Ginger Taylor at Adventures in Autism Called Gerberding Move Months Ago
Merry Christmas

My Two Front Teeth

Hope love peace By Cathy Jameson

I wrote this story a year ago but didn’t do more than just store it in my writing folder as a memory. I stumbled upon it while cleaning up some computer files…just in time to share it for this holiday season.

Merry Christmas! Cat

The tunes of this season are being sung by my children. Our oldest is taking voice lessons and loves to share the classic Christmas songs which make our holiday preparation more festive.  Three of the kids love to sing Jingle Bells to each other but I needed to have more than that song greet me daily.  After lunch one day, I played a Christmas CD.  Now my kids sing 5 songs over and over again as a reminder that the Baby born on Christmas is the reason for the season.

One song made me cringe since I have never liked it. For fear of putting that tune in your head all day, I’ll be real quick and tell you it’s the one about the two front teeth.  I thought it may be appropriate for our family for a few reasons though. Fiona’s top two adult teeth are finally growing in after months of seeing a gaping hole in her mouth.  The baby is just about to get her top teeth too—it looks like two tiny pillows about to pop out of her beautiful gums. Strangely, we discovered that Ronan’s top teeth are wiggly.  As odd as this sounds, we never thought that Ronan would ever lose any of his teeth. 

A while back, Ronan started chewing on things. He was mouthing objects well past the typical toddler teething episodes.  Ronan would go through bouts of chewing, drooling, and then spitting.  I used to think it was a yeast or low zinc problem. I’d run to my cabinet to concoct something to get the critters out of his gut or increase a low mineral.  The last time Ronan went through a chewing stage, I just watched his odd behavior to see if it was a symptom of something else. 

At the swimming pool on a very hot afternoon in the summer, I held Ronan in my arms and splashed all over the shallow end.  Ronan recently started to enjoy going under the water as long as he was in my arms. I wanted him to learn how to swim so we kept doing our splash-and-go-under dance.  Toward the end of that day in the pool, Ronan bit me.  I couldn’t believe he would do that since he is not the kind of child to be physically aggressive. When he tried to bite me again, I put my fingers up to his lips and said, “No.” While I had my hand that close to Ronan, my wet hand slipped and brushed up against his teeth. Well, wouldn’t you know, Ronan’s two bottom teeth were loose!  I screamed, Ronan laughed, my husband thought I was nuts. 

About two weeks later, the chewing intensified. Ronan couldn’t pass the couch without a quick bite of a pillow. Shirts were soaked and so were nighttime blankies.  On a Saturday, right before naptime, Ronan ran into the kitchen and tried to take a chunk out of the apples sitting in a bag on the counter. I chased him out and got him tucked in for his nap.  When naptime was over, Ronan sat at the table for snack and I checked on his teeth. I’d been peeking in his mouth any chance I could get—Ronan got used to me making a quick grab to the lips to roll them down to see if the teeth were still intact.  This time, though, there was a gaping hole.  Ronan lost his first tooth!  Steve and I laughed and then we hunted for the tooth since Ronan didn’t know to bring it to us.  Steve ran in one direction to the bedroom and I went in the other to the playroom to see if we could find the missing tooth.

We met back in the kitchen with no luck.  Steve and I started to laugh. Then, we started to cry.  Here we are two parents so desperately trying to find this bit of history.  For years we’ve wanted to fix the damaged body that is our son, to bring healing to him and to find peace in the process too.  We don’t always see the normal parts of Ronan’s childhood—losing a tooth milestone never crossed our minds. Why would we ever think he could lose a tooth when Ronan can’t speak, eat without assistance or use the bathroom?  Why would he accomplish something so normal when his life and behaviors are anything but normal?  We have given all that we can to help our little boy get back to good health and this glimpse of normal gave us beams of hope.

That day, we celebrated something so typical of every child: we discovered a developmental milestone Ronan could achieve.  We laughed and cried some more and then both had a light bulb moment!  Aha! The apple bag!  I wiped my eyes and looked down at the floor.  There amidst a couple of crumbs and apple chunks was Ronan’s first baby tooth.  I picked it up and just looked at it in awe.  I was so thankful for something so simple.

The next day at breakfast, I said to my other kids, “Hey, do you think the Tooth Fairy came to visit Ronan last night?”  Our oldest had already had several visits from the Tooth Fairy so she knew how important it was to have that tooth in the right place at bedtime.  Fiona ran as fast as she could to Ronan’s room and came flying out with a dollar bill held high in her hand.  “She did! She did!”  We celebrated again for Ronan while he quietly ate his morning meal.  I’m hoping one day that my children will help Ronan remember what a joyous event we shared on his behalf.

