On the 16th June 2016, Gabriel celebrated his 6th birthday!
We used to travel back home to celebrate his birthday, but this year we decided to have a very small party for him with a handful of friends. A fabulous friend of mine kindly allowed us to infiltrate her home with cake, party packs and snacks. (By the way, she makes the most DIVINE quiches!)
The party was held late afternoon (4pm to 6pm) due to Gabriel's audio sensitivities and the fact he is more comfortable leaving the house at this time.
He was incredibly brave and appeared to really have fun. He managed an entire hour before indicating to me that he was ready to go home, which we respected. He did this by leading me to our car, pointing and saying, "Look". So G-Dad and Gabriel headed home while I stayed a little bit longer, enjoying some adult conversation!
I will never forget when Gabriel celebrated his 1st birthday, a friend parted some good advice. She told me to enjoy every day with our little angel as time goes by so quickly and before we know it, he will be all grown up.
And he is growing up. Fast. He is becoming so much more 'aware' of everything. He is repeating words when we say them. He is applying problem solving skills. He is becoming bigger and stronger. At a solid 1.3m tall, Gabriel is often mistaken for an 8 year old.
But there is a price.
As each year flutters by and Gabriel advances in cognitive areas, so other areas advance too. His audio sensitivities have increased (we are working on this). And rage has started rearing its ugly head. And with rage comes incredible strength.
This is a part of classic autism that is often not spoken about due to fear of ones child being stigmatised.
What one always needs to remember is that rage outbursts are never malicious. They are caused by immense frustration and anxiety.
So we are approaching this from two fronts.
The first is to develop a system to redirect Gabriel's frustration (we are going to work on this with his wonderful psychologist).
Secondly, to learn to communicate in a more constructive manner.
Communication is key. We are focusing on teaching Gabriel how to read and, eventually, type. It is a very slow process but I keep telling him that words are important. Once he can type his words, he can communicate how he is feeling and what he is thinking. I know he understands this as he works very hard on spelling and word matching.
I have a shirt that I often wear that says, "Love What You Do, Do What You Love." Gabriel loves this shirt and often says random letters from it.
And Love is what matters.
We continue to envelop our angel with love and we continue to believe in him.
Because Gabriel IS love.