Tony met his baby cousin only a week ago, and while formally never taught the word “baby,” he saw Sidney and started saying baby right away. And didn’t stop. In a very autistic way, he has start obsessing somewhat over babies, and everywhere he sees an image of a small child, he says “baby.”

We decided that perhaps Tony would like a baby doll, and so Marlaina and the girls went out to KMart to see what they could find.

They came home with a remarkable life-like tan baby (who smells slightly of lavender) and after Tony woke from his nap, we presented the baby to him.

They have been inseparable ever since…with Tony ‘manding for the car (pronounced crraa) and the baby (said very clearly). So we took Tony to Chik Fil A for some french fries (gluten free…after the trauma we suffered last month with McD’s now-revealed gluten-laden fires, Burger King and Chik are it) and then headed home. It is a special treat for Tony to go for a ride, and we always reward his particularly good days with fries. While in the car Tony spoke to his baby, pointed out different parts of the baby’s body, and even had the baby “jump,” “shake-shake-shake” and wave “hi” and bye” to us.


But it gets better…when we got home and put Tony in his high chair to eat, he wanted the baby next to him. Tony then proceeded to feed the baby french fries, saying “yum yum yum” and also put the cup to the baby’s mouth saying “kkkkkk” which is his short word for cup. He continued doing this throughout his meal, and again made the baby act out specific actions.

We were completely blown away.

Tony is demonstrating that he knows this baby is another person, and needs to be cared for. He has demonstrated empathy for this baby, which totally contradicts (at least from what I have read) the Theory of Mind in Autistic children (especially young toddlers like Tony).

But it gets better…

He continued playing with his baby, and added the girl baby (in pink) to the mix, and sat them down in his recliner (the THINKING CHAIR) and started playing Blues Clues with his new students!


He is actually interacting with them as if they were other kids. He even came over to them and point out some different objects, which he brought to them.

This type of play is SO ordinary for TDCs (typical children), but for Tony at the tender (Autistic) age of two to be picking up UNPROMPTED on his own indicates that he is really starting to “learn to learn.” His mastery of words grows every day, and now he is displaying emotional interaction and demonstrating imaginative play on a 12-18 month old level. Maybe higher.

I guess I can’t express in just mere words how huge this is for us.

It is a funny thing…prior to having an Autistic child, I always though the term “special” as it applies to developmentally delayed kiddos was “nice” and a good way of avoiding odious terms like “mentally retarded” or “slow” or “handicapped.” But the larger reality is that these kiddos ARE special and that with each new developmental milestone, a very special learning moment is displayed…and that is TRULY special. There is simply no better way of looking at it.

Any how…that is my February update for now. I may write more as this month moves forward. In fact, I need to recap Tony’s second (and MUCH better) camping trip at Edisto during the full moon. I’ll do that later this week, I think.