The pacifier was a sign of weakness, of immaturity, of difference…. James was attending a regular pre-Kindergarten, and I thought he needed to look like a regular pre-Kindergartner. Even in bed.
If you don’t have kids and you’re still reading, don’t be tempted to use this list as birth control. It might have worked for me back in the day, but I can’t get up to irrigate the toilet hinges without pointing out one last thing.
Most people are beginning to understand that Autism Spectrum Disorder means different things for different people. What’s less commonly understood is that it means different things for the same person at different times.
As others reveled in my son’s eccentricities and marveled at his strengths, I dwelled on his differences.
Medication has been an important part of the complex process of taking care of my son. I credit one psychiatric medication with getting him out of his bed and into the kind of mischief you’d expect from a 4-year-old, like appearing on top of the refrigerator. I blame another medication for temporarily turning him into a dozing Eeyore.
I worked so hard to get parents to see their child’s perspective. The child’s anxiety had become unbearable, and the parent needed to bear part of that burden with patience.
What I couldn’t fully see until it happened to me, was the larger burden placed on the parents.
“Mom,” he said, “Let the girl shave her legs. She looks like a gorilla.”
It was the nicest thing he’d ever done for me.
The culture has changed between my childhood and Margot’s, but brain development hasn’t. Children still learn about all types of differences over time. So maybe I’m the one who needs to relax.