Sunday, February 9, 2014

When She Was Good...

I don't want to jinx things (I'm a Red Sox fan, which makes me have an unnatural fear of jinxes), but Janey has been in an unusual and special mood the last 4 or 5 days.  She's been in the mood Tony and I call her "precious" mood.  It's one of the rarer of her many moods---very happy without a touch of manic, sweet and lovable.  It's a quiet mood.  She doesn't talk a lot when she's in this mood; she doesn't make any huge strides.  She doesn't much answer our questions, or comment on anything.  She is just quietly content.

It's striking me writing this that it's an example of how it's not the autism or the intellectual disabilities that make things tough with Janey when they are tough.  In the mood she's in now, she would probably appear to an outsider more obviously autistic and "slow" than in other moods she has.  For example, a cashier at a store yesterday tried very hard to engage her---asking her questions, offering to let her hold a book we were buying, waving to her---and he got no response.  When I asked her to give him a high five---the social response that seems easiest for her to consistently do---that even took her about 2 minute to complete, as she slowly, slowly raised her hand.  But she wasn't screaming.  She wasn't biting herself.  She wasn't crying.  She wasn't frantically singing.  She wasn't quoting lines from videos.  We had been shopping for a while, and she was just being---sweet.

Of course, in my quest to always trouble trouble when trouble isn't troubling me, I worry that if these content, quiet moods became the norm, it would be easy to stop trying hard to help Janey.  I wonder what it would be like to have a child always like Janey is now.  It would be hugely easier day to day, I can admit.  But I don't know how much she would learn, or how much we would keep trying to reach her.  Our lives would be very different.

And I'm telling myself---stop overthinking this.  Just enjoy it while it lasts.  And it is enjoyable.  Yesterday, Janey gave Tony a big hug, on her own, because he had shared a big plate of assorted sauteed winter vegetables he'd made with her.  Now, what parent would not love that?  I've been reading to Janey a lot---long picture books she would usually close within seconds, and maybe toss them at me for good measure.  But in this mood, she's been sitting and at least looking like she's listening.  That's my version of the vegetable hug---my own personal parenting dream come true.

All of Janey's moods are part of her.  This mood will change soon, and who knows what we will get next?  I can't control the moods.  I don't control much about Janey.  I'm just along for the ride, and the best we can do is find something in every mood to embrace.  With this precious mood, Janey makes that pretty easy.

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