In the next few weeks, we’re anticipating two more teeth lost. Ronan’s top teeth are wiggly, but not ready quite yet to pop out.  He’s more aware of the feeling in his mouth this time and isn’t so scared when I try to take a peek in from time to time.  The chewing on furniture cushions and clothing increased so it could be right around the corner that Ronan loses his top teeth. 

Christmas isn’t what I hoped it could be again this year. Ronan isn’t recovered yet. The season isn’t full of parties and good cheer since we avoid certain public events due to sensory and behavior issues Ronan still has. We don’t go to holiday events as a family which is getting harder to get over.  I was able to take four of the kids to see Santa while Steve let Ronan nap longer one Sunday afternoon. We knew it wouldn’t mean as much for Ronan to see a fat, old guy dressed up in a red suit. Ronan had woken up at 5 a.m. that morning and needed rest more than an uneventful encounter with strangers.   Steve lost out on seeing his other children’s gobsmacked expressions and I missed out on another chance to bring Ronan into our world. 

We’ll get through the holidays as we always do though. Our family traditions are another year stronger. Ronan’s siblings invited him to decorate the tree this year and he was able to put some ornaments on the tree all by himself! He knew what to do because he watched the kids when his interest was peaked by their excitement. My husband rigged a train track to go through the limbs of the tree…right at Ronan’s eye level.  Ronan watched the train go round the tree and waited for it to emerge through the branches.  He grabbed at the train while it was in full chug. Ronan wanted to play with the train instead of just watch it go by.

This year feels different, almost like Ronan is treading on eggshells closer to us.  He’s still going at his very slow and delayed pace, but he’s coming around.  He enjoys the music, the special holiday treats and the sparkle of the lights.  Who knows, maybe this year we’ll see more of Ronan emerge from behind his toothless grin.

Cathy Jameson will always remain hopeful. She will always believe in the magic the season while praying for her son, her family and for your family too.  She runs the Age of Autism Facebook page.


Autism Grandma

Someone just sent this beautiful song to me and I thought everyone at Age of Autism would enjoy this today:

A powerful new song, performed by a father with his daughter, and inspired by his grandson, 4 year old Spencer.

"Where's the Line to See Jesus?"
An Original Song Performed by father and daughter, Steve Haupt and Becky Kelley
Inspired by grandson, Spencer Reijgers

Recorded at Shock City Studios, Saint Louis, MO. Produced by Chris Loesch
Video by Robbie Haupt and Greg Haupt

The story behind the song, as told by Steve Haupt:

"While at the mall last year, my 4 year old grandson saw kids lined up excitedly to see Santa Claus. Having been taught as a toddler that Christmas is the holiday that Christians celebrate the birth of God's son, with the innocence of a child, he asked his mom, "Where's the line to see Jesus"? If Christmas is Jesus' birthday, why don't we see Him more? As his grandpa, I was so happy that little Spencer understood the meaning of Christmas at such a tender age, and then the words for a song were jotted down in just a few minutes. The song was inspired by my grandson, and the message was inspired by my Savior. Out of the mouths of babes come profound truths that many adults can not understand. Hopefully Spencer's observation and our song will cause people to reflect on the love of Jesus, and the certainty that one day we will all stand in line to see Jesus."

Autism Grandma

Re: "Steve lost out on seeing his other children’s gobsmacked expressions and I missed out on another chance to bring Ronan into our world."

Thank you Cathy and everyone else posting here. I have sat here on Christmas Day and cried tears of joy and tears of sadness while reading all of this.....Oh the things we miss out on, but ahhh the answers we finally arrive at with Perseverance, Hope and Prayer....

All kinds of nutritional therapies have worked wonders with my grandson's autism, but the only words that ever re-emerged from his lips were "Mama" and "Kitty", until finally I saw a Jenny McCarthy video and she shared the verbal jumps her son made with Caprylic acid. Yes some more words started to emerge, and definite improvement in my grandson's moods as well. Then a friend drove all the way here from another state to give him a test with a "ZYTO" bioscan which measures the specific individual electrical energy fields and correlates this to essential oils. We have always used the Young Living therapuetic grade essential oils with my grandson as this was the most remarkable therapy for myself after losing my own brains after a toxic solvent exposure. Yes, we had great results in many ways with various oils, especially with calming him and mood improvements, but no words. So we were happy to try the "Clarity" blend that the bioscan results recommended of course, but we had no idea that words were going to start flying out of my grandson's mouth. Here is an excerpt of a letter I just wrote to my friend who is a registered nurse who also utilizes the essential oil therapies:

