I have often wondered if Christian feels left out when around other children who are not playing with him.  Usually, though, that is by his choice.  He chooses to do something else or moves away from the loud ruckus of the others seemingly not bothered to be doing his own thing by himself…

…until the 4th of July.  [my heart breaks a little recounting it]  Our neighbors’ host this HUGE party every year — lots of people, lots of food, lots of noise, lots of fireworks.  Last year, this event went pretty much unnoticed by Christian, at least, until the fireworks started.  But this year…oh, this year, there was my boy.  Face squished up against the fence.  Fingers laced through.  A look on his face like he wanted to be there.

Then the questions welled up in my mind like a flood — Does he want to be there with the people?  Does the food appeal to him?  Do the giggles of the kids chasing each other call to him?  Or does just want to go in and out of their house like everyone else there?  Is it just the lure of their play tower beckoning him?  Does he just want to break in for their movie collection and hijack them for his own?  What is the draw?  Why is he standing there staring?  Does he feel left out???

I really wish I knew.  I still haven’t been able to figure it out.  But it still tears my heart in two.

Ah, Christian is growing up.  I suppose, he is SIX now, but I hadn’t been thinking about us coming to this crossroads quite SO soon.  Last night, we found out that Christian has his first wiggly tooth. 

He is NOT happy about it. In his mind, teeth are not supposed to move. 

I feel really bad for him since he doesn’t have his top four front teeth.  (He was really accident-prone as a toddler and chipped them all and then they got infected, so they were removed when he was 2-1/2.)  He already has this big hole in his smile, so if his bottom teeth fall out first (like the dentist thinks will happen) Christian will have an even BIGGER hole in his smile. 

How is he going to deal with that?  Is he going to totally freak out when his tooth falls out?  Will he pull it out or swallow it or who knows?  How will he bite his food?  How long will he be without teeth in the front?  Will he also flip when the teeth start coming back in?  Especially on the top where he hasn’t had any teeth for 3-1/2 years?  He started to learn to talk again AFTER his top teeth were removed.  Will he have to learn where to place his tongue when talking all over again?  Will he bite his tongue?  Will he get mad with teeth in there now?

So many, many questions running through my mind.

Perhaps, it’s time for another social story (and a lot of prayer)…

I think Olivia has a friend.  A neighbor friend.  There is a girl who lives next door who is about six months older than Olivia.  She came and played with Olivia on Wednesday afternoon/evening.  🙂  They were both a bit sad when it was time to go home for the night.  😦

I think this will be GREAT for Olivia.  I hope that the two of them can play together a couple of times a week.  Olivia could really use a friend and it’s nice to have one SO close.  🙂

I also heard new friend ask Olivia, “Why is he[Christian] crying?”  Liv casually turned to her and said, “He’s not crying.  He’s happy!”  To Liv that was a good enough explanation because it was SO true.  I’m sure she’ll be peppered with many more questions about her brother in her lifetime and I hope she will always be able to answer in like fashion.  🙂

I have toyed with the idea of getting a service dog for Christian.  The idea is on the back burner for now as Brian has some serious concern over fundraising that amount of money.  His concerns are legit, as I have never fundraised before and am not the kind of person who finds it easy to ask for any help, nevertheless money. 

How to do it?  Who do you ask?  What happens if we can’t raise it?  What will people expect to see if they donate?  How would Christian do with a dog?  Is it worth getting a dog if he can’t take the dog to school?  Is it worth the fight to try and have the school district allow the dog at school?  Ah, so many, many questions.

I have told Brian that I would not follow up with a service dog if he wasn’t completely on board.

Hmm…I wonder if Oprah is looking for a cause?  Bill Gates?  Brad and Angelina?  Hmmm…

Hurray!  HURRAY!  HURRAY!  For Olivia spontaneously sharing with Christian.  🙂

Boo.  BOO!  BOO!  That she was sharing her very own gluten-filled toast.  😦

I am a little nervous.  A little scared, as to what will happen with Christian later today and into the next week. 

Will he sleep?  Will he endlessly stim?  Will he scream even louder and more constantly than usual?  Will he be able to attend?  Will the eye contact disappear?  Will his ability to communicate regress?

I guess these questions will be answered shortly.  I have sometimes wondered exactly what the “fall-out” would be like if gluten was in his diet, so now I will receive that answer unexpectedly.  (Please pray that we all survive it.  😉  )

I find myself daily longing to better understand my son.  Wanting to fully know how he sees the world, instead of just guessing.  Wanting to fully understand his communication and why it is just SO hard for him to use ours.  (I’ve heard that have communication issues with autism is like trying to learn and speak an extremely difficult second language.  I am NOT good at learning other languages, so this really struck a chord with me.)  If I could, I would want to spend a day in his head seeing and going through EVERYTHING that he goes through in a day, so that I could fully and completely understand and then be better equiped to help him navigate the world in which we live.

From what I know, no one has found a way to do this yet.  The closest that I can get is reading books written by people who have autism and/or asperger’s syndrome.  Reading carefully the accounts of their lives and how they viewed the world around them when they were Christian’s age and what they wish someone would have or did do for them that really seemed to make the difference in their lives.

My heart just aches wanting to be able to be more effective in helping him.  But lately I feel like I’m just totally missing something SUPER HUGE that could help him (and then, in turn, help the rest of us, too).  If only I knew what that “thing” was, but I guess then there would be no more mystery to solve.  Then what would I do with my days, right?!?  😉

As I type this right now, I’m listening to him scream that “Writing is SO hard!” and “Blue Soccer Ball!!”  I understand the first, but the second remains a major mystery. 

I guess all that I can do is to keep trying.  To keep loving.  And just keep trusting in God’s never ending love…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  –Jeremiah 29:11

Seriously.  I promise.  I have not fallen off the edge of the earth.  😉

A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I decided to try some raw milk cheese with Christian.  I had been reading about the benefits of raw milk even on people who normally can’t tolerate casein (milk protein).  (As the casein is different in raw milk because it has not gone thru the pasteurization process and is MUCH easier (and safer) to digest.) 

It took a little finesse on my part to even get Christian to lick the cheese.  The cheese is white.  All of the cheese that he has had in the last few years has been orange.  This was a challenge, but once he licked the cheese, he liked the cheese, and then he was actually requesting the cheese.  🙂  Hurray!

So, here is what was noticed in the week that he was eating the raw milk cheese — his communication increased.  Enough that we noticed it.  And he seemed to be looking us in the eye more often all on his own.  I mean, how cool is that?!?  Awesome, right?  But! welcome back aggression.  We’re talking serious hitting anytime he was in the least bit frustrated or angry. Sigh.  😦  It made me want to cry.

I was hoping that things would be super good or super bad so that we could easily say, “Hey, this is totally helping him!” or “Hey, this is NOT good!”  Instead we got BOTH — good to have the GREAT communication :), bad to have the HORRIBLE aggression 😦 .

So then the question becomes, do we live with the aggression in order to have the communication, or do we lose the communication because of the aggression???  I wish there was a simple solution.

Until we figure it out, the raw milk cheese experiment is on suspension.