As a born-and-bred New Jerseyan, I never worried much about hurricanes. I’ve always lived firmly in the lovely middle of the Garden State, not near a coast or waterway. Then along came Hurricane Irene last year and Hurricane Sandy this year. Wow! Twice now we have been walloped and left without power for several days. We lost power late Monday night and got it back almost exactly four long days later. Internet, phone and cable were there when the power came back on. Thankfully, we lost just a fence post and had no other damage, except for a whole refrigerator of spoiled food. Our generator refused to work, unfortunately.
We live about 25 minutes from the beach, and several places we know and love, including our listening therapy center, have been washed away or severely damaged. I feel so incredibly sad for those who have lost everything. We tried to keep our spirits up through the long dark nights and remember how lucky we are to be in our home and have food and water.
The biggest difficulty we had was feeding our dog, Moo. As you may know, he’s not been well. Basically he has no appetite, and has trouble keeping food down when he does eat. He’s lost alot of weight these past few weeks. Now that he’s on some medications, he is doing a little better, but everyday is a struggle to find something he will eat. So, as we ran out of cooked meat, we ran out of things he would eat. On the third day of no power, I ventured out and found a KFC open and got him some grilled chicken, which he ate reluctantly but did eat. We also enjoyed our first hot meal in days. We felt so much better!
Zip was, surprisingly, the happiest of all of us. His ability to play with simple things kept him entertained. I’m sure more neurotypical kids were bored and driving their parents crazy. Not Zip — we spent hours outside at his swingset. His sleep patterns got a little wonky so we’ll have to deal with that for a few days, but he was really good overall. He doesn’t eat hardly any cooked foods normally, so he didn’t miss that either.
Decreasing his screen time this summer paid off really well. Last year, during the Hurricane Irene outage, he couldn’t understand why he could not watch videos or play on his computer. This year, he had gotten so used to playing in other ways that he hardly missed it. We watched the portable dvd player once and videos on my old repurposed Android phone once, and that’s all.
In other news, while we were waiting for the storm to hit, I had a great exchange with Zip. He loves to repeat numbers and letters though they don’t mean much to him right now. While staring outside at the trees swaying in the wind, Zip said a number. I said the next number…. and he said the one after that! We continued alternating numbers up to twenty. I had tried often to see if he would do this kind of back and forth and he never had before. He would just repeat one or two numbers that interested him and want me to repeat them. I was so happy but haven’t had the chance to try again, with the distraction of being cold and worried. I can’t wait to tell our RDI consultant. I hope she and her family are okay. She lives further west and south of us, so I don’t think they were hit as hard there.
We’re slowly getting back to normal and I hope to have a recap of Dr. Gutstein’s last webinar up soon. He covered the goals of the Family Consultation Program in depth. It should be of great interest to anyone considering RDI for their child.