My darling boy turned ten today. WTF? I didn't give him permission to do that! The way I remember the deal, he was supposed to stay little, cute, endearing but very smart for several years. Then he would suddenly be a tall, dark handsome 19yo and leave on a full scholarship to Harvard, having totally bypassed the lanky, awkward and parent-distaining years. That was how I pictured it, anyway. I don;t remember signing up for ten.
He started off well. I remember holding him in the delivery room and just staring at him, utterly fascinated and enamored by this person who had come from my body. I remember him staring back almost as interested, quiet and wise. It felt like there was no-one else in the room. There was some commotion going on as they tried to stop my bleeding, but I really didn't care. We were in a little bubble and to me, Joe was the only person in the room. Himself came into the bubble a little bit, to visit. But it was our bubble. Himself was a guest.
As we left the delivery room, I looked back and it looked like Freddie Kruger had had a party in there. There was a sizable pool of blood on the floor and big blood spatters across the wall. I still didn't care.
We lost Joe when he was about 19/20 months old. He lost all his language. He stopped singing. He became guarded and silent, prone to horrible tantrums over the most minor things. We didn't know until a long time later that this was a classic Autistic regression. We had just moved house and everyone blamed the move. <sigh> we lost a lot of time there.
But the language delay was undeniable. We got a lot of help for him through the system here. First for language, then for other stuff and and he slowly made progress. It took a long time. At 4½, he finally gained functional language. He was mainstreamed last year. Now many people who meet Joe are surprised if they learn he has autism, because he has made such great progress. And he can fake "normal" pretty well a lot of the time.
I used to think Joe was a gift and Autism a curse, but now I cannot distinguish them. I can't imagine Joe as anyone other than who he is, and he is pretty awesome.
Except for being 10 that is. Honest to God! I am too young to have a ten-year old child.