It’s important to celebrate everything. The smallest successes are still successes and out of small things do great things grow. That’s something I believe with the greatest of resolve.
January 19, 2012
By Dan Olawski
Mikey giggled, said “No fanks,” and ran away from me once again. I was trying to get him to go sit on the potty, but he kept evading my attempts to herd him into the bathroom. As I finally caught him and guided him to the toilet I realized the importance of my New Year’s resolutions.
I took a deep breath and said to myself, “patience.” As parents of children with autism, our patience is frequently tested and I’ve resolved to be even more patient this year as I work to help Mikey through autism’s daily challenges. Taking a moment to be calm and realize that our children need us to be patient and loving is the most important thing we can do for them.
As I squatted down to help Mikey, I felt my back and leg muscles ache and made myself a promise to attempt the most cliché of resolutions…lose weight and get back in shape. As Mikey gets older, stronger, and faster I need to be able to keep up with him. Our children need us to be at our best at every second and being as healthy as we can be both physically and mentally will help keep us sharp and ready for any test.
Mikey started singing a silly song to me to avoid sitting on the potty, I realized the smile on my face was clouding another of my resolutions: don't let the cuteness factor influence how much I push Mikey when he doesn’t want to do something. Okay, I admit it…I find Mikey to be the most amazing, interesting, adorable little boy in the world. Does that mean he can charm me out making him do things? Well…yes. So, I have my work cut out for me in achieving this one, but I’m gonna bite my tongue (and wait until I’m out of Mikey’s sight before I laugh) and push Mikey a little harder.
After I finally got Mikey to sit on the potty, I realized that he was only partially successful in my purpose for bringing him there. It gets a little frustrating because Mikey’s not completely potty trained and we’re still having trouble getting him to understand what he needs to do to avoid wearing pull-ups. But even though, in this instance, he didn’t do exactly what I was hoping he would, I still said, “Good job, Mikey!” It’s important to celebrate everything. The smallest successes are still successes and out of small things do great things grow. That’s something I believe with the greatest of resolve.
Mikey smiled at me while he washed and dried his hands. As I opened the door to let him go back to play I smiled, kissed him, and said, “It’s okay, buddy, we’ll get it next time.” I watched him run back into the other room and felt good about my decision to always be optimistic. With a spring in my step I followed behind him and repeated to myself, “We’ll get it next time.”
Dan Olawski blogs about fatherhood and his son Mikey for the Autism Society. He lives with his family on Long Island, N.Y., where he works as a writer/editor. His time is spent following Mikey with a vacuum cleaner, watching his beloved New York Yankees and continuing his pursuit of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Topics:Living with Autism
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