Parenting Curve-ball...I wasn't ready!11:31 PM
This crazy journey into Autism has had more than one surprise along the way. Ever since the first diagnosis, there has been one curve ball after another.
After first learning that Spikey was on the spectrum and then every other twist and turn, from doctors, schools, therapists and Spike himself has been a continuous roller coaster ride. It can start to feel like you are holding your breath waiting for the other 10,000 shoes to drop.
Presently though, we are at a time where everything is copacetic. By this I mean, I basically know where we stand. He currently likes Sponge Bob and will recite an episode word for word. He will vomit if he even thinks he ate a vegetable. He will spin and and rock if he gets overwhelmed. He loves his routine. Even when he has meltdowns, I am somewhat prepared, I can basically see them coming. I know his triggers and try to navigate accordingly.
Despite this, he is doing extremely well. He is in a mainstream class, and he's down to 2 therapists a week AND he's even playing Tee-ball in a mainstream league. Everything was going along great, no bumps, no surprises. And then it hit me curve ball out of nowhere. Just when I thought Autism held no more surprises for me.
"Mommy do I have autism?"
Cue the needle scratch across the record,,,What??? I had been working on an article for my magazine and Spike was on the couch beside me playing Cut the Rope on his new Kindle Fire when this seemingly innocent question just tore my heart in two. No warning, no buildup, I wasn't ready!
Now it's been 5 years and I thought I had long since come to terms with Spike's diagnosis, but in that moment I was back in the cold sterile neurologist office hearing her spout letters that had no meaning to me SPD, PPD-NOS and ASD. I was reeling. I was shook, I was sucker punched.
I let out a little choke and a cough and said "what did you say baby?" Because maybe, by some miracle I heard him wrong, At this point I'm praying I heard him wrong. Of course he's annoyed with me now, because he thinks I'm not paying attention. So he puts down the tablet and says "You're not listening to me! Do I have autism?"
And as I look into his face, that innocent face, my mind is racing every which way. Who told him this? How does he know? I've never heard him say this word? I know I've never told him this, but I didn't know it was a secret. It feels like he just spilled some secret. This word I've worked so hard to overcome and accept and embrace, sounds alien and scary on his lips, This word this diagnosis that only barely describes him. It explains his rocking, and spinning and why doesn't like his foods to touch or his hair brushed. It tells why walks on his toes and hums to himself, why I have to cut all the tags out of his clothes, why he speech is scripted and repetitive. But it doesn't describe him. It doesn't describe how he's sweet and gentle , how he hugs me and tell me I'm his best mommy friend. It doesn't tell how his memory is almost perfect and he never forgets anything he hears or sees. It doesn't describe his love for baseball, One Direction and pizza. It doesn't define him. I know this,
But that doesn't explain why my palms are sweating, my throat is dry and I'm blinking back tears.I don't want it to matter to him. I don't want him to feel other or different. I want him to feel normal, accepted, loved. He's so sensitive, so vulnerable. What if someone teases him? Or hurts his feelings. I can't even begin to form a coherent thought now. I need to think of some really good explanation, comforting platitudes I need to be strong for him. So I'm just staring at him. He gets up and holds my face and says:
Mommy do you hear me?
I said yes
He says it again! " Do I have autism? "
I said yes Bobo you do...
He said " Oh Cool..."