Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Comfort and joy

Bud has done extraordinarily well through the holiday, despite the unpredictability and irregularity of our schedule. I'm off from work this week, so we've had one fun-filled day of adventure after another - a trip to the swimming pool at the local college, time on the computer at my empty office, a trip to the toy store to exchange a duplicate and pick out anything he wanted, a long car ride to a fun children's museum. They've all been good things, but in Autismland sometimes even too much of a good thing can be dysregulating. And it has been, to some extent. But Bud has recognized it and has zeroed in on the coping mechanisms he needs to keep himself balanced and well regulated.

When I'm dysregulated and need to find a way to cope, I turn to coffee, or Paul McCartney's music, or a really good book. Bud turns to his old friends. So this week, in the midst of new toys and new drumming talent and new computer games and new adventures, we're experiencing the renaissance of Goodnight Moon, the lovely video made by the folks at HBO. The video had been one of Bud's favorites for several years beginning when he was a toddler, but for many months it has been relegated to the back of the video shelf, unwatched and gathering dust. Since Christmas, though, we've seen it repeatedly and heard many, many scripts from it. The book itself is also enjoying a comeback, and Bud has been "reading" it to us over and over again: "In the great green room there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and picture of..."

It makes a lot of sense to me. The new stuff is exciting and he really wants to throw himself into it. But it's the old stuff - the tried and true stuff, the predictable, recitable, entirely known-inside-out stuff - that provides a touchstone, a point of reference, and a jumping-off point. And he's ready to jump again - tomorrow he wants to cash in his bookstore gift certificate to search out two other books from the Goodnight Moon video that he doesn't have, Faith Ringold's Tar Beach and Mercer Mayer's There's a Nightmare in my Closet. He's ready to branch out and add them to the repertoire, secure in the knowledge that he can always return to the great green room.


kristina said...

The 3 of us can recite the GM video in our sleep and Charlie still sings "goodnight baby, it's time to hit the road to dreamland...." He hasn't shown the fascination with Tar Beach and There's a Nightmare yet but I have the books ready. We had a brief GM resurgence last summer but Charlie has since added both DVD (we've moved on to those because of the rewinding stim-problem) and book to the untouched stacks in the shelf.

(We have two of the pajama'd bunnies--one bought by me, the other by a friend.)

Coffee and music (Sinéad O'Connor for me; Chuck Berry for Charlie, of late) are my re-regulators.

Wishing you much peace in the New Year, too.

Eileen said...

The boys got the Goodnight Moon DVD for Christmas. Andrew has not yet paid much attention to it, but Brian likes it. He really likes the There's a Nightmare in my Closet one, so I will have to get the book for him.

Glad to hear that Bud did well during the Holiday!

Sipping my coffee while reading blogs on the computer help regulate me! For Andrew we dragged his big quilt with us while we visited homes over the weekend to help comfort him.

Alana said...

I have always found that Goodnight Moon is a wonderfully regulating book (and video). What is interesting was when I taught (autism classroom), everytime there were changes in schedules, rooms (yeah, we always were the first to be moved...very dysregulating) at least one or more of my students would request that I read Goodnight Moon. Not only is it old, familiar and predictable it is very soothing and comforting.