On a recent Saturday Marty spent the afternoon with me. Just Marty and I, it was a big deal and a beautiful day! I do not get to spend too much time one-on-one with Marty outside of the home. Heading out we walked hand in hand to my car and he slipped right into the car seat.
I drove with an eye out for a playscape. Remembering a new school I drove there knowing the equipment would be new and safe. When we arrived, I was glad Marty had the entire schoolyard alone. He could do whatever he wanted! As soon as he was out of the car he made a bee-line to the colorful structure. There were stairs, slides, swings, and things. He played until he was ready to go.
Next stop was the pet store. Marty loves animals and the store we visit has a great variety-birds, turtles, mice, and bunnies. Plus there were dogs and cats roaming the aisles with their owners. We watched a turtle try several times to get from the water to a drying platform. Marty laughed each time it lost the struggle and dropped back into the water. Soon it was time to go to my house for lunch.
Marty watched some Mickey while he ate until my Woadie cat walked by and the chase began. Woadie is a tolerant cat because he loves being the center of attention. That cat will do almost anything to be watched including Marty’s not-so-gentle pats.
Eventually Marty made it to my room where he always goes to look at a picture of my family taken when his mom was about 10. He always points to her first then Uncle Ryan, Aunt Holly and finally me. This time before leaving he noticed my grand collection of jewelry-making beads. He smiled and pointed but I told him those were Grammy’s. He was pretty insistent about looking at the beads so I placed a red velvet box on the floor that contained large handmade oblong beads. Quite heavy, I thought they could withstand small hands. Marty sat on the floor to play his favorite game, TOPI (Take Out, Put In). He loves all things repetitious like his train going round and round or TOPI over and over and over.
There was a long game of TOPI until I noticed the beads getting chipped. Luckily Woadie slowly walked by and the chase was on again. After a little walk in the yard, we came in and I cleaned up the lunch dishes. When I stepped back in the living room, here came a smiling Marty carrying a large container of beads with a sliding top (and it was sliding). Only about 50 beads dropped to the floor–time for another game of TOPI!
With the beads all picked up, I thought we could work on his pouring skills. I showed him what to do with the container of loose beads and a plastic measuring cup. Success! He was so careful and so proud of his new skill! He really concentrated and time ticked away. His father would pick him up soon, I needed to get Marty’s attention away from the beads or he would never go home. I set up his blocks which he went and inspected. He came looking for his beads but the container was no longer where he left it.
He ran from the room straight for my heavy wood coffee table. He banged his head and fell to the floor.I was broken-hearted he felt so disappointed! I wished I had communicated so he understood it was time to put the beads away.
I do not know why he bangs his head on things==sometimes he just uses his hands, smacking this temples in frustration. He has not learned coping mechanisms nor is he able to verbalize yet. I wonder if there is some static noise he is trying to quiet when he gets upset. Something we need to work on.