Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just a little over 11 years ago

About a month after our daughter's first birthday, my husband & I discovered that she was not going to be an only child. When we found this news out, we were still in our duplex, surrounded by packing boxes, because we had just bought our first house (which is the house we still live in today) and we were moving that week. Two new starts, a new house and a new baby. So during this pregnancy, we discovered that it was going to be a boy, and that he had a cyst in his brain. The cyst issue eventually resolved itself in a few weeks, but not before 3 more ultrasounds and a meeting with a genetic specialist.

Also during this pregnancy, my step-father kept telling us that this child would be so different than our first one. Hard to imagine because we only had the one, and she was a happy little kid. What would be "different"? We were hoping that this one would be quieter, because our happy firstborn was a rather chatty little gal. So our son was born, and he had a high pitched, screaming cry. Once he calmed down, (thanks to having a nice warm bath and being swaddled), he was just a quiet baby. So all through that first year, he didn't cry alot (unless he was hungry or teething).

Something that we did notice is that he was very observant. If we gave him anything thing to play with, he didn't really play, but he would just study every aspect of the item and when he had nothing left to study, he'd toss it on the floor. This continued into his toddler years when we would give him a piece of paper to color on and he would just study the paper and then drop it on the floor. Something also changed when he turned 1. He suddenly didn't want to eat anything, but peanut butter sandwiches. Overnight, literally, he went from being willing to eat anything, to refusing everything and only having PB sandwiches. For the next 3 years, anytime that we took him anywhere to eat, I had to have a PB sandwich in my purse for him to eat while we ate something else. In restaurants, we just felt like folks were watching us and wondering why we would let our older child eat something ordered from the menu and not do the same for our younger one.

He screamed about everything too, shrill piercing screams. He screamed if we were going to certain restaurants & stores. He screamed if we didn't carry him from the car to the house once we came home. One day, we came home and the boy screamed to be carried and my husband decided that the boy could walk to the house by himself. So Kevin pulled up a chair and sat in front of the garage until finally, the boy started walking toward him, at which point, Kevin moved his chair closer to the front door, which would then frustrate my son. He finally made it into the house by himself, but not with out screaming so much and so loudly that I was sure that the neighbors were going to call us in for abuse. We had a kid who would rather be waited on than have to do anything for himself (he's still kind of that way).

Other differences included, not speaking. He was 2 1/2 and still hadn't even tried to speak. I finally started singing simple words, sentences & phrases to him and he would mimick them back. Every 6 months, his vocabulary would expand a bit and he would finally start to put a simple sentence together. He also didn't interact with other children. I'd send him to Sunday school and he pretty much kept to himself and was the only one who didn't do a craft. Sometimes I'd keep him with me in the main church service, sometimes I would leave him at home with his dad.

So here we are 11 years later. He's an 11 year old boy, who still thinks more like a 6 or 7 year old, and he's nearly as tall as me (I'm not considered tall). He just recently received a diagnosis for being on the autism spectrum. Something that we pretty much knew but waited until now to get. He's certainly not the quiet child, he's full of chatter (mostly about things that interest him such as cars, trains, states, countries, flags, the weather, a favorite movie), and sound effects. We've been homeschooling him from the very beginning and I think that has actually helped him. He's not one to sit still for long periods of time and he has a few "tics" that would be distracting to a classroom full of kids. So he does all of this at home, for his parents and sister to hear. He's quite an artist as well and has impressed several folks with how well he draws (yes, he finally stopped analyzing the paper and started drawing on it).

I don't think that my step-father had this in mind when he said that the second child would be different from the first. We love our boy, and wouldn't have him any other way. And that boy is 11 years old today and he's "cool and very smart"

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