Deja vu all over again

So, without saying it out loud or telling anyone (until now), I resolved for this year to actually take at least one picture of Philip every day. That was the original intent of this blog. However, I’d like to think I have sense enough not to sign up for the post-a-day challenge this year. It’s easy to snap a photo, but life too often gets in the way of blogging about it. And life is more important than blogging about life.

But, here I sit, once again waiting for Philip to fall asleep, so I have the opportunity to post one of today’s photos.

When I plugged the photo into my just-created “one-a-day” virtual album, I realized that there are a lot of similarities to yesterday’s pic.  Philip is wearing his monkey pajamas again. Philip is holding his new airplane. The same airplane that he held for over an hour last night. The same airplane that he has been holding ever since his bath.

A few weeks ago, I started following a blogger with a toddler who is also waiting a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. The other day in her blog, Flappiness Is, she wrote a great post that I shared on Facebook that really put into words some of my experiences with Philip over the past year and a half. Here is a pertinent excerpt from that post called “So You’re Wondering If Your Child Might be Autistic . . .”:

You may notice that your child doesn’t seem to know how to play with toys correctly.  Instead of rolling his little truck around (or kissing her baby doll), he just sits and repeatedly spins the wheels.  Or bangs the baby doll, over and over and over.  And over some more.  He might fixate on a toy that isn’t a toy – such as a plastic hanger, a spoon or a string, or a button on your shirt.  You’ll try to interest him in something else, and he’ll drop it and go right back to the non-toy.

What does this have to do with the picture of Philip and the airplane? I’d like to draw your attention to the empty paper towel tube. After about thirty minutes playing with the airplane alone, Philip discovered the tube waiting to go in the recycling box. He immediately grabbed it up and, for the duration of the evening, he has been taking the airplane in and out of the tube or moving the plane as it sits in the end of the tube.

I have tons of other pictures that could illustrate the symptom of autism described in the above excerpt as manifested in Philip. But I’m not going to do that. Instead, since I have still have enough time to blog today, I’d rather share some signs of hope.

At one point before the paper towel tube was added to the mix, Philip was upstairs moving the airplane through the air. On impulse, I made a “whoosh” sound one of the times that he quickly moved the plane. After I did this a few times, Philip stopped moving the plane, looked at me and laughed. Then he flapped it through the air, smiling and laughing each time I “whooshed.”  I ran out of breath before Philip tired of this game.

Later, when I was downloading the photos onto my computer, Philip came over and tugged on my arm. When I turned to look at him, he rapidly moved the airplane. I realized what he wanted. I supplied a few more “whooshes.” Satisfied, he left and went back to playing by himself.

As happy as it makes me to play with Philip if only briefly, I’m even more pleased by the note that came home on today’s preschool report. Peter and I weren’t sure how Philip would react to returning to school after winter break. It turns out that he had a good day. While playing in the block center, he interacted with others by pushing a car and waiting for someone to roll it back. The note said “he laughed and smiled when this happened.”

I didn’t laugh, but I definitely smiled when I read the note.



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