We had another great day.
My husband and David had the day off from the respective schools, so we decided to take a drive to Camden Aquarium.
We weren't sure if David would:
(A) Like or even be interested in visiting the aquarium
(B) Be able to handle the crowds
(C) Be able to handle walking since we had to retire the stroller
A,B,and C were non-issues. Totally.
The drive from our house to Camden takes a bit more than an hour. David decided that being naked is the only way to travel. He removed his shirt and rode in his car seat topless until his Daddy pulled over to put his shirt back on.It is February after all and shirts should be worn during Februarys in New Jersey.
When we arrived at the aquarium, David was napping. He woke up a bit cranky. We had to walk in the cold from the expensive parking space located in West Hell to the aquarium. There was a line for ticket outside, in the COLD. I sat with David on a bench while my husband purchased the tickets. I fed David a light snack while we waited.
David walked into the aquarium and he just loved it. He loved the exhibits. (They were pretty cool) He didn't mind the people. He walked nicely with us. He was engaged, excited, interested and curious about everyting the aquarium had to offer. He sat nicely during lunch time. He used the stairs appropriately and he didn't push people out of his way to get to where he wanted to be.
Our Auntie and Uncle live a short distance from the aquarium and we stopped in to visit them. We were a bit worried about David's behavior. They don't have small children in their home of course but they do have a grandson a bit older than David.
Normally, David is Doctor Destructo while visiting. He is non-stop motion. Slapping things,pushing things. Visiting family with David is a challenging and exhausting experience for everyone concerned.
Ok. They have a huge TV in their family room with items sitting on top. Items on a coffee table. Large floor to ceiling closet doors that are ever so inviting to a door stimmer like David. Auntie found a male cloth doll and a wooden truck for David to play with.
David played with the doll and wooden truck. He stimmed very little. He loved that doll and played with it appropriately. He liked the doll so much that Auntie let David keep it. He took it to bed with him tonight.
We were actually able to have a nice visit, a great dinner,and David did not destroy anything. At one point, David was trying to tip a chair that sits in front of the kitchen counter sitting area. Uncle told David to stop. David looked at Uncle and stopped tipping the chair.
I wish I had recorded David at previous family visits and the visit today. I swear to you, it's hard to believe this was the same child. He was so, oh hell, so FREAKIN GOOD!
I know that we have worked long and hard working at modifying David's behaviors. At home and at school, we have been on him like ugly on an ape. We changed his diet. We changed his behavioral programs. We expect "big boy" behaviors from our four year old and we have finally, finally, started getting what we expect.
I am so happy I could cry. But another part of me is like, Nah, this is a fluke. David has a history of being inconsistent in most things and this new and greatly improved David is just a coincidence. However, these co-inky-dinks have been pretty steady. When he is having a moment I can attribute them to his being tired, overworked or hungry.
David has more language too. Consistently,well at home anyway. He now says the letters D-E-F and X (X ain't an easy sound by the way) and in spanish, yes spanish the letter jota(j) David has a leap frog drum that says the alphabet in english and spanish. He approximates counting 1-2-3 and then 9-10. No words for those letters but more like a grunt that can be understood as counting, well, by me anyway.
I have always believed that with hard work and maturation, David's behaviors would change.I didn't expect the changes to be sudden. I'm talking sudden like a bolt of lightning. I hope these changes aren't the calm before the storm of new behaviors that are as if not more challenging than the ones we have been trying to change. The whole naked thing is getting old!