Jonah turned 11 on March 7th.
This weekend I couldn’t see him; I was on a business trip to an adoption conference in NYC, so Andy brought Jonah up Friday evening (the day after his birthday) and I met them at oft-requested grandma’s house.
Evidently Boo was a good boy the night before at the residence, where they threw a little party with pizza and cake. I guess as soon as Jonah understood it was his birthday party, he began incessantly requesting cake. All through the party. Cake? cake? cake? And to be even more specific, what he really meant was frosting? frosting? frosting?
Perhaps for his birthday next year I will give him a whole tub of frosting right at the beginning of the party.
Of course I am being facetious and am in fact trying harder to pay careful attention to what he is eating and drinking. Last post was all about how I want an answer to his aggression, and I figure the first place to look is nutrition & what is going into his body. The school has a nutritionist and I may request the guidelines or whatever to pay more careful attention to Jonah’s diet. In all probability it is me who gives him more “junk” food than anyone. He actually eats his vegetables (and certainly gets no black soda) at school, that’s for sure. Andy always has salad, vegetables, and healthy things for Jonah to eat. I’ve ordered a continuous prescription of chewable Omega-3s; I think he’s been on them for a year or so now.
Most of the limited medical research I ‘ve done so far emphasizes the comorbidity of autism (particularly that which is accompanied by aggression) with stomach problems and/or sleeping difficulties. Jonah goes to sleep early and sleeps well through the night, and he doesn’t have stomach difficulty. Unless you count that the food gets down there unmasticated, as he is wont to shove great chunks of food into his mouth and needs constant reminders to take small bites. Maybe that does mean something. One of the problems with this kind of research is that I find either ‘autism 101’ filler pieces about how behavioral problems are addressed through ABA, sensory toys, social stories, etc. or I find articles and dissertations out of advanced medical journals and can’t even comprehend half of what I’m reading.
So I will dig a little more every day.
On Friday Jonah enjoyed his mini-party at grandma’s house. She’d bought him two helium Happy Birthday balloons, which of course he loved, and as a treat we got him Burger King. Of course, this was topped off by two baths and a very auspicious car ride to see train, which arrived at the crossing just as we did. Jonah rolled down his window and stared at the passing railcars. It was a very good visit. Boo gave lots of hugs and kisses, and requested music? if we weren’t playing it loud enough.
“How old are you now, Boo?”
“How old is Jonah now?
I’mtenyearold he replies in a word-slur only someone used to his enunciation can understand.
“Guess what, Boo? You’re eleven years old now!”
Evvenyearold, he tells me.
“That’s right, Boo, you’re eleven now. How old is Jonah now?”
I’mtenyearold, he answers, as if to say I just told you.
Gotta love my boy.
That night Andy kept Jonah overnight for the first time since we admitted Boo to Anderson, a year and a half ago. And Jonah was good, and it went well, though even when he is good he is an exhausting enigma.
And here I am outside Madison Square Garden,
playing around while waiting for my train
because, underground, Penn Station feels
dizzy with people, everywhere people, blurry-quick,
moving confidently and frenetically in all directions…
and I don’t like it to be down there.