Disappointment

Decca has been writing every day since last October on the Scooby Doo Fanon Wiki. Scooby Doo Fanon is a place for Scooby Doo fans to create their own shows. movies, or stories using the Scooby Doo characters and world they inhabit. He loves working on his stories and sharing them with everyone, and he is one of the top contributors on the site.

Looking over at his profile page I see that he has made 1,902 edits since he joined. He has earned 1,640 achievement points, and he has amassed a wonderful collection of badges, which means a good deal to him.  The latest badge he was working on was to be a contributor every day for 200 days, and after that he was going to try to contribute every day for a year.

He was so close to earning the 200 day badge when something terrible happened, at least it seemed that way to him. He completely forgot about the Scooby Doo Fanon Wiki for a day. I didn’t realize it at all because I am very hands-off in this area.  It is his project, not mine, and I allow him the time he needs to work on it, but I am not involved with it at all, so I had no idea he had missed a day. He didn’t realize it either until a few days later when he went to check on his badges. That was when he noticed his counter toward the 200 day badge had reset. He was back at the beginning.

Decca is very sensitive, and he has trouble talking about anything that upsets him. He didn’t come to me and tell me he was sad. I found him all alone in the living room sitting on the couch. I would have never known anything was wrong except for the tears silently rolling down his cheeks.  I sat down beside him and after a few minutes he finally was able to tell me what happened. He had missed a day, he had to start all over, he was mad at himself, and he was disappointed. He was extremely disappointed.

I sat with him and talked it over for a little while. There was nothing that could be done I told him, and he agreed. I then said he had two choices, he could either get right back at it, and before he knew it he would be back where he was at, or he could just not worry about the badges anymore. Maybe it would be liberating to not have to log-on every day and do an edit. He thought about it for a while, and he decided that he wasn’t going to worry about it anymore. Summer is coming up, and he doesn’t want to work on his fanon every day. I agreed with him, and within a few minutes he was back to his happy self. He got over his disappointment fairly quickly.

This whole episode has taught Decca that goals won’t always be met, achievements won’t always be had, and sometimes we end up disappointing ourselves. However good things can come from disappointment. It forces one to start a new path, one that wasn’t planned before.

Decca is a writer and a creator. He always has to be doing something, and now it seems his disappointment has allowed him to branch out. He started a new wiki this week, a Johnny Dixon wiki. He is very excited about it! He also started a new animated series over on Scratch. He’s also back on the Scooby wiki working on his stories. He seems to be spending less time at it though, and I think that may be a good thing. His disappointment has led him to new adventures, and for that I am thankful.

 

Update on my youngest son and selective mutism

Decca fishing in Louisiana.

I have written several posts about Decca’s struggle with selective mutism, and I wanted to post another update about the progress he has made this summer. This summer we spent three weeks on vacation visiting my family. We started our holiday in Louisiana visiting my younger brother. Decca has not spoken to my younger brother in years, and he didn’t during our whole trip.

Decca and Uncle Jimmy

He was clearly frustrated by this on the trip, and he tried to find ways to communicate with his Uncle. He invented Deccanesse (his term), and would speak this new language to my brother. He taught all of us some words in Deccanesse, and for the first time Decca was speaking to his uncle. It was wonderful and frustrating at the same time. I knew Decca wanted to speak to him normally, but he still was not able to.

Having snow balls with Uncle Jimmy in New Orleans

After spending a week with my brother we boarded a train and headed up to Indiana to visit more family. On the train I had a conversation with Decca about his mutism. I have had the same conversation with him numerous times. I told him that if he wanted to speak to anyone one in Indiana he could, and I assured him that no one would make a big deal out of it if he did. I also reminded him that everyone in the family had heard him speak before. I have told him all these things many times, but I wanted to make sure he remembered it all. I knew he wanted to speak to everyone, and I was just trying to reassure him that if he chose to, it would work out.

I will be honest in saying that although I hoped he would begin talking to my family, I did not have high hopes. Decca hasn’t spoken to many members of my extended family for over four years, and I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen. But it did, and it was an amazing thing to witness.

Decca talked to everyone from the moment we got there. The first person we saw was my dad, his Grandpa, and I don’t know what changed in Decca’s mind, but he went right up to him and started talking.

With some of my family in Indiana. Decca is completely at ease and happy to be with everyone.

Then my step-mom came out, and he started talking to her. I was beyond happy, but I didn’t want to say anything, as that would make him feel self-conscious. So we just went about our day, and Decca talked to everyone like it was the most normal thing in the world. Over the next two weeks we visited with many family members and old friends, and he talked to every single one of them. I was so happy for him and so proud of him.

With his siblings and two friends. Decca was able to interact with everyone, and he was able to have a good deal of fun because of it.

The day after we got back to California the kids had Apple Camp. I signed them up for this months ago and had forgotten it was right after we got home. I almost debated not going, as we were all tired, but the kids were looking forward to it, so we went.

Decca was enrolled in this last year, but he never talked to the teachers or the other students. He hardly opened his eyes last year, and he ended up sitting out most of the camp because it was just too much for him.

