Now, if we could just go past TEN!

J has actually adjusted rather well to his bit of running with the Wii.  I think it’s because it’s a “social” experience; we all do it together because it helps motivate us and it’s not as boring.  Yesterday, as we trudged through the snow towards our townhouse, J seemed slightly less out of breath than in past days…of course, it could be that I was walking so fast because it was so cold that I wasn’t really listening for shortness of breath.  I like to think that progress is being made…to some degree.

The first point of negotiation was the measuring of food.  J was not particularly excited about having his cereal snack parceled out from a measuring cup, but he wasn’t vocally opposed either.  He gave me the look that says “really?  We’re doing THIS now?”  With a swift flick of the wrist he indicated that he wanted more, and I said NO with as much enthusiasm as he says BYE.  Case closed.  I am assuming that somewhere in his room he has a map which he uses to plan his strategy…I am sure if such a map exists, J will be laying it out so he can start planning.  As much organizing, thinking, strategizing as I do, J can match me in determination and forward thinking.  (Memo to me: teach him to play chess.)

The transition back into his usual routine has been quite smooth (aside from the token bit of emoting we had to live through on Tuesday morning) and we are getting ‘fabulous day’ as feedback in his comm book.  My usual response is ‘he’s been slightly surly, seems to be planning to take over the world and has taken to muttering things that sound like “my precioussssss” under his breath.”  OK, I don’t write that…but I think it.  J can be aloof when he wants to (d-uh!  He’s AUTISTIC!) and he makes secret plans to thwart our not-so-secret ones.  This is the kid who can sniff out snacks no matter where we hide them (so we’re not buying any more,) and remembers that the “I don’t have any money on me” excuse means “I don’t have cash” and so he goes for the debit card.    He has one of the most important qualities a good strategist needs: PATIENCE!

So the measuring cups are in play, but I’ve yet to find a good way to use them in terms of indicating to J which portions he’s allowed each day.  With the cups being accepted (for now) into the stream of our daily routine, the rest should eventually become easy.  We have the running (one short run each day so far) and the cups…and yesterday we introduced some rather basic calisthenics.  Between exercises J would say “I WANT” and we would distract him by completing the sentence for him…the poor guy tried “I WANT” and we -a little too brightly, I admit- said “SQUATS!!!!!!!!”  Or “SIDE STRETCHES!” or “JUMPING JACKS!”  He was game…he went along with it…as long as we didn’t give him much of a truce between one thing and the other, and as long as he could do the counting.

What I have never liked about aerobics instructors has been the peppiness with which they infuse everything.  I once knew a girl who imbued everything she said with the same sing-song enthusiasm she used during her exercise classes.  A lilt in her voice would finish each sentence…”I had such a great TIME!,” “that is such a long DRIVE!,” “of course, I told him to go screw HIMSELF!”  She would also spontaneously start clapping and talking with a certain rhythm that made everything feel more urgent.  “Let’sgolet’sgolet’sgolet’sGO!” and I would find myself drinking my water faster, as if -even though the restaurant gave it to you for free- there was a meter running on consumption time.  Yesterday I must have been channeling this girl because J started counting from one to ten and increased his speed with each exercise.  He also was lilting the number ten.  What I mean is: his counting (significant though it was in terms of he KNOWS the numbers and as clearly enunciated as I’ve ever heard from him) was echolalic…he knew he was counting, but the tone in which he was doing it was the one he was hearing from me.  So J was saying:











and his voice was no louder, more enthusiastic, happier, higher, energetic or lively…it just had that “tone” to it.

In this fashion we cycled through several exercises that were part of my PE routine in the Fifth grade.  It’s comforting to see that they still work 37 years later even if the school system claims to be unable to afford running a program that encourages kids to “run outside, touch your toes, jump rope, dribble a ball” for an hour a week…  J was happy and energized (even if his voice didn’t show it) and proved that he can count to ten quite clearly.  That big band of “extra J” around his waist (courtesy of the pill…the pill we love because it takes away OTHER THINGS even if it ADDS this one) will eventually diminish because exercising, for now, seems fun!

Once we were done, he went back upstairs and to his music.  We could hear him laughing as he listened to Rickie Lee Jones singing “The Real End.”  He was happy…he had fun…he can’t yet touch his toes without bending his knees, but one can’t expect these things to get resolved in an instant.  Listening to J laughing and dancing along to Ms. Jones’ musical stylings (and then to the Plain White T’s – “The Rhythm of Love” is his current favorite,) I told my husband “you know what we have to do next, right?”  He fired off a few suggestions: power walking, cycling, swimming, step aerobics…BOXING!  He can do shadow boxing because he has the gloves!

No, no, NO…we need to learn to count to FIFTEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s always something, isn’t it?


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