"My grandson is saying a lot of words now, especially since we started him on the Clarity essential oil blend that was recommended by the ZYTO bioscan. He watches the DVDs like "Teach to Talk" and now copies most of the words, and copies the movements like pointing to the belly and saying "belly", etc. All kinds of words are just popping out of his mouth lately since we started putting one drop of Clarity on his brain stem, and it is really EXCITING!!! He even finally called me "Grandma" yesterday which he has never done before!!! I just started crying when he said that. He is also now starting to say a few multiple word phrases like "How are you" and "Here we go". Some of his new words are kindof funny like "Wow", "Cool" and "YeeHaw" (He loves the old country western music) Some of his words are not very clear yet, so it takes me awhile to figure it out sometimes. He calls his favorite word teaching DVD "Bee" because there is a big bumblebee that teaches the words. And now he just keeps asking for this one over and over because it is so exciting for him to be saying the words finally. At first he had a shocked look on his face when the words came out, and now he is just really happy and smiling whenever he says the words, so we jump up and down together and clap. I couldn't have a better "Christmas present" than this!!!"

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given,
and the government shall be upon His shoulder;
and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father,the Prince of Peace.”
[Isaiah 9:6]

“The eyes of the blind will be opened,
and the ears of the deaf will hear,
and the crippled man will leap and dance,
and those who have never spoken
a word in their life will sing.”
[Isaiah 35:5,6]


I am sorry I was not sensitive to what you said.

Yes, just like Yuba City said - my son did not talk untill the end of the third grade and then we could not get him to hush!

He made improvement right on up through high school, he was voted in his senior class as the most improved student!!!!!

Of course there was that seizure issue and I feel that I dropped the ball there and should have had him on the Ketogenic diet (did not know about the Atkins), but as long as others know - we are at peace.

Gotagor; You are too smart and have to much passion in your writings to have ever dropped the ball.
Tereasa Conrick - take a rest, you deserve it.
Merry Christmas

Glad to know each and every one of you. You each and every one have been a blessing to me and my family!

K Fuller Yuba City

Thank you Cathy. We need to take the time and celebrate the typical things that happen for our kids. The teeth, the hormones, the physical growth.
The thought of a fairy in his room kept our son up all night. He wanted the money but it was too frightening so we hung a toothbag on the bulletin board in the hallway.
To Bensmyson, Don't lose hope at 7, our son had no functional language until 3rd grade.And even now at 17 we see REAL growth and cognitive change.
Gatogorra , your post took my breath away. Don't worry about dropping the ball, you will just pick it up again.
Merry Christmas AoA. I would not want to be without all of you.

Susan Cranmer

This brought back memories. My son, JR, now 32 would loose his teeth and we never could find them. I finally got one by watching very closely a loose tooth and pulling it myself when it was loose enough. He was mad at me for awhile but I do have one of his teeth.


Thank you, Cathy. There's so many songs and stupid commercial jingles stuck in my head that they crowd each other out-- we can just throw another one in there.
I relate to obsessing about something "normal" (as in "who our kids were meant to be", which would have been wildly interesting enough anyway-- as opposed to the lugubrious euphemizing of the word "special") in the course of watching "abnormal" and "horror" unfold in our lives as our kids became sick. We get rare glimpses of what life might have been like "if only"... Sometimes we nearly forget everything that happened, forget the mounting panic of he "what if they don't recover"-- the fear for what happens to them after we're gone, the terror of the snake-pit abuses in residential homes and chronic drugging and warehousing of the cognitively disabled, the fear of what could happen in school to children who can't tell you what happened in the course off the day, etc. It's hard to list those fears.

Sometimes clinging to normal is just something silly, like saving teeth and trying to get that great Santa picture. Sometimes forgetting is tragic, like the scene in "Jacob's Ladder" when he dreams his son is still alive. I think for that reason I try to keep one finger on reality at all times because "coming to" from momentary forgetfulness is too devastating.

But at the same time, we have to always hold out for hope to keep up with the rigours of DAN treatments and be careful never to lower expectations but to keep them surgically balanced between accepting and loving kids as they are at every instant and never losing sight of the possibilities because of the danger of dropping that heavy ball.

Those who accuse us of sheltering ourselves in "false hope" have no clue what a painful thing it is to maintain hope and how much easier it would be on every level to give up and detach and make up some fairy tale about diversity-- as if healthy human beings weren't fascinating, varied and full of infinite possibilities just as they were meant to be. So I guess any trick that any of us use to keep that precarious balance between "the now" and "what could be" isn't silly or inconsequetial in the end.

Thanks for reminding us of this. I've got to go find a lost tooth now...


Cathy you put your finger on the common pulse of many mothers reading here, at least Ben's mom. I found Erica's letter to Santa earlier this week, here it is below.


