God is the madwoman in the attic.
I'm camped out on the threshold with my journal, camera, and plenty of snacks.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

self-portrait Saturday & thoughts on being an Autism family

2 new tomatoes from our balcony garden!

This afternoon Little N is going to his first birthday party.  His friend Little D is turning 3.  Little N has been staying with Little D and his mom Miss K since L started full time work a couple weeks ago.  It's been great for Little N! 

Since being with Little D and K, our Little N has started wearing pull-ups and regained his curiosity about the potty.  He's eaten a lollipop, lick by lick, over a few days.  He's tried licks of whipped cream and hot dog.  He's eaten carrot babyfood tucked into his applesauce.  

More than any of that, he's built a new set of relationships with Little D and his parents.  He trusts Miss K and happily goes on mini-adventures with her and Little D during their days together.  He laughs and is excited to see Little D's daddy, B.

So today's party has lots of ingredients that could make it successful for Little N.  He knows the house and the key people.  But it also holds challenges.  Little N really struggles with groups of people, children or adults.  Lately we're seeing new behaviors appear when he is stressed.  He'll come to me and clutch chunks of my hair.  His words evaporate and he reverts to pointing and grunting.  He acts out in quiet ways like putting sand on himself or eating it.  New odd behaviors that make the stress of socializing apparent - even as they make it harder for him to socialize.  

L and I have already chatted about being aware to notice any signs that kiddo is stressed.  We'll do what we can to mitigate it.  And we're content to leave early and go someplace easier for Little N if necessary.  

Being an Autism family means changing our expectations about many of the things that society - in the real life form of friends and family - take for granted and accept with predetermined meanings as positive or negative.  For example, a birthday party is happy, positive event, that the kids will enjoy. 

Sometimes being an Autism family means simply being different.  We might sit with Little N and let him work out his feelings in his own odd behavior for a little while.  We might sit in the sand pile and get good & sandy.  We might sign with him when his words fall away.  And I'm learning that maybe there's room in society, in the real life form of friends and family, for a kid to be different, for our family to be different, and still be invited to the party.

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