Ever since we returned from Disney World, Nate’s been unable to sleep through the night; in fact, he’s only slept through the night twice in a month’s time. Usually, our Disney trips bring about new milestones but this one caused a regression. We also changed things up on Nate, which didn’t help. We turned the guest room into an office and gave Nate the queen sized guest bed. However, we were due for a sleep regression as Nate seems to cycle between periods of sleeping through the night and then being unable to do so. The latest sleeping-through-the-night phase lasted from December to May, not a bad stretch. I always get anxious once Nate does start sleeping through the night, though, because it means we’re at the top of the hill, plummeting down toward the next upward climb of no sleep. We never know how long either phase will last. So here’s hoping we’ve made it to the top and have a long coast down the hill.
For a while now (about two months?), Nate’s become a little obsessed with light switches. I think it’s partially due to a growth spurt that allowed him to reach them (Nate can also now open the refrigerator and freezer….) but then it morphed into something else. The lights have to be on. Lamps? On. And if you turn it off, he politely goes back and turns it back on. We’ve had the conversation about how the light isn’t needed unless we’re in the room but Nate doesn’t really seem to care. Before school got out, Ms. Susie and I plotted a course of action so hopefully this new fascination will be extinguished soon.
Remember the Yale Autism Center study I mentioned Nate was accepted to last week? Well, it’s no more. After much fanfare, including a “welcome to the study!” email, it turns out they’re not accepting nonverbal kids to the program. We’re totally bummed. Nate’s on a waiting list for future studies and we hope he’ll be able to participate in one soon.
Nate went to a birthday party recently at the home of some close friends. Last year, same time, Nate was able to make it for about 45 minutes and then we had to leave. This year, we stayed for nearly three hours! There were some tricky moments–the party horns scared him and we stood two rooms away during the cake portion of the party so I could explain to him that everyone was going to sing and cheer. We quietly sang together (ok, I sang for both of us) and I was so grateful that Aunt Xandra quickly got Nate a cupcake so he didn’t have to wait. In fact, Aunt Xandra was quite considerate and gave Nate two cupcakes, which really, to Nate, are handles for frosting. It also helped that I packed Nate a lunch so he could try some party foods while still having familiar things on his plate.
It turns out that Pete is part dog. He follows us everywhere. More to the point, he follows Nate everywhere. Pete loves Nate. Nate has taken to Pete but is really only interested in, at the most, parallel play. Pete, however, tries to interact with Nate. For instance, when Nate’s rolling poker chips down his Hot Wheels ramp, Pete catches every one. When Nate comes home from school, Pete always greets us with a big flirt flop on the floor. Sometimes I can get Nate to say “hi” to Pete but it’s rare. And sometimes Pete jumps up on the couch as I’m taking Nate’s shoes and braces off and rubs against Nate’s skin, which makes Nate giggle to no end. Even though Nate doesn’t interact with Pete much, I know they’re best friends.
Speaking of best friends, Nate’s pool of “friends” has grown. I’m not really sure how it started. First we had Hobbes. Then we got Hobbes 2.0 and 3.0 because the original Hobbes was getting worn. (Now, I can’t tell any of the three Hobbeses apart!) Then Nate fell in love with Hippo. And Gorilla. And we found a great stuffed dog at IKEA that Nate uses as a body pillow. We named him Ralph after our favorite pharmacist who always stops working to come over and help Nate practice his social skills. Then we found a Baby Ralph. And then our neighbors, who have adopted Nate as their own grandchild, brought over a horse, which Chad named The Duke. If you’ve lost count, that’s eight friends — oh, and two wubbies. And then yesterday I found a body pillow at Costco with the right texture of fabric. Whenever we move from one room or floor to another, Nate tries to carry them all. When he can’t, he sits in your arms and vehemently points at which friends you forgot. We try to only travel with two or three friends but sometimes they all have to get chucked down the stairs in order for us to walk safely on the stairs.