days of the Week Song, Five Little Pumpkins, Wheels on the Bus, and of course, If You’re Happy and You Know It.

He sings, his voice small yet earnest and adamant:

If you’re pappy and you know it, cap your hands!
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!
If you’re pappy and you know it, and you meeno meeno show it,
If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it,
If you’re pappy and you know it, cap your hands!
…stomp feet! (stomp your feet!)
…shout HOORAY! (Hooray!)

One of his favorite dvds right now is Baby Einstein’s Baby’s First Moves. I know it’s meant for babies 3 months of age and older. I don’t think the makers intended it to be appreciated as much as it is by my autistic six-year-old. But here’s the thing: I never thought I’d see the day that he would come up to me, take my hands and place them over my eyes, open them and say “Peekaboo!” Or that he would climb into my lap and say “Touch your nose!” He has memorized the sequences in the dvd and he rattles them off to me expecting my compliance: “Twist! Shake! Spin! Touch your nose! Wave!” pause…big smile while grabbing my hands… “Peekaboo!”

This morning as he put me through his paces again,  I stopped him and said “Wait. John do it.”

“Twist!” I said, ready to help him move but he moved his hips all on his own. “Shake!” I said, and he shook his hands and little body. “Spin!” I said, and slowly he turned twice, looking at me over his shoulder the whole time. “Touch your nose, John!” and he brought his finger to his nose. “Wave?” I said, holding my breath. John has never been able to wave. Or point. But as I watched, he brought up his hand, palm facing inward, and he “waved” to himself. Oh the cuteness! The milestones! The interaction and eye contact! Yes, he’s six, but he has come so, so far.

These are things to celebrate.

School is still a big question mark. In a few weeks, I am scheduled to go in to observe — maybe then I will get some more answers. But if the progress he’s made and his happy nature is any indication, first grade is going swimmingly.

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