Sunday, February 12, 2012

A New Milestone of Speech and Social Development (and a Fight)

This is not about my dad. But I have to write about him to set the stage.

There was a big fight between me and my dad today, (actually, as I write this I'm sitting outside in the car, collecting myself) because I left Joseph alone for a minute just after we arrived and he accidentally broke the dust cover of an old thrift store turntable that was left out on the floor. The fight is not the important part though, it's entirely incidental. After taking the turntable out to throw it away, my dad started shouting at me about how when we visit I don't watch the kids. When it was apparent that he was going to continue ranting, I decided that it would be best if we left.

Both Joseph and Maria became very upset. I took them out to the car, leaving Kristy and the baby behind to follow us. We, myself and the two older kids, sat in the car for a while waiting for Kristy to join us, the kids both in tears not because of the shouting but because they didn't want to go. They wanted to stay and play in the traces of snow in the backyard and see their cousins and my brother + wife and new baby who will be visiting from Cincinnati for his birthday today.

After we had waited probably five minutes in the car, my dad came out and stood outside my car window. I opened the door to let him speak. He apologized for being a raging asshole (my words, not his) and then (this is the remarkable part, and the only reason I'm posting about this), Joseph leaned into the front seat from behind me, and still sobbing said,

"I'm sorry I broke your record player, grandpa."

as clear as day.

I'm so proud of him, not only that he used words to express this, but that he understood (at least on a very basic level) that he had done something wrong and that grandpa was upset because of it (even though grandpa was not shouting at him and made it pretty clear that I was the one with whom he was angry.) This is a very significant sign of him understanding complex interpersonal dynamics and responsibility in a way that I was previously not aware that he was able. He understood that because he broke the record player, grandpa was upset and because grandpa was upset we were leaving.

I don't want him to feel like its his FAULT or that anyone was mad at him of course, it was an accident. But his response to the situation was a "normal" and appropriate one, and a milestone in his development. Hopefully the next milestone can be less tumultuous.

Here's a photo of what he was doing with the record player, moments before the accident. It was terribly cute.


  1. Sometimes the biggest milestones, do come from the biggest adversity. He is growing. He is getting there. He has a good team (parental up to experts) there to guide him. He is a good smart kid. He just needs some help.

  2. Wow! This almost brought tears to my eyes!!!! That is truly amazing -- the whole thing... and that's a very complex situation to emotionally understand -- I'm so proud of him! And I'm glad grandpa apologized ;) Great story, thanks for sharing! :)

  3. I've been following your blog for a while now, and in yesterday's post on Autism Dad Blogs, I linked it, along with some others. Take a look: