The back to school season was interrupted by an unwelcome guest a couple weeks ago: Hurricane Irma. Thankfully we were spared anything other than minor inconveniences, but I’m thankful to be getting back into our “normal” routine.

Despite the rough start to the school year, Austin has continued making progress. He is still repeating words and has started using them to communicate his needs. He has initiated telling me when he needs juice “ju”, his blankets “Kiki” and has told me “eat” when he’s hungry. He is mostly using words rather than sign language, so of course we’re thrilled with that.

One of his main stims right now is throwing rubber bands or hair ties up on the very top part of our kitchen cabinets (that are near the peak of our high ceilings). When he is successful, and needs help getting his rubber band back he walks to the garage door and tells me “lawa?” Lawa=ladder lol. He says it in the sweetest little voice and can’t refuse him even if I’m climbing the ladder 20x daily.

I seized the opportunity of being home with not much to do and nowhere to go post hurricane to work on potty training Austin again. Last year I got him used to sitting on the toilet and being comfortable with that, but didn’t do much else.
As of today, Austin has been using the toilet to go pee several times a day. I have a timer and I take him every 15 minutes. I’m happy with his progress, but also pretty overwhelmed. I have to catch him or he just wets himself, he doesn’t tell me when he needs to go. He also doesn’t know how to aim into the toilet, lol, so I help with that as well. I just keep working on it and hope that with time and repetition he will get it.
One thing I do know is, he is never going to learn if he’s in diapers all day long.

With the start of the back to school & fall season comes the reminder that another birthday is approaching for Austin. It’s hard to believe he’s going to be 4 years old. His birthday, like everything else pertaining to Austin, is such a mix of emotions. I’m so thankful for my beautiful, sweet boy, but the approach of his birthday takes me back to the anticipation of his birth and the dreams that we had for him back then. Back to the days when autism wasn’t a constant intruder into our lives. It’s an unwelcome reminder that although he’s made so much progress, every year he falls further and further behind his peers.

I slipped into his room a few nights ago to watch him sleep like I so often do. And as usual, my eyes blurred with tears watching him so peaceful and innocent. My heart ached for the struggles and frustrations that he has to experience every day of his life. And like so many times before the only words my heart can form as a prayer are “oh God, oh God”. I don’t know what to ask or pray for. I want him to be happy, not to struggle and live in constant frustration as he seems to so often.

I don’t know what’s best for Austin, or even what to pray for as we move into another year of his life, but I’m trusting that the God who created him & loves him does. And I’m trying to find peace and comfort in that in the midst of the storms of life.

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