Chandler is somewhat verbal, and most of the things he talks about are "requests". Pop tart, milk, toast, outside, swimming. But this week it has been all about "Bird" and oddly, he has been closer than ever to his therapy dog, Gwen, or "puppy" as he calls her. He has been taking it upon himself to feed her. Even though this is a chore he has helped out with for a couple years. He used to need a lot of prompting because of the dog food smell (blame it on autism senses, because I can't smell it), and the annoyance of a chore being asked of him in general. But the other day I was doing some work on the computer and the house was quiet with no one around except Chandler and I, and I heard the familiar sound of a cup of Eukanuba Adult Large breed being dropped into a metal pan...Sure enough, he was jumping around in delight as "puppy" happily scarfed down her second breakfast. Two things. Therapy dogs eat twice a day only. They also require the command "okay" before they will touch the food. Fast forward, three days later, I hear the sound AGAIN just as I am coming out of the bedroom in time to hear Chandler give the "okay" command. This is just too funny for me to get mad about, and I have to be proactive and hide the food cup. But the amount of progress in this seemingly small task is enormous.
So this Sunday morning the boys are downstairs annoying each other over the Wii, John is working on his golf game, and I am eating peanut butter toast on the deck and admiring my son. Chandler asks Gwen to "come on" as he goes down the stairs, and I'm in tears. Another first. He is listening to the birds chirping from every direction on this cloudy, calm morning, and points that out to me over and over and over, and I can't get enough. He is becoming more verbal every week. We have worked very hard this year, and after a very frustrating school year we have overcome many obstacles, made some big changes, and this year we will be unstoppable.