Monday, November 26, 2012

I wanna tell you about Santa

Autism never takes a break. There is no respite in this battle. The littlest thing can be a massive ordeal and often requires tons of patience and understanding. Nic and I try but fail too often. To those folks who think I am a really great parent, I assure you I do not feel that way. I feel like I could do a better job understanding this disability and giving Sophie the patience she deserves. I feel too often that I am just trying to swim upstream or going in circles. If any parents raising a kid with autism have it all figured out, take a bow. As for the rest of us, we require intense education, deep breaths, and the daily miracles of our children's triumphs to survive. But the thing to remember here is that our kids didn't ask to be born this way. Underneath it all, they are just kids looking for love and understanding, wanting to laugh and play. We must understand that essential fact and behave accordingly.
Struggling to communicate is not just our problem, or even a problem limited to children on the spectrum for that matter. I just want the key to get into her brain and find out what she thinks. Sophia speaks in sentences, and more often than not she will use phrases in their proper context. I know what things she likes- trains, Sesame Street, Minnie Mouse, and bouncing. She likes running and pizza, and even recently figured out pedaling on her bike. But I want more. I want her to understand us.
I am not trying to torture my child while engaged in an epic battle over potty training and forcing her to sit on the potty. I'm sorry that I screamed at her, when, for the third time, spit juice all over the floor, creating a sea of apple juice (which also meant she, of course, felt inclined to disrobe and slide around it).
I tried to tell her about Christmas tonight, but she blocked me and didn't seem interested. She has been very excited about Christmas lights and pictures of Santa Claus, but I want her to get even more excited. I told her anyway, but I don't know if it got through. Call me selfish, but I would do anything in my power to give her the joy of this story , going to sleep on xmas eve with unbearable excitment. There is so much I want to say to her and probably her to me. But tonight, I tried to tell her about Christmas and it made me cry.
I have my faults, to be sure, but I am not somebody who quits on anything--with almost-ironclad resolve. It gets me into trouble, but I won't give up in either of my kids. Sophie is such a smart and adventurous kid that she will succeed. But day after day, I will continue to fight to understand her and she me.
You know, I asked her to throw away an empty juice box in the trash can and she walked past the trash can down the steps towards our room. "Great," I thought, "what was I thinking-she is probably squeezing out he last drops all over our bed or something." I heard a bang from the other room and rushed to find her digging out a trash can that I had forgotten about that we don't use! You see folks, maybe the Christmas story will take a while, but here is proof that she IS getting it. Til then, we have lots of hope, and lot of lights on the Christmas tree.

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