Another great day. Wow. God really does answer people's prayers.
Today Bright Eyes was helpful and cooperative in the supermarket. He found things on the shelf and put them in the trolley, following my point and gaze, spoke to the cashier, waited happily in the chemist, and answered the shop assistant's question of how old he was.
He was friendly to our lovely helper Laura, greeting her by name. We all went for a walk to the park to feed the ducks. He walked a little ahead of us on the side of the road, but then stopped at the kerb and looked around for us to catch up before we crossed the road. He played with a little girl at the playground and copied the way she went down the slide. He came home calmly with no tantrums.
He coped with extra unexpected visitors at lunchtime with no worries, and even said "Goodbye David" at the end when they left.
He played beautifully with big sister all afternoon, running, jumping and dancing with her. I put some music on and started to do some actions, which he copied happily.
Lab time was quite successful. I did some of the same things as yesterday, but tried not to let him control it or turn it into a script. We had a few little standoffs but nothing major, and he came out with more original thoughts and remembered the new word 'tears' from yesterday.
The piece de resistance, however, was at dinner preparation time. I had my apron on and was starting to get things out. He came in and asked "What are you doing, cook?" I answered, "I'm cooking. What are you doing?" His reply: "I'm cooking. Put on cook." (That's his word for apron). We grabbed his apron, and he brought a chair into the kitchen to stand up on.
He got out the vegetables that I asked for from the fridge. He tried to cut, but couldn't, so asked for help. I cut and showed him how to put the pieces in the saucepan. Then we filled up the pan with water, and together put it on the stove. He helped me place the meat on the grill, and then helped me set the table.
The kitchen episode is the most 'helping' that Bright Eyes has ever done. The greatest number of different jobs, the longest time together, and the most interest shown, with no deliberate obstacles thrown up.
Importantly, it is probably the only helping he has ever done that was not initiated by me.
An important part of RDI is getting a good 'guide-apprentice' type relationship going. Six months ago, this was pretty much impossible. He was just not interested in doing what I did at all.
Seeing my younger baby (now 20 months) who just loves to do everything I do, and who tries to take over when we empty the dishwasher together, comes as a good reminder of how neurotypical children love to imitate their parents.
So guide-apprentice stuff has been progressing very slowly. Sometimes I can get Bright eyes to help me put the washing in the machine, or empty the dishwasher, or water the garden.
But today was completely spontaneous, easy and, dare I say it, 'normal'.
I feel terrific!