Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gaining attention

"Mommy!" My 3 year old shrieks from her bedroom. She's complaining about being hungry again, even though she just ate. Her endless requests and demands for my attention are common. Sometimes I tune them out, so it takes me a little while to respond. "Huh? Did you just ask me something sweetie? Yeah, sure, you can have it..."

But not with Zavier. I never tune out Zavier's attempts to gain attention, because we are working soooo hard for him to self-initiate it.

"Mommy, I want more chips," he says, holding his bowl out patiently. I smile with delight, and practically run to the chip bag. His ABA therapist is standing right next to him, congratulating him on a job well done. Without her, he usually just calls out "chips" or "can I have more chips" to the universe. It's as if he hopes that by announcing his needs to the thin air, someone will show up with what he wanted. Sometimes he grow persistent with it. Sometimes he will hunt me down, make great eye contact, and declare what he wants - if he's very determined. Other times, his voice isn't audible enough for anyone to hear it. It's almost like a vague whisper that my maternal instinct picks up. I think Zavier just said he wanted something from the other room?...

"Uncle Eek, I want up," he says, and Uncle Eek tosses him into the air. It's practiced. It's been rehearsed. But at least that's clicked without the ABA therapist standing there, reminding him to say it.

Because it's so rare, I remember every time he's ever done it himself. I remember the time I woke up to him tugging at me. "Mommy," he whispered, "I want potty." I followed him, rubbing my eyes. "Good job Zavier," I encouraged him. "First potty, then computer."

Someday I'm sure he'll have endless requests for me like his sister. And I'll wonder why I ever worked so hard for the gaining attention, because he's going to drive me nuts like she does.

That's ok, I look forward to it.