Hoopdaddy and I talked about Eric's mode a couple of nights ago. He said, "I know I'm not supposed to need anything from Eric, but I want words. It's a lot easier to be excited when you're seeing progress."
Right now, HD means "speech" when he says,"progress," wishing for the 3-5 word phrases that we were getting before the mode started. I made my pitch for redefining progress, what I've been seeing Eric give us in long, sweet gazes of eye contact, his ability to respond appropriately to requests, his affectionate nature, the reduction in anxiety, and continued pointing with meaning. Not yet typical for a 13-year old, but so much more than when we started three years ago.
I decided it was a good night to give HD some extra help, since he seemed discouraged. I offered to switch evening duties. "You put the baby princess to bed and I'll take Eric in the bathroom and help him clean up." HD was suspicious. I don't have a great track record helping Eric clean up when he has poop accidents, with my pronounced olfactory sensitivity and a hair trigger gag reflex. I usually spend a lot of the time apologizing. Lately, though, I've been working on my poop-related beliefs and I've been more effective. (The short version: I thought I would die if anybody else's poop touched me. I have decided that this is not factually correct. At least, I haven't had a fatal poop-encounter up until now and so I decided to change the belief instead.)
I convinced HD I could handle things, poop-wise, and herded Eric into the bathroom. He asked for HD, saying, "Daddy, sit down sit down sit down." So I celebrated and told Eric, "Daddy's busy helping Charlotte, but I'll come and sit with you." I sat down ont he edge of the bathtub. Eric looked at me very thoughtfully, and said, quite clearly, "I want Daddy clean-up please." I celebrated, reminded Eric that it was my turn to get to help in the bathroom, and helped Eric finish up
I counted--five words, if you count "clean-up" as one. Clear enunciation, and spoken in what we usually refer to as "the Eric voice". The Eric voice sounds like what anyone's voice would be like, instead of a sing-song voice, or a growly voice, or humming and buzzing. Five coherent, audible, appropriate words. Five words so delicious to hear that I wished I could stack them on a cracker and gobble them up. Instead, I went to find Hoopdaddy to share the good news.