What if he’s not?

July 5, 2009

I’ve realised something lately. I’ve been convincing myself that my austistic son is gifted. I repeatedly tell myself how smart and clever he is and perhaps he is but I think it’s a little more serious. I realise I’ve been compensating and hoping that although he’s not a normal kid, that he’s smarter, has exceptional abilities because it’s easier to accept having a son with special needs if he’s some way better in other ways. He’s 5 and I have this idea that he’s going to to be recommended to the school for gifted children when he’s 8. I take such pride in his achievements I know when I’m telling people for the first time that I’ve a son with autism which I usually qualify with he can read and he hasn’t started school yet, he can count to 100 etc. I remember saying to one of the many professionals that we attend that my son is very bright and he asked where it was documented in the reports as it would have been documented. And I just said ‘but’ and he looked at me as if to say we all think our kids are exceptional but there is no evidence. What if he isn’t? What if he’s just an austisic kid with average intelligence? It’s terrible but am I so shallow that I want him to compensate for some of his shortcomings? He’s adorable, usually everyone’s favourite, he’s funny and loving. Why can’t that be enough?

Little April Fool

April 5, 2009

Was April Fool’s Day the other day. DS1 and I played quite a few tricks on X when he came up for breakfast – the usual ones – there’s a man at the front door, I need 20 euro for school tour etc. The tree of us were having a laugh and I realised that DS2 was completely unaware of the concept of April Fool’s day. So I tried to explain that it was a day that people played tricks on each other and then shouted ‘April Fool’ so I made up a few examples of tricks he could play on his teachers in Montessori e.g. tell Caroline there’s a tiger in the garden. He burst out laughing without waiting for my explanation of the punch line and couldn’t actually grasp the concept. He really enjoyed the absurdity of there being a tiger in the garden or a cow in the bathroom but just couldn’t get the humour and gag part of it. So I gave up lecturing and let him enjoy the stories. According to some reading I’ve been doing on sensory processing dysfunction, this is called ‘not getting the gist’. Apparently many autistic people just don’t get the gist or hidden innuendo just the words and functional concepts. Later I thought it’s a bit like listening to a foreign radio station of a language you once knew and you can pick out some words in every sentence and maybe even names, and place names but if you were to think about it afterwards you’d probably wouldn’t be able to tell someone what the news item is about. It’s interesting. Maybe he’ll get the gist next year!

Difficult day

March 23, 2009

Brought DS2 to his private swiming lesson and it went well until I tried to get him out of the pool. After the lesson he was messing at the shower with Thomas his teacher. I was talking giving him a few ABA tips on how to get him to work for rewards etc. and warned him that you have to be firm or he’ll just take advantage of you. Then the little rotter ran back into the pool and played on the slide and I couldn’t get him out of the water, I tried a couple of threats like ‘no lessons’ next week etc. but the smart little git just said you can’t get me because you don’t have your togs – true, there I was fully clothed at the side of the pool powerless! Thomas gave him one firm look and he got out, talk about feeling like a moron! He was grand getting dressed but took a downward turn when we walked past the ice-cream counter in the reception, major tantrum followed. Result in carrying him out kicking and screaming and he managed to get in a few punches to my face. Then I hauled him into the car seat where he swifly delivered a punch in the nose to his older brother who needless to say burst out crying. Trauma Trauma. He calmed down in few minutes. After dinner, I allowed DS1 get himself an icecream from the freezer and refused Ds2 point blank saying that punching Mammy or his brother didn’t merit an ice cream, he went bananas again but I stuck to my guns and didn’t give in. He calmed down eventually. Similar situation at bedtime when I’d made a deal about watching more TV instead of books then after his extra ration of TV, he demanded books. I refused again and he calmed down eventually. I know it works if you don’t give in but it’s tiring. It will get easier. I’ve signed up for a 3 day intensive ABA revision course as I feel he’s winning the power game at the moment. Not for long.

11 years ago today

March 23, 2009

I kissed my husband for the first time 11 years ago today and as I kissed him, I said to myself – that’s it, this is it, I’m never kissing anyone else again, it just felt right. I believed I’d kissed enough frogs and now I’d finally met my Prince. He felt the same and we fell madly in love but apparently, in his revisionism now that was not the case. I wonder will I ever kiss again?

Telling the parents

March 23, 2009

Told my Dad about the separation today and in a way it was almost as difficult as telling the kids. My father said he knew there was something not quite right but was very sad and worried about me. I assured him everything was fine (yeah right) and not to worry. He presumed it was financial pressure – if only, I said it was a little more serious than that i.e. my husband realised he doesn’t love, never did and he’d spent the last 11 years trying to do the right thing. A new job, business success or winning the lotto won’t fix that.

Looking at lips

March 20, 2009

Went to a party a few weeks ago and was chatted up and gone on great with a guy. He’s not really my type but a good conversationalist which is always welcome at a party. At one point I looked at his lips and simply couldn’t imagine kissing them. And I don’t think it’s exclusive to him, I mean I still just can’t imagine kissing any other lips. 11 years I suppose does that. Someday.

Telling the Kids

March 20, 2009

Well we finally got the courage to sit the kids down and tell them about the break up. Needless to say Ds2 had no idea what was going on and ended up playing toys on the floor and not listening. I guess that’s typical of any 5 year old, his mild autism is irrelevant. For DS1, it didn’t go so well. For starters, we had sort of thought that he had some sort of idea what was coming and it turns out, it took him completely by surprise. He ended up shouting ‘stop talking, I’ve heard enough’ and ran to his room where he proceeded to wail at the top of his voice saying things like ‘I just want us to be a family’. After a while, I went into him and he was lying on the bed with his back to me and I tried to cheer him saying we were still a family and we’d still do all our trips etc. He said he just wanted everthing to say the same and I sort of ageed but that’s not an option. We all went out for pancakes them to show we can still do family stuff and it was better. He didn’t bring it up or like when it was brought up for weeks afterwards but I have to say he’s pretty cool about it now and when X told him he was moving out last night he just asked a question about the TV in his new house. I think it will be fine. If we can manage to keep calm, civil and friendly, all will be well. I really hope all my anger is gone.