Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

Merry Christmas!  2010 has been a good year for the Damron family.  There have quite a few ups and downs, but for the most part we are all happy and healthy, and better off than we were a year ago, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say.

Main events:
  • In February I took Hayden sledding for the first time.  I don't know which is better, experiencing these things for the first time as a kid, or as a mom.  We giggled so much, and had fun cuddling in our warm PJs and watching tv when we got home.
  • Hayden received a giant cardboard robot named Gigantor. 
  • In February the Mooresville bus driver and aide picked up Hayden and two other children from school one day, dropped off the two other children, parked the bus in the lot at the Transportation Department, and went home, leaving him alone on the bus for 2 1/2 hours on a 30 degree day.  Luckily he was asleep and wearing a coat, and luckily Angie at day care noticed he was missing. Compounding the stress in the days following the incident was the fact that Jason works for the Corporation, and so what I wanted to say and what I did say were quite different things.  In the end, Hayden was ok and seems to have no memory of the event, and the old buses all got alarms because I pushed the issue.
  • I attended the Autism Expo and my first TACA meeting, which helped put me on a positive path toward how I handled my feelings since the diagnosis, and gave me hope and so many insights into curing Autism.
  • We started the GFCF diet with Hayden and saw vast improvements in his language and other skills.  I can't believe it hasn't even been a whole year since he's been on the diet!  We started seeing a nutritionist who has been vital to our success.  Thanks Staci Small!!
  • We attended the 12th annual Mario Madness at Nick's house and had a great time with old friends. At the end we were trying to pack Hayden up to leave while he was having a meltdown, and Jason came out of the house gesturing with his hands up like he was conducting and said, "Aww-ti-Summmmmmmmmm!!"  Probably a had-to-be-there moment, but I'm writing it down anyway. : )  We have a lot of these moments as a family, where Hayden's special needs over-rule the situation at hand, although in the last few months these moments are becoming fewer and far between!
  • lots of visits to the Children's Museum, Gymboree, and the local park. 
  • Jason had a good time on his trip to Florida with the choir. 
  • I spent a day with students and staff on Lockdown at my elementary school after a local bank robbery.
  • Hayden finally got his official Autism Diagnosis so that we could get him services.
  • In June Jason and I found out we were expecting.
  • We took our first family vacation, to Gulf Shores, and had a really great time with minimal tantrums.
  • Successful first visit to the Special Needs Dentist.
  • Bill and Sadie came and spent a week with us in July. 
  • Hayden started at Cornerstone Autism Center in October.
  • Bob separated from his wife and spent a few weeks at our house.
  • Dad got a new job.
  • Hayden and I were in a car accident that sent me into early labor and an overnight hospital stay.  I've been on bed rest since but baby is doing well. Thanks to Jeff for picking Hayden up each day from school since the accident.
  • On the day of the accident, I was called for an interview for a grant position at the Education Center for Perry Township, the school system I work for.  A few weeks later I interviewed over the phone and was offered the position of Learning Resources Advisor.  I will be helping people with technology throughout the township. It will be a great opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to starting in March.
  • Hayden trick-or-treated this year!
  • Hayden was invited to his first friend's birthday party and had a great time. 
  • Jason's first year holding the Madrigal Dinner at the State Museum was a big success.  He got a lot of nice emails from parents and the community. 
Much happiness here is due to Hayden and his awesome growth in the past 12 months.  It is funny to think that just a year ago I told people who didn't know him that Hayden was non-verbal, speaking only a few words at a time.  In just a year, he has changed so much.  He wears clothes more often. (Maybe not a milestone for some kids, but sure is for mine!) He can wash his hands and put on his socks. He can have more of a conversation... when I ask him a question I usually get a response now instead of the quiet chirping of crickets. He has fewer tantrums and MUCH fewer meltdowns (if you don't know the difference, think of the difference between a level 2 and level 9 earthquake, and how much clean up there will be afterward). He doesn't throw things or hit (ok, as much).  He no longer says his tummy hurts. He can tell us when he is hungry or thirsty or hurt. He lasts a lot longer during parties and family events. He is more tolerant of noise and music. He said "I love you" for the first time spontaneously.  He is really thriving at his new school and learning more every day (and proud Daddy is happy to report that Hayden was the only kid at school who knew what the picture of the light saber was.) His current favorite song to sing each morning on the way to school is Little Bunny Foo Foo. Today he said the Fairy gave Bunny Foo Foo 10 chances... that was a long one!

Touching the Robot Factory that he's not supposed to touch.

Favorite Hayden quotes this year:
  • What do you want for breakfast, Hayden?  He immediately does a little dance and says, "Chips!" 
  • Hayden are you tired?  "No. I think Hayden needs new batteries."
  • We can't play robots, it's time to go to [Waverly] school.  Hayden, rolling on the ground:  "I NOT go to school!"  (We haven't had any morning complaints since starting at Cornerstone!)   :  )
  • Let's pretend to walk like a gorilla. Watch this.  Hayden: "No. Just walking."  me: Now I'm walking like a snake.  H: "No."  Now I'm walking like an elephant.  H: "no, just walk!"  me: Oh, like a person? Should we be people?  H:  "NO!  Just-- Hayden and Mommy. And walk. That's it." 
  • Look Hayden, the soccer team is here!  "It's the Super Heroes!"
  • Hayden's therapist at school says her head hurts. H: "Oh your head hurts?  Have some water. It will feel better."
  • H, restless in bed: "Mommy, I so sad."  I know honey, I think you're just tired. It's time to sleep.  Mommy is going to sleep, and Daddy is going to sleep. We're all going to sleep.  H: "And Hayden is sleeping... And Why-Wee... And Char-wee."  He smiled and turned over and closed his eyes and was asleep in a few minutes.  [Charlie is his pet turtle. I guess when you're listing family members you have to list everyone.]  : )
  • Jason, leaving to take Hayden to school: "Ok, love you Mommy."  H, as he passes his toy, instead of saying bye to Mommy:  "Love you Pirate Ship."

Jason, Hayden, and I are so excited to meet Rylie Noelle soon and are looking forward to a nice holiday with family.  Thank you to everyone who has given us support this year in our journey with Autism and our journey through life!  We are lucky to have such great family and friends.  Thanks for being a part of our lives.

Merry Christmas!
Jason, Sheila, and Hayden

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