Saturday, December 13, 2008

My sons, their autism, and why I love them anyway

Well, this weekend is one of those rare, splendid weekends when my boys are with their grandparents. If you aren't already linked to your children's grandparents, I suggest you immediately make them your Facebook or MySpace friends and also babysitters. I don't know what I'd do without my mom and stepdad!

And of course, I was missing the boys this morning when I woke up. On a normal Saturday morning, 7-year-old Cameron would join us in our king-sized bed with his Poppy and his thumb. "Poppy" is his ragged, stuffed yellow bear. His thumb is something we don't necessarily want in his mouth, but he does. "When I see soft things, it makes me suck my thumb," Cameron explains.

See, Cameron is like many kids with high-functioning autism (officially PDD-NOS): he is an extreme kid. He is part little kid, part old man. He will ask the most innocent, naive question one minute, and offer deep, insightful theories the next. Some days, even the tiniest disappointment will cause him to throw his 65-pound frame to the floor in a tantrum. Other days, when we're prepared for a strong reaction, he just lets disappointments slide off him without incident. We never know which kid we're dealing with.

My other son, Noah/Xavier/Smitty (he has name issues), 10 years old, is just as extreme. His diagnosis is Asperger's Syndrome. That diagnosis is marked by advanced intelligence but delayed social skills. He is a living example of how two extremes can coexist in one body. Even when he was 2 years old and taught himself to read, I sometimes forgot he was only 2 and talked to him like he was 10. Now that he IS 10, I sometimes forget he's only 10 and I talk to him like he's 20. But he also can still ACT like he's 2! I'm serious.

So this morning when my husband Todd and I woke up, we lay in bed and talked about our boys. We thought of the endearing qualities about them instead of the annoying ones. Like how Cameron has a pure innocence about him that most 7-year-olds no longer have. Sure, I'd like for him to be cognitively at level with his classmates, but that isn't the case. So I look for the good in it: his naivety, his curious questions, his struggle to choose the right words... he's adorable to me. My heart does little flips for him all the time.

Noah, being a tweenager or preteen or whatever, doesn't normally crawl in bed with us anymore. And although he likes to do many things alone -- Nintendo Wii, computer games, reading, sorting baseball cards -- there are times when we truly connect. He'll step outside his world of high interests and ask me about MY world. He'll show interest in my scrapbooking, my favorite computer game, a computer project or something. And I will HUG him.

Just yesterday, on the drive to Grandma's, Noah expressed his strong support of my being The Autism Mom. He was really excited about it! As we brainstormed together, we came up with a related concept -- a forum called The Autism Kids, where kids could post their photos, writings, artwork, etc., and find other kids with similar interests. I am going to get started on this project in between all my other projects. I am excited! I welcome your input!

Rene, The Autism Mom
Follow my blog:

No comments:

Post a Comment