So, it’s been 6 weeks since we had the meeting where it was agreed my gorgeous, floppy haired baby was just a little different from the other children. 6 weeks since I wept on my husband in a hospital corridor. 6 weeks since we felt one weight lifted and another replace it. 6 weeks since Oscar was diagnosed as “autistic”.
We’re getting on pretty well I think. Oscar’s speech gets better every week. Every day brings new words, new phrases, something else to amaze and baffle me. Three weeks ago, out of the blue, he started to say “Thank You” whenever you give him something or do something for him. Sometimes it’s even “Thank you mom mom”. He’ll even point it out if you don’t say ‘thank you’ when someone gives something to you! He can’t speak but suddenly he’s the politeness police? What the heck? And I say ‘heck’ because that’s another things he’s started doing, repeating the words you really don’t want him too! Like “Oh My God!”. And “Balls!” And the “f” word you never want them to say in front of their preschool teacher! It’s not that I swear all the time, but the fact that I didn’t have to worry about him repeating back what I said, meant I didn’t think to moderate my language ages ago. Like my friends did. Ahh well! At least it means he’s taking it in I guess? Sigh!
His behaviour is getting better and better too. His eye contact has gone from shaky to amazing in just four small months. He approaches other children now, be it friends in the garden, those at nursery or strangers in the park. He’s learnt a simple “Hello” opens all sorts of doors, particularly games of chase. There’s still nothing Oscar loves more than running around, but he’s now allowing other children to get in on the act. Even more amazingly he’s started to play games initiated by other children. Slowly slowly catchy monkey as they say, but last week he was approached at preschool, by a little girl, asked to play a game and he did. I think his TA was as shocked as I was when she told me.
Don’t get me wrong he still gets upset about things. Frustration is clear on his beautiful little face when he can’t get what he wants or do what he wants. But now he looks at me while he cries. And his bottom lip wobbles. He rarely hits himself and the anger goes as quickly as it came. These are tantrums of a toddler. We rarely see the blind panic of a melt down that can take over a hour to calm any more. But when we do, we’re coping with them better. Staying calmer, giving him that safe place he needs. We’re also a lot better at avoiding situations that could push him to that place beyond. We try not to make a big deal about it and that’s helping I think. For example, some birthday parties work for us, others (the sit down and watch kind) don’t. Yet. Give him time.
Yeah all in all, he’s progressing brilliantly. And yet as he gets easier, the stress of him is replaced by the stress of what his diagnosis brings with it. A hundred forms to fill in, a thousand things to read, new people every week, a new language (mainly made up of acronyms), advice, process, meetings. Getting everything set up to support my little guy, comes at a human cost. Me. I tell you what, it’s lucky I was an Account Manager for five years. Little else could have prepared me so well to deal with so many agencies all at once. Plate spinner extrodinaire that’s me. Only this time I’m not getting paid for it. But on the plus side neither do I have to work in Hoxton Square with all the hipsters, so you know, swings and roundabouts 😉 .
I’m not trying to brag here, but I feel like I need to keep some kind of record of the journey, of his milestones that would mean so little to anyone else. Heck ( 😉 ) who am I kidding, yes I am bragging. I’m so ridiculously proud of my baby and how he’s coming on that it’s worth all the forms and all the meetings and all the stress.
Last week someone told me what a polite little boy I had, after he said Hello, Please, Thank You and Goodbye, all perfectly and all in the right place. I didn’t cry, because seeing me sad upsets him, but I was crying inside.
Crying with happiness.