As you know, I am still waiting to hear "mommy". Or daddy, dog, ball, milk, more, ANYTHING. My guy likes to give hugs, but on his terms. If I ask for one he's not going to come over and give one. He will however run into my arms if I have been gone for a bit, and I absolutely love those moments. He also comes over for random hugs and cuddles throughout the day, and I cherish every minute of it. He has yet to give me a kiss, though he will usually tolerate when I give him one. I am still hoping one day to see those little lips pucker up to plant one one me, or to at least see look of understanding when I ask for one, as he runs the other way because kisses are "icky"
There have been days when I have let these expectations not being met get to me. When the weather started getting nice this past spring and summer I began bringing Jake to various playgrounds. I envisioned him climbing up the jungle gyms and flying down the slides. Instead he acted as if the equipment wasn't even there. He was content to wander around aimlessly, and I spent most of the time bringing him back. I stopped meeting at the playgrounds for playdates with my mommies group. We never got to spend time with the other children and their moms, and it was hard for me to see children younger than him enjoying climbing, sliding, and running with the other kids while I tried to keep Jake from running away. I eventually found a nice fenced in playground attached to a preschool that we were able to visit on the weekends. There Jake is able to explore as much as he wants, and I don't have to worry about him going to far. They also have some smaller equipment which I will carry Jake on to and encourage him to try climbing. He seems to enjoy himself, and when he is happy I am happy.
Our trip to the zoo this summer was the cause of my own mini breakdown. My mother-in-law was visiting and we decided to take advantage of a nice and therapist free day to take Jake to see the animals. Since J doesn't really follow a point, I didn't really expect him to look at animals I pointed out to him. I figured we'd go to exhibits with the bigger animals walking around to and see if he noticed or took interest in them. I made the mistake of taking him out of the stroller early on. From his vantage point you couldn't see anything. We were at the polar bear exhibit and the animal was walking all around. I took him out so he could get a look. I *think he saw it, and seemed a bit interested. Next was the barn which was right next door, so I carried him over as he wouldn't be able to see anything from the stroller there either. I got him to look at the horse (for about 2 seconds), but failed to get him to notice the sheep, despite them being about 1 foot away and actually within reach. He was more interested in walking around aimlessly (though very happy) When it was time to move on he had a mini fit because he didn't want to be picked up and carried out. He isn't good at holding my hand and walking, unless of course it is in the direction he wants to go. Trying to get him back into the stroller was a major fail. He pitched a fit, threw his body around, etc. I carried him and we continued on to the sea lions. We went to the "underwater" part, where the sea lion swims by right in front of you. Again, I couldn't get him to take notice of the giant animal swimming in front of our faces. He was wriggling and trying to get down to run around. After a few more failed attempts to get him back in the stroller (and one very hot, sweaty mom), we headed back to the car. We were there just under an hour.
I think things may have gone better if he had stayed in the stroller, but as I said, the way the zoo is set up he wouldn't have seen much. I guess what was hardest for me was seeing the other children at the zoo and their reactions to the animals. They were pointing, oohing & ahhing, and seeking them out. Seeing a little girl probably about 12 months old in her mom's arms pointing to the sea lion as it swam by, saying "more, more" in anticipation of it coming back while J wouldn't even look at it tugged at my heart a bit. On a day to day basis I see him making great strides. When we are home he is such a delight and is really interested in interacting with us. (He is typically well behaved in public also) It's when we break out of our bubble and are around NT kids his age that it really hits me how delayed he is in so many areas. Just when I think I have fully come to terms with his dx and all that comes with it, I have a day like that day at the zoo. It took all I could not to cry at the zoo (and in front of my MIL) I guess I am sometimes still grieving the loss of the life I had "expected" for J. Experiences like seeing my son enjoy the zoo and being able to watch him delight in the animals and share in his excitement. I need to remind myself that he is a very happy boy, and that to him he isn't feeling like he is missing out on anything. And I still haven't given up hope that one day he WILL be able to have that zoo experience.