Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

These days, Joaquin…

At 1.5 years old, Joaquin:

Walks around “our property” (the backyard) like Simba, the Lion King.

Announces poops and pees (and perhaps farts) by becoming very serious and saying popó in a solemn tone to express the gravity of the situation.

Demands more than two choices to select a video to watch. Two?!, he moans and quickly points to the place where all other videos live. When presented with a more reasonable sample (four to all), he picks a few and flips them over to inspect the back covers. Some get discarded right away (he places them carefully on the floor). He takes his time, and finally makes his selection.

Hates with passion the words “wait” or “just a minute”, because despite my best intentions what he seems to hear is “never in a million years”, and he reacts accordingly. It makes me crazy. Somebody should explain to toddlers the physical reaction a mother feels when hearing the hysterical cry of her cub. It perforates a hole in my stomach. I haven’t been able to keep my cool a couple of times and have yelled back one minute!!!, but that doesn’t relieve the pressure on my gut. What works best is to breathe deeply through the minute I’m making him wait.

Loves to count things. Loves to use his fingers to show us numbers. His favorite number is 4. In fact, I suspect that he actually knows how to count as evidenced by the number of times he is right when he says four.

Pretends to talk on the phone with the TV remote control.

Started blowing kisses last weekend. He’s not terribly generous with them, but is more than happy to throw me a few at nap and bed time.

Says “mama”, “papa”, “car”, “pan”, “popó”, “four”, “cow”, “coco”, “ball”, “bird”, “frog”, “balloon”, “moon”, “more”, “bye”, and perhaps a few more I’m forgetting.

Began saying “Kiki” (my knick–name for him) last Friday. In his tiny mouth, it sounds “Kkeeh-Kkeehhh!”, and he says it very proud of himself, perhaps because of all the kisses and woohoos! he gets from us every time he says it.

Loves pirulitos.

Negotiates with me at meal times. It all started because he had this phase during which all he wanted to eat was milk. He’d throw the food at me and sign “milk” furiously. I’d tell him that if he ate “ONE” bite (I’d show him “one” with my index finger) I would give him more milk. This would go for a few outbursts of tears until he finally would take the bite and I’d rush to show him how I was fulfilling my part of the deal. After two or three meals with this kind of communication, one day he surprised me by showing me his “one” tiny chubby index finger after a random bite, like all right, I ate one… milk now!.

Loves his beverages, just like daddy.

Whips me every day with his numerous requests (which quickly escalate to demands if I don’t comply) to read Bob Esponja. Also loves his 123 Usborne book, from which I’m sure he started loving the idea of numbers.

Reading Bob Esponja

Draws with crayons multiple times during the day and loves to start a blank piece of paper. However, his initial artistic passion has come down a bit to make room for his newfound hobby of counting crayons. One by one, he pulls them out of the container, and lines them up as his fingers show me numbers, which of course I must say out loud for him, or else…

Tolerates his music class, and I may even dare to say that he enjoys it. In fact, by the end of the term I caught him playing peekaboo with his teacher. In contrast, Little Gym instructors never got even close to that kind of acceptance. Could be that he’s older, or maybe he just hates the gym like his mommy ;)

Barely plays with sand or chalk since he discovered the pleasures of handling the garden hose.

Simba in his backyard

Sniff! Can my bollito get any older?…

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  1. On , Joe wrote:

    The one notable addition is how he says “bye-bye” now. It is especially funny when he wants to let you know that he is ready to leave or ready for someone else to leave.

  2. On , Maria wrote:

    I knew I was forgetting something!… Oh well, I updated the words above to include “bye”. Unfortunately “ba-bah-byeeeyah” is not a real word.

  3. On , Pete Stultz wrote:

    more words. Yes he can get bigger and will certainly do so before I see him again.

  4. On , Mother Nature wrote:

    Dear Maria,

    I’m glad to see that 18 months later you are totally enjoying your little bundle of joy. I was going to respond to your post about the horribleness of pregnancy and thought I would find one more recent instead.

    I also had a horrible pregnancy and commiserate with you completely. Now my little one is 15 and is a joy to behold. No horrible teenager in my house! LOL

    I commend your parenting style. Choices are the name of the game. Here is a tidbit for you: stop saying just a minute to him, simply distract him with something he can count, like keys, or a keychain with safe bobbles on it that catch his interest. Problem solved. Distraction and choices are THE keys to success with kids!

    When you get to Heaven come visit me in the big Garden in the middle.

    Mother Nature
    Silvian Noels

  5. On , Maria wrote:

    Thank you for your comment and your very helpful tip, Silvian.

    I think you’re completely right about “choices”… Not only the ones I give him, but also the ones I make for myself.

    Just yesterday I was getting caught up on the hell that meal time can be some times. He’s stopped throwing his food but now just opens his mouth and spits out a half-chewed bite for no reason at all, and that was upsetting me, and also I was trying to control what he was eating (I wanted him to have some chicken, not just peas), and I was trying to help him with the spoon, and the whole thing was making me so upset… I could feel it…

    So instead of letting the ulcer build up in my stomach I made a conscious decision to step away from it…

    I prepared a wholesome meal for him; let him choose what he wants to eat — I can’t make him eat something he doesn’t want anyway; he’ll spit it out.

    So he’s making a mess with his uncoordinated use of the spoon… He’s shown he’s smart enough to learn things by himself, and he doesn’t want to be taught anyway.

    Just go do the dishes and smile at him, and meal time will go faster, and I’ll just clean the final mess in the end. Ahhhhh!!!! I so loved having made that choice that minute. I should know better. I’m old!

    So your little one is 15 years old now. How cool!… I have found that no time with mine is better than the present. I don’t long for the newborn days, or the baby days… His present is always so much more interesting than his past. I’m sure you feel the same way with your joy to behold.

    Thank you again for visiting and commenting :)