Somewhere close to three years of age, Denver started having terrible fits. In these fits he would savagely slam his head against the floor or wall until physically weakened. Then he would pause, whimper and do it one more time if we didn't get to him fast enough. The fits were inconsolable and we got scratched and bit for trying to calm him. Nothing that we could see seemed to cause these fits either. They appeared truly random. His vocabulary grew by leaps and bounds and while this was wonderful, he some heartbreaking things to say. On one occassion that I grabbed him up from a fit, he asked me; "Daddy, why can't I stop?" That cut deeply and told me something really was wrong, and even he knew it. We didn't know yet he had Asperger's Syndrome.
We took him to an appointment with our doctor and he even had one of his fits right in front of him. The fact that nothing could comfort him struck a chord with the doctor and he prescribed a foam helmet. That required a new appointment elsewhere for a fitting. In two weeks he had his red helmet. He chose the color himself. We also discovered one thing that could console him in these fits. We covered him with a blanket. It wouldn't be long before that would make perfect sense.
On another facet he showed an interesting skill. We all know that kids get curious as they grow and start wanting to open cabinets and drawers to get to the treasures inside. Naturally we attempted to protect him from some of those treasures with child proof locks. They may have been child proof, but they weren't Denver proof. He took them apart with the nimble dexterity of a cat burglar. We had to change the style a couple of times and eventually got one that was just too hard on our own fingers for him. Still he would watch us intently any time we were near them.
He also showed a keen interest in the refrigerator in the middle of the night. We woke up several mornings to a keen mixture of foodstuffs on the kitchen floor. So we looked into making his bedroom more secure. Latching or locking his door was considered illegal in case of fire. It occurred to us that he would panic in a fire and we would have to get to him in any case. So we tried being crafty with child proof doorknobs. There's those laughable words again, 'child proof'. Yep, he took them apart with nimble ease. On one such morning, I staggered out of bed and to the kitchen.
"Daddy!" came a gleeful voice from above my head. I slowly looked up to where he sat atop the refridgerator. He held out a box of cereal with a beaming triumphant grin.
In part four I will tell you how we finally made it to his diagnosis and mine along with security measure that had to be adapted for Denver.