Spring Break, Day 4: Walk, Walk, Walk, Walk, Walk
Walk #1. 7.30am. Charlie woke just before 7am and (as he usually does) got up, got himself dressed, ran clomping down the stairs with his stuff and opened the front door. Jim and I roused ourselves up post-haste and it was worth it as, instead of getting into the car and demanding that we drive off, Charlie asked for a walk.
Walk #2. 8.46am. This one occurred under conditions of duress. After Walk #1 we all got in the white car to get bagels. Within 5 minutes of leaving our driveway, Charlie cried out, grabbed for my arm, flung all of himself over all of the back of the car. Jim got us home and (again post-haste) we told Charlie "walk," and then ran after him running down the street.
(Charlie was running because he was in deep distress, but he's also started to do the first half of all our walks at an all-out sprint.)
Charlie was still crying when we got back in the car post-walk. We got bagels, but he didn'ttouch his. Jim and I definitely suspected stomach trouble and I prompted Charlie to say "stomach ache" and "my stomach hurts."
Bike Ride Interlude. 9.30am. Once back from a ride that Charlie asked for, Jim noted how fast he has to pedal to keep up with our boy. Back in the fall bike rides often stretched on and on as Charlie kept getting off the bike and then back on. Now, aside from waiting for cars at intersections, Charlie's been riding steadily and, yes, at top speed.
(Yes, Jim and I did note that, by 10am, we had already had a bit of a full day.)
Walk #3. 3pm. It was 75 degrees yesterday. Charlie has still been wearing his blue fleece jacket, and I considered him only wearing this one jacket progress, as he has still been wearing all of his winter gear on our walks. Prior to this walk—which Charlie asked for following a repeat of the "sentimental journey" he and I did on Tuesday, but in the opposite direction—he had reached for his blue parka and gloves and I had said something to the effect of "are you sure you need those." It generally takes Charlie a couple of days/weeks to transition from one season's clothing into the next and, as it's just gotten warm as of yesterday, I was expecting him to insist on the parka and gloves. (We'll see about tomorrow.)
Walk #4. 6pm. A post-dinner stroll, I guess you could call this. Charlie and I—-Jim had left around noon to give a lecture at a community college in Poughkeepsie—encountered a couple of walkers and runners on this walk (whom Charlie could have outrun easily). We also sighted Nemesis Dog in her or his front yard; Charlie was careful to walk a wide arc in the opposite direction. But, he simple moved out of the way (ok, onto someone's lawn) when we met a family with a brown and black dog on a leash.
Again, Charlie, asked to go on this walk.
And yes, Charlie also asked for Walk #5. 8.30pm. I would say this was the most pleasant, relaxed walk, in part because it was dark and the absence of direct, bright light seems to help Charlie be much more at ease; in part because Jim and I were right to suggest that Charlie say "my stomach hurts" and that he had a "stomach ache." He indeed must have not been feeling too good earlier this morning, hence his storminess in the car.
Once home, I showed Charlie some of Jim's interview on Channel 13-WNET; Charlie smiled what I like to call his "secret smile," as it hints that he's especially pleased about something and he ain't gonna tell you exactly.
I'm all right with just seeing that smile and yes, I am definitely going to keep working on teaching those stomach phrases. Most of what Charlie says on his own are (1) requests and (2) things and people from his past. Using words to describe something like an "internal state," how he feels, would be a new thing and something that—like learning to ask for walks when he feels his energy level rising—is one more way to help Charlie handle, and soothe, his distress on his own.