Happy at Apple Camp

I am excited to say that not only did Decca go to Apple camp, he participated, he talked to the other kids and to the two teachers, and he had fun. The first thing he asked me when it was all over was could he do it again next year. I honestly couldn’t believe it!

Decca has made so much progress this summer, but you might be wondering about Uncle Jimmy. Did he ever speak to him? I am happy to report that he did. After my brother heard Decca was talking to everyone else but him, he called me up. He couldn’t believe that he was the last person Decca wouldn’t talk to, so I put Decca on the phone to see what would happen. And guess what? Decca and his uncle had a conversation together. It was nothing important, but it brought tears to my eyes. It brought tears to my brother’s eyes too. It wasn’t the words spoken that was important, it was who was speaking them.

Decca at 4, shortly after he stopped speaking.

Decca and Selective Mutism

Decca has made a good deal of progress this year in regard to his selective mutism, and I am so proud of him. He began using names back in September, and it truly made him so much happier. Decca took a choir class this year, which was a big step for him. He never talked (or sang) during the class, but he did stand with everyone, and he even tried to make the other kids laugh through non-verbal communication, which is the most he has interacted with a group of kids in a long time. Decca also started talking to strangers that he does not know. It has truly been a year of progress.

Decca with his Uncle

But in other areas he still struggles, and it pains me to see him struggling. My brother recently visited, and although Decca wanted to talk to him, he just couldn’t. Decca won’t even talk in front of him, and this made for a somewhat difficult trip to Catalina. Decca, who normally is Mr. Talkative, hardly said a word. My father also visited us this year, and Decca could not talk to him either. He wants to talk, as do all kids with selective mutism, but he just can’t.

Decca with the twins and his Grandpa Harper.

Decca would like to participate in some classes, especially a Lego class that is offered at the homeschool campus. Decca would also love to participate in choir, and he would love to begin taking acting classes like his sister. He wants to do all these things, but he hasn’t been able to.

Sitting in the car waiting to pick up the twins from classes.

So I am setting some new goals for him, and I am hoping that within a year I will be able to write a post on his progress. After all, look at all he accomplished this year.

A Month of Thanks – Day 12

Decca sat at the piano today for over an hour just playing away. Not practicing his assigned work but making up his own songs. Piano is a creative outlet for him, and I think it helps him with his selective mutism.  He plays like this nearly everyday, and I love to hear his songs.

At a recital last year

Well I mostly love to hear his songs. Sometimes they go on forever, and they don’t sound that great. And sometimes he plays the first thing in the morning, and sometimes late at night, and sometimes all day long.

I am thankful for this though, even if sometimes I need to remind myself to be thankful. He is creative and passionate about his piano playing, and I am happy to nurture that love. I am thankful he found something to be so passionate about at such a young age. Hopefully he will remain passionate about his music as he grows up.

To see other posts from a month of thanks visit Daisy over at I’m Nobody! Who are you?.

Day 1 – A Month of Thanks

Daisy over at I’m Nobody! Who Are You? has decided to find something to be thankful for everyday in the month leading up to Thanksgiving. I am going to join in and spend the next month being thankful. Yesterday marked the first day of the month before Thanksgiving, and the first day to find something to be thankful for.

Yesterday was my brother Jesse’s birthday. He is known as Tio Chuy to my kids, and he is  close to all of them, but he is especially close to my youngest son Decca.

Jesse is funny, annoying, and caring all at the same time. He is the big brother who pestered me my whole childhood. He use to have me hold his legs up while he sat on the couch watching cartoons, he gave me wet willies all the time, and he had no problem sharing all his bodily functions with everyone.

Jesse with my brother Harold before I was born. He wasn't too annoying yet because he had no younger siblings to pester.

When I found out I was pregnant I told my mom that I would be happy with any child, but I didn’t want to get a child with Jesse’s personality. Then I had Decca, and in many ways he was a clone of Jesse. They share looks and personality, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jesse and Decca are very close, and I am thankful for this relationship and for the time Jesse spends with the kids. He has helped Decca in his journey with selective mutism, and he led Decca down the path of being able to call me mutti. And for that I will always be thankful.

Jesse and me at my mom's studio

Decca

I have this wonderful son, and his name is Decca. Quite a unique name, but it fits him perfectly because in many ways he is unique. He loves music, the piano, making movies, doing math, and making people laugh.

He is defined by all these things. But he is also defined by many as the boy who does not talk. You see Decca has selective mutism, and he is so terrified by many situations that he deals with this anxiety by not talking.

His selective mutism was brought on by a very traumatic event. When he was four years old, I went away for a night, and even though I prepared him and family was with him, something happened. He woke up on the morning I was gone, and he couldn’t find me. He was scared and very frightened and, in his mind, he thought I had died. He stopped talking right then, and for six months he didn’t speak one word to anyone but the twins. My wonderful twins, who at seven, took on so much to help their little brother.

Needless to say, Decca was in therapy, mostly play therapy, for months, and it helped. He began talking to some family members and me, which made me so happy. But he couldn’t talk outside the home to anyone, not friends, not extended family members, and certainly not strangers.

