I haven't written in a bit, and mostly, that has been because things have been going pretty smoothly, which shouldn't keep me from writing! I know I should write about the better times too! Janey has been very happy so far at school this year. She seems to fit in very well with her new class. I loved the kids in her old class, but I think they saw so much of the tough Janey times that they were a little wary of her, and also tended to treat her like a younger sibling. These new kids are mostly a little younger than HER, and haven't known her right along, and Janey is actually making friends! She's always had kids be friends to HER, but she is being a friend back! She actually walks off down the hall to her class with other little girls, and plays with them from all reports, and even says their names when prompted, and sometimes when not, at home. It thrills me. She is talking more about school, or more, answering questions about school. She will say what room number she is in, and say "Ms. Allie" when we ask her teacher's name (Ms. Allie is the para that works with her the most, and she is so wonderful with Janey). Ms. Samuels, the regular ed. teacher, says Janey has asked her to play Miss Mary Mack all her on her own (another wonderful sweet person in the room) and the sub. special ed teacher seems great. It's all coming together so well. Ms. Janet, the speech therapist, is just thrilled with what she sees Janey doing this year. It's great to see the happiness she brings to the people she works with, as I think they can see the fruits of a lot of years of frustrating and sometimes non-rewarding word. And at home, it's so exciting to hear actual sentences now and then. Today, when Tony didn't jump up to fill her request, she said "Daddy, I WANT some PASTA!" Later, when the phone rang, she said "That would be the phone" I think she got the wording from Kipper. When I tried to put some pants on her she doesn't like, she said "NO, I don't want the pants!" All three just examples I can remember from today.
Of course, all is not perfect. This weekend, along with the great talking, we were seeing a return of the tantrums and some crying. It made us realize how smooth things have been for a few months. We went yesterday to dinner at my friend Christine's house, and Janey usually loves it there and is well behaved, but last night she was not. She kept demanding things, crying, and at one point threw a toy hard across the room. I am coming down harder on her for things---making her pick up the toy, put it away and say "sorry" to Christine. I think now that I am feeling she is understanding things a bit more, I need to work on the things I have sort of neglected. We for a few years now have gotten her pretty much what she asked for, in terms of food or drink. This is because she talks so little that we wanted her to learn that asking for something verbally is worth it---that it actually has a result. But I think she understands that now, and I am more often saying "Not right now" or "no". Maybe this is bringing on the increase in tough behavior. I am also working more on trying to get her to tell me why she is crying. Mostly I just try to get her to say "angry" or "sad". Last night at dinner I took her outside and asked her if she was sad, and she said "ANGRY" and then added on her own "Angry at MAMA". I asked her why, and she actually answered, and said "NAILS!" I don't know what she meant, though, I hadn't cut her nails recently and I don't know what other nails she was talking about, but it was something to hear anyway.
She is looking older and getting taller. Often now people who don't know her ask her questions like you would ask any six year old. I am never sure what to do. Sometimes I answer for her, sometimes I try to repeat the question in a way she will understand (although it's a shot in the dark to hope she answers at all) and sometimes after a few questions I say "She is autistic and doesn't talk much, but you never know!" just to not make them feel silly for having asked or anything. Sometimes it's a little sad thinking that they are asking perfectly normal questions to ask a child her age, and to me they seem impossibly difficult---like someone asked her yesterday "Do you have school tomorrow?". She has no clue what days are school days and what days aren't, to say nothing of holidays. Or they ask what she likes to do at school, or if she likes school. I look at the 1st graders who she used to be in class with, and it just astonishes me that they can chat away about all kinds of things, and are starting to read and write and add. Even though I had two kids who did those things at that age---it seems seems almost like a miracle that any child can. But we can celebrate her little steps.