Jack had an appointment at the big regional autism center in Baltimore today. He started seeing a developmental pediatrician up there when we started trying him on ADHD meds (they didn’t work; he hasn’t been on them for a long time now) a couple of years ago.
Today was his first checkup in six months. With travel and waiting time, it’s like a four and a half hour thing every time we go, so I don’t even bother trying to send him to school at all on Kennedy Krieger days.
Quinn got to go with us too because he had some issues today that precluded him from going to school even though he wasn’t sick. (Those issues start with a “p” and rhyme with “oops.”)
The trip was all kinds of fun. I got to explain socioeconomic principles as they relate to decaying townhouses in Baltimore and I also got to drive past my favorite pet shop, On a Wing. It’s my favorite pet shop because they have a picture of a pigeon on the door. A pigeon. On the door. Of their pet shop.
Once we got there, Jack spent most of his appointment being quietly brilliant, cheerful, and compliant. He was awesome.
For example, the doctor showed him a book called “Tuesday” that they were going to read together and then she asked him what book he’s reading right now, meaning at home, and he was all, “Tuesday,” because, well, obvs.
Then she showed him a cartoon map of the United States and they talked about some of the cartoon pictures and he talked about going to San Francisco last summer and she pointed at the picture of the bridge by the Bay Area, but it was white, not red, and she asked him what bridge it was and he said, “the Bay Bridge,” because, again, obvs. Then she tried to correct him to say that the Bay Bridge is in Maryland, because there’s one here too, and I had to step in and back him up because, damn, Jack is so clever.
She did a bunch of attentional stuff and agreed that we had made the right decision to keep him off meds and she talked about how much obviously happier he looked than when she had last seen him in June and I think he graduated because she said that unless he needs to come back for more testing or a new issue or whatever, he didn’t need to come back. (Which is great, because I was starting to wonder what the point of another visit would be.)
Through all of this, Quinn played quietly and happily. He tried to answer a question for Jack once but I told him not to and so he just sat on the floor and played and then when it was time to go and I asked him to clean up, he did and it was like I was in some parallel universe where my kids are the cooperative, polite, well-mannered ones.
But all of that wasn’t even the best. When we were seeing the nurse before the appointment, Jack had to take off his shoes so she could measure him (one inch taller!) and weigh him (three pounds heavier!) and then when it was time to put them back on, I told him to put them on and do the first part of the tie and I would finish, because we’ve been working on shoe tying. So he put on his first shoe and did the first tie and then I finished.
Then, he asked if he could tie the second one himself.
And he did.
He even did it with the wrap the bunny around the tree method instead of the easier two bunny ears method. I was so excited and started giving him high fives and the nurse was super excited after I told her this was the first time he’d done it and she wrote a happy message about it to the doctor and put it on the front of his file and Jack was all, “Ooookay, can I have the iPad again?”
No loose ends here.