Decca at four.

Along with his selective mutism, Decca stopped calling people by their names. He could no longer say his friends names, he stopped calling my parents Grandma and Grampa, he no longer referred to his Uncles, and he stopped calling me mom. It broke my heart, and I am sure it broke his heart too.

For over three years my son has not called me mom, but I never gave up hope that one day I would hear it again.

I tried so many things and nothing worked. Decca had his own way of referring to people though. Grandma and Grampa became Old Man and Old Lady (and it didn’t bother them). Uncle Jesse became “my movie maker” because they make movies together, and I was known as “the one I love the most”. It was very sweet.

Recently though Decca has begun using names. Not the same names he used before, but new names. First my brother Jesse, who has a special bond with Decca, taught him to call him Tío Chuy. I didn’t think it would work, but it did, and I saw a joy in Decca that I had not seen is a long time.

Decca with Tío Chuy

He then started referring to Grandma as Babushka. We use to go to a park where we would always see this wonderful lady and her grandson. She was Russian and her grandson would call her Babushka. I always remembered that, and I often will use that word. Decca began to use it a few weeks ago, and Grandma is now Babushka.

Decca with Babushka

Up until this week though, Decca still wasn’t calling me anything. Every name we tried sounded too much like mom (mater, ama, mere) and so he couldn’t use them. Then my step-dad told me that in German some people call their mothers mutti. I told Decca about this name, and he liked it. He was comfortable with it. And he uses it, all the time.

Decca and Mutti

The first day he started calling me mutti, he must have said it over a hundred times. I think he was in as much pain as I was, and he really wanted to call me mom. For the last week I have heard “I love you mutti” so many times to which I always respond by telling him “I love you too Decca”.

And I do, so much.

And he loves me, his mutti.

Signs of Love

Mothers Day is always a little difficult at our house because I am divorced. The kids try very hard to have something waiting for me in the morning, but if their Dad does not come down to get them, there is no way for them to get me anything. This year they were upset that they were not able to go shopping for me. They were very determined to have something for me in the morning though, and they woke up very early and worked on my gifts. Autry made a sweet little card for me at school a few days before, and she helped Tru make one on Sunday morning. Because the twins are getting older their cards are quite nice and meaningful, and I cried (as a mom will do) when I read them.

Decca didn’t want to make a card (that is just too boring for him), but he wanted to make me a gift. I happen to have bought some supplies from A Child’s Dream Come True a few months ago.  I had the supplies tucked away in a bookcase for a fun summer project, and in his quest to make me something, Decca must have come across them.  He took

one of these

and this

and made me a wonderful gift. It was so perfect and meant more to me than any store-bought gift.

Another success for Decca

Performing "Oh No" his own composition

Decca had another success this weekend, and I am so proud of him. He participated in a recital in front of  a hundred people, most of them strangers. This is a huge accomplishment for him as a year ago he was only talking to a handful of people. He would have never had the strength to do this. Music however seems to speak directly to him, and he has found his passion. He plays the piano almost all day (it actually starts to drive the twins crazy after a while LOL), and he was determined to do this recital.

 

Humming "Factory Chop"

 

 

It was hard for him especially when he hummed another song he wrote “Factory Chop”. He turned red and for a brief moment I thought he might start crying while he was up there at the mic, but he got to the end. He then did one more song at the piano before running back to me. He forgot to bow, but I reminded him, and he went back up with a smile on his face while everyone clapped.

We have been so blessed to find the piano teacher that works with Decca. Special need kids are her passion, and although Decca has never muttered a single word to her she has been able to work with him. I am very thankful for her, as I am sure all the parents at the recital were. There were blind students, down syndrome students, and students with turrets all performing at the concert. They were all wonderful, and I was so happy to be there to see them all.

 

The twins and a friend were there supporting Decca.

 

 

Decca, anxiety, and selectve mutism

Decca has anxiety which has resulted in his selective mutism. He has made a great deal of progress in the past six months, and sometimes I forget that he still experiences it. Yesterday we were working in a social studies book, and I was reminded how much anxiety he carries around with him. Decca was filling out a worksheet about him, what he looks like, what he likes, what his favorite color is, etc. We were having fun with the work, and then we came to the last question. It asked “What are you afraid of?”  His answer “house fires and you dying”. It broke my heart, but I didn’t show it. I don’t want him to feel that he can’t share his fears. I told him I would not die anytime soon and gave him a hug. He seemed fine, but I was left worrying.

This little guy has dealt with a lot in his life. We did have a major house fire when he was a baby.  I am sure he has no memory of it, but he does hear the twins talk about it a great deal. The funny thing is they do remember it, but they do not seem traumatized by the event like he does. Decca is just a sensitive soul, and I have to remember that. He internalizes everything.

As I said he is doing better though. He had a friend come over the other day, a good friend that he has not talked to in years. For some reason Decca just started talking to him the second he walked in the door. I was so surprised and so happy. Decca still has anxiety, but he is learning to deal with it. I am grateful for that.