An introduction to Ray:
Ray was born on June 11, 2006 by emergency C section. His head was too big and got hung up. When he was born, he had red marks between his nose and mouth, between his eyebrows and on his head. At first I thought they were birth marks, but the pediatrician said it was from birth and they would fade away. They did, slowly, although for a long time they would pop out if he was tired or in pain.
From the beginning, he loved watching trees. Since he has graduated from watching the world to running to embrace it, he will pick up a stick if he sees one on the ground, hug a tree, or play in the flowers.
He started teething at 2 months. He was and is such a happy child that the only way we could tell that he was getting a new tooth at first was the drool and spitting up. Ray still drools excessively. He had multiple ear infections, one on top of another, until we switched doctors in April, 2008. He is allergic to peaches—when we gave it to him the first time, he took one bite and refused the rest. Hives soon sprang up. (Between 6-7 months old). He recently accidentally got another taste of them, and the hives came back.
At four months, he started rearing back and hitting his head into me. At 6 months, he did it so violently it knocked a tooth out (one of mine). He has mostly stopped doing this, but every once in a while it still happens— I’ve gotten better at ducking, though. It isn’t a reaction to rage, although he does has a temper tantrum. Just happens, every once in a blue moon. We used to have more, and now they are slowly dying out.
He never liked being on his tummy. Because I was afraid of SIDS, I didn’t enforce “tummy time: too much, either. He was late in sitting up on his own, although I can’t remember when he started doing it. At nine months, he began “crawdadding”, scooting on his back to reposition himself. He started crawling at 10 months, walking on his own at about 13 or 14 months. Although his doctor kept saying that he wasn’t hitting he milestones, and he was a “slow developer”, that doctor never offered any solutions. Once he started walking, he quickly started running.
He has always loved music. He also loves to dance. He does a castanet dance, complete with a small clicking noise. There are mornings when he wakes up dancing. Sometimes, I get out my keyboard and we play it together. He also has a toy drum that he likes to play, and a “guitar” (electric toy version).
He loves everyone. Frequent hugs are given while we’re at church (where he runs riot over many). He has started waving at people in cars next to us while we’re at a stop light, telling them “hi” and “bye” (this is brand new).
Ray loves to play with balls, playing with his dad and me. We play catch, kick, lots and lots of different things with the balls. Playing in the kitchen sink with the water and a couple of cups makes him blissfully happy. He loves cars and trucks. When we went to Toys R Us for the first time right before his second birthday, he grabbed onto a toy truck and would not let it go. It traveled in his lap, then he carried it up to the apartment even though the truck was almost as big as him. In the past few months, he has started grabbing us by the hand, saying “Come on”, and leading us to the table to play cars with him. He also loves pushing buttons. If it makes a noise & lights up to boot—woo-boy!
He still plays with the stove, runs out into the street. I have a “leash” that I keep on him if we are somewhere where it is very important for me to keep him within reach. Oddly enough, even though he won’t stop on his own, if I just tug on the leash he stops.
He has a few words, but not many. Ok, thank you, go car go, hi, bye, no, welcome, bubbles, baba, bath, welcome, come on, lets go, night night, cookie, no, yeh, uh-oh, owie, Blue (Blue’s Clues), Manny (Handy Manny), right there, and a few others. He makes appropriate car noises, crash noises, and monster noises depending on how he is playing.
He started singing when it’s bedtime, so I’m slowing teaching him the Beatles. He sounds a lot like a drunken sailor. He’s got the “ooohhh” down in “Love Me Do”. He also sings it at the right time on the Sponge Bob Square Pants opening. He watches WAY TOO MUCH TV at home, but he always watches with Brian or I, never on his own as a babysitter.
He is seen as having a problem looking people in the eyes. He has an astigmatism in his right eye, though. I’ve also noticed that if he thinks he’s in trouble, or if he’s ashamed, he won’t meet your eyes. If you’re singing, having fun, dancing, he has no problems doing it. One of his favorite bedtime games is to grab my face, looking deeply into my eyes right before he squeezes my cheeks to make me make the mouth fart noise. It cracks him up every time.
He plays at daycare side by side with the other kids. However, these are the only peers that he interacts with, really. Most of the time he’s with adults or older kids. He will play with adults. He loves playing monster with Dad, cooks on his (pretend)“stove” and feeds us grown-ups his delicious delights. He remembers where he stashes his toys, too—the kitchen has a small microwave that he sometimes hides cars in.
For Christmas, he got the “Spud Buds” and he loves playing with them, making them talk to each other and kiss. He also has a Barbie and a Ken and does the same with them, although he seems to prefer the spud buds (a mini-potato head, carrot and corn).
On Halloween, we took Ray up to my Dad’s house so he could trick or treat in a real neighborhood. He loved going up to people’s houses, and in fact tried to enter quite a few of them. When went back to my dad’s, where Ray was allowed to give out candy and boy howdy did he love it. A knock would sound, or the door bell ring, and he would be off and running down the hall, blonde curls bouncing, to give handfuls of candy to the trick or treaters. He only tried to grab candy from a couple of them. He started crushing on one little girl, gave her a hug and about 10 candy bars. When the kids would go back to the street, he’d point up in the sky and start “talking” to them (babbling). Our own little Irish man on St. Patty’s day. He had so much fun it was amazing. I laughed my butt off with him, and my Dad hadn’t had that much fun in a monkey’s age. Even though so much was new and different, we didn’t have any extreme meltdowns.
Some say he is clumsy. He has a weird pain thing. Sometimes, he’ll run straight into a wall, full bore, bounce off, shake himself, then continue running. Other times, he gets a relatively small owie and wants the boo boo kissed so it can be better. When playing outside, sometimes you have to really watch him. He cut his hand once, and another time his leg, and not shed a tear or said owie or anything to hint he was hurt.
He is a glorious puzzle. He can’t speak, but he’s smart as a whip. Even though he no longer goes to the doctor all the time, he remembers to stick out his finger for the pulse machine, knows where the scale is, and loves to play scary with Dr. (turns off the lights, raises his hands and makes ghost noises). When we went last week, he was hanging off the door, trying to get in to see her. He is happy, although he will fall out crying if he can’t play anymore, or if someone he wants to keep visiting with goes bye-bye.
In my deepest of hearts, I don’t think he’s autistic. He’s too social, too loving. He’s bright, loving… and frustrated. He wouldn’t become as frustrated as he does about the language barrier if he wasn’t on the ball. That’s one of the real reasons why he doesn’t play with other kids his age. He can’t get them to understand him, and doesn’t always understand what’s going on.
Please help my son.