Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm OK Now

It had been a hard week. Hard does actually not begin to cover it. There were days when we couldn't leave the house. Days when there was more yelling than speaking. There were meltdowns on both our parts, and there was hitting on his part. I don't hit, or rather I don't hit people. Pillows on the other hand - well, they got hit this week. Anyway - a hard week (maybe even several weeks - I lose track).

At one point though, there was a break in the action. AJ came up behind me and gave me a big hug. It was the first time in at least week that he touched me without violence. At first I just enjoyed the hug. But, I gradually realized that it wasn't a regular hug. It was too intense. And it was getting more intense.

I turned around and picked him up and put him on my lap. He's a big kid, almost as tall as me. He doesn't fit on my lap - but he hasn't noticed that. Anyway, he started to make this screaming sound. But without opening his mouth. You know, the kind you can make in the back of your throat. Go ahead and try, I'll wait...

Ok, if you did it, you realize that after awhile, that hurts your throat. It's the kind of noise you would make if you were in serious pain. So, I knew he was in pain - serious emotional pain. He sat on my lap, making that sound for almost 45 minutes. I just held him, and spoke nonsence words quietly. Sending my love, feeling his pain. Trying not to cry.

Then he started to cry, for about 2 -3 minutes (he's not much of a cryer). Then he just stopped. He looked up at me with his giant blue eyes and said:

"I'm sorry. I'm OK now. Thanks, Mama."

Five minutes later we were playing and wrestling. I'm exhausted, but I'm OK now too.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stranger in a Strange Land

I have always known that my son has a difficult time with the social aspects of life. He's autistic - that's kinda the thing. I give him all the tips and tricks I can for dealing with people. He asks questions about people and what to do. But I just didn't understand the depth of his lack of understanding until we had this conversation:

AJ: "Mama, I've noticed people like to socialize."

Me: "Yeah, it's kind of an NT thing."

AJ: "But, why? WHY do people like to socialize? WHY do they NEED to socialize?"

Me: "Hmmmm, not sure. I guess people just like to feel connected to other people. It makes them feel less lonely, I guess."

AJ: "Why can't they just feel connected to themselves? Why do I have to learn to socialize - why can't they learn to NOT socialize?"

Me: "Because there are a lot more of them than you."

AJ: "That's a stupid reason!"

He's right, though. Why should he have to change? Why can't we all just let people be who they are? Why do we all feel the need to make people do things that we like, that we need? Why can't we just accept that everyone is different and everyone needs different things to be happy?

It's a difficult world for people who are different. Maybe we could all learn to help to make it easier.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today, AJ turned 9 years old. It's unbelievable to me. It seems like just yesterday that I was in a neverending labor (76 hours all together). When he was finally born, it was a miracle. I was never supposed to be able to get pregnant in the first place. He was so tiny, only 6 pounds even, but 21 inches long. You could count his ribs (still can, actually). He was absolutely perfect. So incredibly beautiful that he took my breath away.

Right away, though, he seemed more sensitive to stimulus than other babies. He cried more and slept less. We just thought that he was high maintenance, like his mama. He was developing cognitively right on track or early. He was speaking words by nine months old, and sentences by 1 year old. He read early, too. But, he didn't crawl until 1 year, and walked by 18 months. He didn't want to play with the other kids. We thought maybe he was so bright that he was frustrated by the other kids. That may have been part of it.

At first, he didn't seem that much different than other kids. Even after his diagnosis of Autism, the differences were pretty minor. He social skills were a little delayed, he gross motor skills were a little delayed, he melted down a little more. But in kindergarten, and even first grade, it didn't seem that big.

Now, though, the differences - well, they're huge. The kids his age care about fashion already. They care about their friends, and don't want to hang out with their moms. They don't meltdown, at least in public. They get embarassed by their parents in front of their friends.
AJ doesn't do any of that. And it breaks my heart. I watch the gap between him and the other kids get bigger and bigger. I wonder if it's unsurmoutable. I wonder how he will function in the world. I wonder how he will handle the working environment. He just doesn't like people, and he just wants to avoid any and all socializing at any cost.

So, I worry. Constantly. But, those big blue eyes, and that amazing giggle still take my breath away. That sweet smile can melt anyone's heart. So, on his birthday, I'm making a wish. I wish people would learn to accept differences. To open their hearts and notice the beauty in our kids. To make the world a safe place to live and love and be safe for everyone, even if they're different, just because they're people. For my son, and all the people in the world like him, I'm working my butt off to make this wish come true.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Too Funny

I'm upstairs checking my e-mail. AJ is downstairs, reading. I try to encourage individual time. Since we homeschool, we are ALWAYS together. So, my opinion, we just need some separate space.

So, anyway, I just heard hysterical laughter. HYSTERICAL!!!

Me - Hey, AJ, what's so funny?

AJ - Funny stuff, Mama.

Me - What's funny, AJ?

AJ - Tom and Jerry Marathon on TV.

Me - What are they doing that's so funny?

AJ - I'm not sure, but it's making me laugh my ass off.

OK, WHAT?????????????? Now I'm laughing my ass off.