Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The space between

We have been out of school for 3 weeks. I kind of knew it was going to be a huge adjustment for me and bubs, probably more for me at this point. It was a highly structured program and they kept data on everything. They had a clip board on it with all the slightly quirky/annoying things my son did and they would make slash marks each time he did one. That kind of crap made the leaving easier.
Entering the 'secular' world (for lack of a better word) has been somewhat eye opening and stressful (gee, what a surprise) for me and I think it's been a little confusing for bubs. I think if you were to describe bubs' place on the spectrum at the present moment, it would be 'falls under the radar- most of the time'. First off, I need to say that him falling off the radar is not a value judgement on my part. At our home and with our friends, there just isn't a radar to speak of. It's free and easy, flapping is optional. It's more about trying to find our place in this world, in this 'do I tell or do I not tell' kind of world. I usually don't tell because I feel like bubs has a right to his privacy (although I guess I shot that wad when I plastered his pictures all over the internet, right?) or maybe it's just that I don't think it should be an issue, I think people should accept people for who they are and not need some kind of label in order to be compassionate. Needless to say, it's a loaded issue for me. I respect any autism momma's choice in how to handle the issue. I am still finding my way here.

I have seen over the last few weeks some moments here and there where it's just not that easy for my son to keep it together. I have one child on the spectrum, I do not know what is typical for a child of five. I think sometimes I am harder on him than I should be, then other times I worry that I am making excuses for him. Does that make any kind of sense?
We were at a birthday party yesterday (A fabulous birthday party by the way at a cool jump house). I followed the boy around like one of those annoying helicopter moms you want to pinch at the park (at least I want to pinch them). Basically I want to make sure he isn't giving someone his world famous love taps (I think it's sensory seeking, and I usually am the one receiving them) and that everyone is sharing and communicating. I guess I was meddling. I just didn't want my son to make anyone cry or for anyone to make him cry. I know in my tired brain that you need to let the little stinkers handle it on their own. But I think for my bubs, he still needs some help in that department.
At any rate, at one point, bubs went up the huge bouncy slide but he went in front of a child at the top of the slide when he slid down-ignoring the one child at a time ride, and probably some kind of 'cutting the line' infraction. Honestly, I don't' think he knew what he did was wrong, it was impulsive. Not a big deal. I saw when he got down that the guy running the thing was reprimanding him. Not in a mean way, nothing bad-he was just reiterating the rules. I was going to intervene, and it occurred to me that I can't hold him up to these standards all the time, and not expect him to be treated like a 'typical' kid. It's really what I want for him. For the record, he got embarrased and never went back on the slide. It's probable that he does know way more than I give him credit for.
My friend Mary, who is my voice of reason amidst this chaos, told me that I might be holding him up to impossible standards. I don't see the forest for the trees when it comes to other kids. I intensely focus with razor sharp clarity on my own little being. She said typical five year olds can be like wild banshees, especially at a bouncey house. It's tough, we have spent the last few years working on behaviors, on my boy like white on rice. I know it's time to let him fly, and perhaps shed a few tears in the process.

I think my biggest fear is that I am making my child nuts. Hopefully one day he'll be able to work it all out with a good therapist.


Marla said...

It really is hard to know what is age appropriate and what is "special" behavior. You are a great mom.

Maddy said...

I have a good pal who reins me in when I'm about to dive off the deep end again [oops sorry for the mixed metaphors]

She is a strong believer in the idea that 'our' children will eventually be much better behaved than the typical.

I hope she's right.