I stole this picture off of her site. heh heh heh:
I want to thank Jillsmo for allowing me to guest post. She is my bloggie crush. I found her when I was oh-so-new to blogging, lost in a world of not knowing whether it was okay to post about what it feels like to hear the word autism for the first time one day and post a really bad drawing the next. Her words and hilarious pictures saved me from worrying about what my blog was supposed to be. Her direct and honest voice about parenting a kid with special needs has made me feel less alone more than once. Jillsmo is awesome. (editor's note: SHUT UP!)
All I Need
Just a few short years ago, all I needed was a baby. Previous pregnancy and marriage failure brought me to learning to deal with having Advanced Maternal Age printed at the top of all of my pregnancy paperwork. Being pregnant at 40 quickly became all I need is a baby who ends up being okay. Put on bed-rest halfway through meant that I had a whole new set of worries. All I needed was for us both to end up being alive.
Although there were a couple of scares, I ended up giving birth to a healthy baby boy on the Fourth of July. He was perfect. I was perfect enough, having endured seeing the disgusting droopy hound dog that my vagina had become. We were alive. We were healthy. And we were “normal.” I was grateful.
As he grew, my son mostly met his milestones. He walked at 13 months. Not early. But certainly there was no need for concern.
The months went on and my son started talking a little bit. His first word was mama because obviously he likes me best. By 15 months or so, he was saying “mommy,” “daddy,” “bye-bye” and a few other words. He seemed fine. He seemed typical.
By his second birthday, I was worried. I let his doctor know that I was concerned that my little dude wasn’t speaking more. She asked me what he’d said and I proudly let her know that just two days ago, he’d said “truck fell down.” She assured me that having uttered a three-word sentence was really good for a boy his age. I let it go. I kept hoping he’d just start talking all of a sudden. That was the first and last time he’s said “truck fell down.” Still, it was easy to listen to opinions that everybody meets milestones on their own time-lines, that boys speak later than girls, and that boys who had been at home exclusively with mom spoke even later.
Before my son turned two and a half, it was obvious that his language was lacking. At some point, “bye-bye” had become “bah” and “Daddy” became “Cha.” It was clear that we needed to face the fact that our son was delayed. Enter Early Intervention, a developmental pediatrician, a speech therapist and me trying to figure out what was going on.
The word “autism” came up. “Speech and language delay” and “developmental delay” came up. Some of my son’s quirks seemed to point to autism. So I learned a bit about it. And I got discouraged when so many parents in that community were dealing with diet, sleep and immunity issues that were completely foreign to us. The other thing that didn’t fit was that my son makes eye contact. He loves to snuggle and looks to his father and me for approval.
There are times when he’s completely in his own world and I’m convinced he’s autistic. When he’s tired, my physical little boy runs laps while emitting a “eeeeahhhheeeeahhhheeeeahhh” sound. Seems like a stim. He’s still extremely speech and language delayed. He’s got sensory issues and gags or throws up when we brush his teeth. He doesn’t really understand how to properly interact with his peers. And yet, he wants to interact with them which makes it confusing and frustrating because that’s when it doesn’t look like autism. Enter all I need is a diagnosis so that I can give a name to it. Not having a name for it means that I don’t feel as comfortable talking about it. It means not having a community.
But the thing is, I wish we knew for us. All I need is not necessarily what he needs. What we do have is one kick-ass awesome little boy who makes progress every day. We have a school system that is willing to ignore our lack of a diagnosis and place my kid in ABA therapy because they can see that it’s working for him. What we do have is awesome bloggers and a community of online people who are willing to offer advice, encouragement and cyber love.
So for now, I’m content to simply need the knowledge that we’re doing the right things for our undiagnosed little boy. And for now, that’s enough.