If anyone asks what I want for Christmas, I want the same thing every year.
When I talk to relatives about my son on the phone they fade, you can hear them floating away over the telephone, most forget about his birthday, or don't send a card. The supplements, treatments, vaccines, table injuries, tantrums, lack of support or empathy, the pediatricians who said eveything will be fine, vaccines will not alter your child. The guilt I feel that I went against my gut feelings not to get the vaccines, because I trusted the words of our pediatrician. Because no one explained to me that within the 3 shots he received that day, there were a total of 8 vaccines. Because no one sent a letter saying they pulled one of them off the market, a month after my son received it.

He's 3.5 now, as he ages I notice the differences are widening, he falls behind a little more each day, each month and year that pass. It's all we can do to keep nudging him in the right direction. My magic number is 7. I'll know how the rest of our lives will play out when he's seven.
So, It all boils down to something simple, something selfish. What I want more than anything, what I've wanted every Christmas, every day since my son was diagnosed. I realize many people don't get what they want for Christmas, many don't have their prayers answered either. But I don't want anything else other than this,
I want my son to live in the realm of possibilities outside the spectrum. To have a life, work, understand human thought, relation, body language. Understand subtly, say I love you without being prompted to, with out it relating to his echolalia, not repeating it from a tv character's monologue. I want him to have every chance at making a good or bad decision and understand the ramifications of it. Let him love and learn, let him be gay or straight, let him a be a garbage man or a banker. I can't accept that he won't change, he was so very typical before, met or exceeded his milestones, was cheerful, bubbly, would look in your eyes when he babbled or spoke to a person. The reality and realization that he may not change back dramatically right away is devastating.
I look in his face and see my son, I look in his eyes and no longer recognize what I once saw in him. A moment can make you happy, he'll look at you, take your hand, and say let's dance. I get pulled into those moments and try to hold them close, in hope of a better future for Ben.
So Santa, I have been so super good, please?


I so love that woman, my wife, the great mother to my son, I love each of you moms who have written similar letters and sent them off to the North Pole every year with great hope and belief in Saint Nick. All of you are the Spirit of Christmas, you have given us children, have mothered and nursed and loved so selflessly. You have all been so very good. Here's hoping you find your stocking full of joy this Christmas, hoping we all find that tooth, that keepsake of a familiar time, here's hoping that one Christmas morning things will be different, Santa will have stopped by.

Ronan's favorite Aunt Bridgie

Beautiful, awesome post. Thanks for sharing it, Cat. Love you!

Amy in Idaho

A timely article for our house! Kiddo has lost 5 teeth total - most recently the front two. Of the five, only one has been recovered and that one was sent to a lab for analysis. (BTW, analysis showed no mercury but elevated aluminum and lead; child has always had hugely elevated environmental toxin load - you know, anything ending with -ene.).

It's a bitter-sweet deal isn't it? Child is growing older yet isn't able to really understand or celebrate the significance of such events. So, just as with the holiday season, we find events and actions that are significant to the kiddo to celebrate and forge our own traditions. In regards to teeth, the new tradition is to swallow your teeth and the tooth fairy spends her money on sensory toys!


What a poignant glimpse into what life is like with an autistic family member. Thank you for sharing.

Merry Christmas to Ronan and to all the children like him tonight.

Teresa Conrick


Beautiful and always so hopeful! I am with you that those "normal" moments are so special, especially upon children who have such illness and sick bodies.

This is something to keep in mind as well:

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Jun;70(12):1046-51.
Mercury, lead, and zinc in baby teeth of children with autism versus controls.

Adams JB, Romdalvik J, Ramanujam VM, Legator MS.

Chemical and Materials Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

This study determined the level of mercury, lead, and zinc in baby teeth of children with autism spectrum disorder (n = 15, age 6.1 +/- 2.2 yr) and typically developing children (n = 11, age = 7 +/- 1.7 yr). Children with autism had significantly (2.1-fold) higher levels of mercury but similar levels of lead and similar levels of zinc. Children with autism also had significantly higher usage of oral antibiotics during their first 12 mo of life, and possibly higher usage of oral antibiotics during their first 36 mo of life. Baby teeth are a good measure of cumulative exposure to toxic metals during fetal development and early infancy, so this study suggests that children with autism had a higher body burden of mercury during fetal/infant development. Antibiotic use is known to almost completely inhibit excretion of mercury in rats due to alteration of gut flora. Thus, higher use of oral antibiotics in the children with autism may have reduced their ability to excrete mercury, and hence may partially explain the higher level in baby teeth. Higher usage of oral antibiotics in infancy may also partially explain the high incidence of chronic gastrointestinal problems in individuals with autism.

Tanners Dad

I am not sure what is worse getting the song stuck in my head or getting so old that I can't remember all the words to the song stuck in my head. Great Post Thanks Cathy. All I want for Christmas is Santa's LAP... LOVE ANSWERS & PEACE. God Bless them all something like that this tiny tim says.

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