Almost Grown Up (#539)

Charlie put on his coat and flicked the top half of the zipper over, matched the two ends and pulled them up before walking up the stairs to the front porch to wait for the bus. I did not move, still thinking about that smallest of gestures and how amazing it was to behold.
Trainthinker
Charlie zippering up his jacket? He is 9 1/2 years old; what could be so special about that?

Maybe because he has been sick for the past week and seems somehow much younger, his eyes bigger; more helpless and certainly of very diminished energy from his usual self. I was suddenly reminded of how—was it three years ago? five? four?—we had stood, time and again, in front of a much shorter Charlie and sought to guide his hands to match up the two ends of his coat. His hands that are learning to move up and over on the piano to play the C-major scale are imprecise, are clumsy, when it comes to the activites of daily life, coat-zipping, snap-fastening, fork-handling. These have all been learned after being taught, and after many mornings when Jim and I have ended up zipping up Charlie’s coat, the better to get out the door.

This morning Charlie fastened the plastic and metal and pulled the zipper up almost as an after-thought.

It is a truism in Autismland that the littlest things—the minutest triumphs—are Big Time Headline ALL CAPS news. He put his pants on frontways by himself! She took herself to the bathroom! He threw away his own dirty tissue! She played with her sister for five minutes! But truisms need be no less true.

After a very good day at school, Charlie wanted “black car! black car! b’ack car!” We had just gone on a walk and I ran into the house to get my things. Charlie had already climbed into the backseat when I got in and put my key into the ignition.

“Giff,” said Charlie. I turned slightly and held out my hand, into which Charlie put Jim’s key to the black car, which Charlie must have found and taken in his eagerness to go. “Giff, Mommy.”

“Thanks Charlie,” I said, and suppressed a mental image of Charlie……. driving (which, for a long list of reasons mostly having to do with Charlie’s neurological wiring, is not something I am going to contemplate).

“Shopping cart,” said Charlie.

“Sounds good,” I said and off we drove.

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Comments
7 Responses to “Almost Grown Up (#539)”
  1. enna id says:

    Hurray for You’all!!!!!!!

  2. Lisa/Jedi says:

    I was just telling another parent at school yesterday that the balancing factor to having a developmentally delayed kid is that you get to observe & celebrate the milestones- you do not take them for granted 🙂 You go, Charlie!

  3. Driving? *hmmm I can’t hear you hmmmm*.

    Yes, ALL CAPS earth shattering news like “He buckled himself in his booster seat”. Sometimes I feel bad for parents who don’t get to celebrate those little accomplishments.

    Way to go Charlie! Zippers are tough.

  4. Eva says:

    One of my autistic pupils loves books and asking for the pictures inside. She always takes my finger, point at some detail, said “there” and I have to comment like “That`s a car, that`s a baby, that`s a tree”.
    She was looking at a book last friday, point at one page and I asked “What`s that?”. She answered “dog” and I was soooo happy, because she normally don`t like to talk. I love those little steps. Go on Charlie and greetings from far away (Germany).

  5. MommyGuilt says:

    Woo HOO!!!! I LOVE the little things, because they are SO HUGE! Way to Go Charlie!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    yay! i know that feeling! i am so proud of charlie! slowing down to our kids’ pace allows us to really see and appreciate what milestones the tiny moments really are.

  7. Love it Charlie!!! The littlest things are always the biggest things for our children!!!

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