Posts tagged ‘child’

If you can’t stand the heat…

     Whenever we visit a new doctor, I am inevitably asked if I have a medical background because I throw around terms like “pneumothorax,” “sepsis,” and “hypotonia” with reckless abandon. Aside from the initials people (see Awalkabout’s “Alphabet Soup“), there’s a whole slew of other words and terms we parents are required to learn simply to participate in an intelligent, informed discussion with a doctor or at an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting. My entire knowledge base and language have changed since having C seven years ago. I’ve learned about needle gauges, what a swallow study is, all about methylation pathways and how they work (or don’t), what to do about ankle pronation, what epi-pen is for and how to administer it, and what supplements to give when, how, and with what other supplements. It’s no wonder my brain feels full, as I think I’ve earned a Ph.D. and an M.D. in “the study of C.” 

     So when that inevitable question about my medical background (or lack therof) comes up, I simply say it’s been “trial by fire.”

April 24, 2008 at 10:23 am 4 comments

C-isms, part III

Mommy, what’s the last number before 246 counting by 3s starting at 4?

(As a police car races up our street, sirens blaring)  ARE THEY COMING FOR DADDY??? He was going 30 in a 25 this morning!

Mommy, I’m pretending I’m your age right now.  Why?   So I can take my Thomas engines on a field trip.  Why do you have to be my age to do that?  Because I think that’s what age you have to be to drive a bus. 

Did you know that there’s rocket trains??? (Sighs)  But they don’t blast off into space.

(As we’re shopping for Daddy’s card and he’s looking at all the card categories)  Mommy, is Daddy our husband?

I was nice to B at school today. I’m always nice to B. Except on the 124th day of school when I was wearing a blue shirt.

Mommy, you should be President because you’re over 35 and you knowed enough.

(As the sun broke through the clouds today)  I’m so glad the overcast is over.

I did something wrong today. I wrote too big. My writing size was 72.  (For the unitiated, that would be font size he’s talking about, and probably he’s spot on in his estimation.)

Why wasn’t Chuck E. Cheese invented when you were a kid, Mommy? When was it made? Because it isn’t in my inventions book.

April 10, 2008 at 11:54 am 11 comments

All in good time

     C’s milestones have all been met at times other than the general development schedules suggest they should be. Some way ahead, some way behind. This used to concern me, not so much because of the general comparisons that inevitably occur, but because there’s always a fine balance between progressing forward and standing still or going backward. For so many years we and his docs were worried he might have a progressive muscular disease of some sort, and we were constantly watching to make sure his developmental skills continued to progress. 

     His skills are extremely scattered, which has allowed for some truly entertaining and endearing moments, along with some that have been less so. At seven, he’s just now learning how to nod his head “yes” and shake it “no.” He simply can’t move his head independently of his body, and over time we’re watching the skill slowly develop to a point where less and less of his body is involved in the gesture. He’s also just gone through separation anxiety this year, evidenced by screaming, holding onto me for dear life, teachers prying his little body out of my arms (thank you, Mrs. R!) for the first few weeks of school. And we thought, after we passed years 2 and most of 3, that we had missed the “terrible twos” and temper tantrums. Boy, did we breathe a sigh of relief….that is, until 4 hit.

     But the most interesting awareness is happening in these recent days. I don’t think I can exactly call it a developmental step, but it is certainly something that generally happens before elementary school. C has discovered women’s breasts. That could spell trouble in the coming days. The other morning, while snuggling, he smushed one of mine and announced, “Mommy, you have a baby in your tummy!” Nevermind the real distance between my breasts and my belly, what that says about his learning body parts (another developmental step on the ladder), or perhaps what that says about my nearly 40 year old body. Once I made it past the chuckles about the baby comment, and got him past pushing on me 40 times to try and get the same reaction out of me, I talked to him about what breasts do, and how they are private to a woman and how they shouldn’t be touched by him. “Do the girls in my class have them?” “Does my teacher have them?” Uh-oh.

     I thought perhaps this was an isolated incident, and didn’t bring it up again, because to draw too much attention to anything means C will pick up on it and run with it to who knows where. But this afternoon, when Ga (grandma) was giving him a hug goodbye, and I saw him groping her, his hands firmly attached on both sides, squeezing and grinning, I knew we were doomed. He couldn’t just make it to summer, where the interest would safely pass (for a few years, anyway) outside the confines of school. I’m already drafting the note to his teacher and principal; Dear Ms. M and Mrs. M, C has discovered something special about women, and please know that we have discussed it and he knows he shouldn’t be touching women’s breasts, but I have to warn you that it might happen; please remember he is younger than his age and doesn’t yet understand the social rules that apply in this situation even though we are working on it at home. It’s not that I want you to ignore it if he does touch your breasts, but please don’t suspend him for sexual harrassment at age 7. Thank you.

April 3, 2008 at 11:54 pm 6 comments

Spreading his joy

     There is a charm about C that captivates people. (Actually, he captivates adults; children haven’t yet come to appreciate him.) He talks with people in the grocery store, at the post office, and everywhere else we go. Teachers I don’t even know stop me in the hallway at school to tell me something cute he said to them. He calls out, “Hey, pretty lady!” to about every woman we see, putting smiles on the faces of elderly blue haired women in the aisles of Safeway.

     Today, however, he turned that sweetness and light toward me. I haven’t showered and I’m in sweats as I’m watching an old rerun of “America’s Next Top Model.” When he asked what the show was, I told him it’s about pretty girls. He said to me, “You’re a pretty girl, Mommy, you should be on that show.” Then he added, “Wouldn’t it be cool if all the girls in the world could be on that show?” I was struck with his amazing perspective on seeing the beauty in everyone and how easy it is for him. Of course he probably doesn’t yet possess the level of insight with which I’m crediting him, but perhaps it really is just that simple.

January 27, 2008 at 8:32 pm 1 comment

Just what do we need, exactly?

     I used to say “God never gives you more than you can handle.” And, in the way that people we spend only the briefest about of time with can sometimes do, an acquaintance profoundly changed my mindset. I was talking with a woman one day who responded to my sentiment about what God gives us by saying, “No, God gives us what we need.”

     What a powerful statement. I still haven’t figured out how that statement applies to me exactly, but I’m on the watch (and receive clues) for it daily.

      My husband and I have a 6 year old with high functioning autism. He is an extraordinary child to say the least. Parenting him has been nothing like I thought parenting would be – in happy ways and in challenging ones as well. 

     Welcome to our journey.

January 10, 2008 at 3:51 am 6 comments

It’s all autism, all the time.

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