My Kid's in Color

My kid is really strange. He's odd with words and people, and sometimes with his hands and feet. Watching him among others is watching him being in his own world. Most of the time, he doesn't even take note of the world around him. Nor does he seem to care. He doesn't participate in other children's play, and he doesn't get the rules they set up amongst themselves. To his own world, their rules have no meaning.

He walks across the blanket two girls spread out to have a picnic. He does that over and over. I think he likes the color, red and white, and the fact that there's squares on the fabric. And he likes the feeling of walking on it, because it's soft and he has no shoes on. That is all. In the meantime, the girls get furious. "Don't walk across that blanket anymore. How hard is it to understand, stupid?"

I can tell you now: it is very hard. Yes, my kid is stupid. He's not really noticing that he's upsetting the girls. But they, in turn, are also stupid. Because they're not getting how great it is, to just be walking barefoot across a blanket without thinking of anything but your feet. Without thinking of the rules of girls, the rules of having picnics in public, or properly socializing with people. I mean, seriously, how cool is it, to not care about anything besides what it feels like to walk across a blanket?

And how awesome is it, to just run around without a destination until your cheeks are all red, and you get so exhausted, you're barely able to breathe? How awesome is it, to be that weird? I can tell you, it is super crazy awesome! Because normal is boring, and normal is redundant, and throughout history, normal has been done to death. And while normal probably would be easier for me to handle and easier to explain to the outside world, I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

You see, I gave this boy some of my traits. I may be partially more aware of what's going on around me, but that doesn't mean I always agree with the demands of world. In fact, many a times, I do have some problems getting along with world.

I can feel your vibe, little boy. I see what you're all about. And if I were just a little bit braver, I'd be doing what you're doing. I'd be walking without my shoes, just walking and feeling the soft fabrics of my world.


For The Moment

I was talking to our pediatrician the other day, about how parents will do anything for the health and safety of their kids. They will drive thousands of hours to see the best doctors and do whatever it takes, and give their limbs and organs, if necessary. This conversation sparked a little stream of consciousness on the drive home. I was thinking about those moments, when kids are small babies, when, for the moment, all their needs are fulfilled and they just happily lie there in your arms and doze off, while you, as a parent, can't help but think about all the things yet to come.


Autism And Other Minor Concerns

As human beings we worry a lot. We don't seem to ever stop. We worry about our health, our safety, money, sometimes even stupider stuff, like which car to drive in our thirties, which meals to eat on a Sunday. If a burglar may kill us in our sleep, or if cancer will do the job during the light of day.

As parents, we worry about our kids, if they get enough sleep, if they eat enough of everything, if their poop's consistency is to our liking, if they experience enough of anything. These are somewhat understandable parental worries.

So, I, newly a mother of two, have been asking myself: am I doing a good job mother-wise. It's highly questionable, I will ever get an answer other than the one I can provide myself. Something scary has been going on, and it has been going on for quite a while. We have been concerned about our son's speech development for a few months. It hasn't progressed normally, even along the normal parameters for boys (expected to being slower than girls), he is far behind. At two years, kids should be able to produce 50 to 200 words, they should be able to understand up to 400 words. Plus they should be able to do such things as look a person in the eye, and, not resort to screaming when having to perform certain tasks asked to do by other persons than the immediate family.

Well, you, what can I say. Our boy didn't do well in any of said tasks. Until recently, he didn't say a single word, he didn't interact socially with people outside the family, and he didn't perform to the pediatrician's satisfaction. The result of this was an under-average performance in the developmental test, and the pediatrician telling me that judging by his behavior, my son may be in the autism spectrum. All I could say was, yes, well, OK. I didn't add the classic retort "That is yoooour opinion!" and "I'll get another opinion, you!" . No, I didn't. My reflexes were a bit off that day.

I tried to find flaws in their test, the whole setup. I couldn't. It is a standardized test, with the same conditions for everyone, so the results are representative for his age group. I then alleged a conspiracy. Doctors being greedy money makers who want to sell you stuff and services. Maybe they are. Still, they couldn't sell you anything if there wasn't a kid in need of those services.

I was next in line. It's me. Too much iPad, too little parenting. We jokingly call the iPad parental unit c in this house, just to give you a little grasp of its importance. So, it had to be me. Either something I did wrong or something my crummy genes did wrong to cause that in my boy. As it turns out, my genes are rather likely to cause that kind of disorder. Not gluten or the iPad. At least I think they don't. As it turns out we know so little about autism, or the brain in general, that there's plenty of room for all kinds of crazy theories.

"If he has it, it's all my fault, OK?" hubby said to me, while we were driving in the car. Hubby's so sweet. "I mean look at me, the way I am." Awww, my sweet little Asperger! I replied that we're both a couple of odd people with some variance of social strangeness. So in my mind, it has to be a rather explosive coming together of crummy genes. Romantic, if you think about it. We combined our flawed gene pools and what came out was an even bigger water, a big muddy sea of crummyness. Awwww!

And that changed my perspective. Yes, we're both old and horrible but we created something genuinely unique. Not saying that special always means good or easy. But no matter how this turns out, if it really is autism, some other disease or nothing at all, our boy is extraordinary, the way his brain is clocked, the way he sees and assesses objects, people, concepts. I like to watch him watch the world and it's fascinating and endearing. And that is something to be happy about rather than sad or worried. He'll be an interesting human being no matter how this plays out. It won't always be easy for him to find his place in the world. But in this world, there should be a place for interesting, off-beat, difficult and lovable.