Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year; Two Years in the Making

Happy 2012!   I hope this finds your families healthy and happy after the holiday season.  We decided to go "low key" this New Years.  We stayed home.  It's been a busy break with swim practices, so instead of packing up and going somewhere we thought we needed some down time before school started again. 

New Years Eve found us hanging out, playing cards and waiting for the ball to drop.  Daniel was also waiting, although ready to leap into bed after we counted down.  His favorite part is counting backwards from 10 of course.  It is oh so very very Sesame Street!  At about 11:45 he wandered downstairs, already showered and in his pajamas waiting for "the" moment.  He brought his I pad with him while he waited in the family room.  Todd and I were playing cards with our friends when we heard the TV go silent.  We both turned around to look into the family room and then we saw "it".  For those of you who know us, or have read this blog for a long time, you know what "it" is.  "It", like Voldemort, is the thing that cannot be named, said, talked about, make a reference to, anything.  The Belle Tire commercial was on during The New Years Rockin' Eve "with Dick Clark" hosted by Ryan Seacrest (I don't know why that makes me laugh...Dick Clark, please please retire.) 

But for those of you who aren't familiar with our years and years (and years) of dealing with "The Belle Tire guy", here are some old posts for you to read.  Here  I think that should pull up all of them.  I reread a lot of these last night.  Realizing that for the past two years we have been actively working on helping Daniel past this fear.  Really, it's been his whole life, but the past two years he seems to have matured enough to work harder on it.  He is still terrified by the little demon.  This seemingly innocuous little guy has really pissed me off for a long time.  Only because he paralyzes my child and prevents us from going to a lot of places for fear that he will suddenly appear on a screen somewhere.  I have written about "Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Aspergers".  But as a reminder, it explains that "perceptual thinkers can experience thought as a reality. It means that when they think about something, they relive it visually, auditorially, etc and emotionally." (ONeill 1999).  If you have ever seen Daniel react to this guy you'd know he was reliving a nightmare over and over again. 

One of my followers became someone who worked for Belle Tire, because I wrote about them so much, I guess they had to know who this blogger was who kept talking about them.  They feel bad.  They've even written to me, which is nice, but also kind of funny.  But what can they do?  I only wish they could do something.

So back to NYE.  Silence.  Todd and I looked at each other, with that non verbal communication that only 20+ years of marriage can give you.  Todd jumped up and went into the room (we can see the TV from where we were, but not Daniel).  Daniel was looking at his I pad, with kind of a scrunched up look on his face, looking off to the side.  Kind of like when you see something really disgusting and don't quite want to look at it...  Then when it was over, it was over although he was a little upset.  He muted it and looked away.  That's what he did.  What he DIDN'T DO was: yell, cover his ears, run from the room.  None of it. None of the typical for him fight or flight, over the top panic. He simply picked up the remote and hit that powerful little button "mute", averted his eyes and waited for it to be over.  For two years, when we go into restaurants with TVs (that are muted) we have told him "it's safe,  it's on mute", he won't hear "it's" voice and he can look away when it's done.  For over two years.  It has allowed us to slowly go to more places.  He gets a little anxious, but he's been doing it with some underlying panic.  Then on NYE, this happened.  The couple who were with us, both know very well, about his problems with this. We all looked at each other in astonishment.  I'm so glad they knew how BIG, HUGE, ENORMOUS, this was for him and were able to celebrate that with us.  We didn't have a lot of time to do that, because it was time for the countdown.  We had poppers with confetti (yup, loud, but we warned him, and he was fine with it and happy to pull one himself). We counted down, we kissed and hugged and welcomed 2012 together.  With maybe just a little more enthusiasm that we had planned on because Daniel made a huge leap forward that night.  I think confetti and celebration were a perfect way to follow up this growth.  That is why we are always working on things.  It took over two years, and we saw a change right before our eyes.  I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come.  Happy New Year from the Sneathens!

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