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Friday, July 20, 2012

Babies or little boys?---#NaBloPoMo

Just this week, our younger son had the gift of a play date with a former preschool classmate of his. They went to the movies.

While making plans for this outing with the friend's mother, who happens to be one of my girlfriends, I quickly suggested that I should watch her 6-month-old son while she took the older boys to the movies. That was a giant step for me.

I love my friend and didn't think twice about offering, and yet after I did so, I couldn't believe that I was going to actually open myself to that kind of exposure once more.

The baby in this house is nine years old.

We have no younger children for a reason. With two autistic babies 22 months apart--one also dealing with a paralyzed arm as a result of a brachial plexus injury at birth--that stage in our lives was, well...awful.

Awful. It was truly, truly awful.

As much as infants and babies are young people who need time for their bodies to develop, to learn to accept different foods and feelings, sounds and touch, our autistic children are battling those things magnified so much more. Often, parents don't even know the source of our child's distress. We just know that there is a problem.

My husband and I adore our children. At the same time, they were truly difficult babies. I know they couldn't help it, and we never blamed them personally. But that time in our lives was nothing short of horrific.

Screaming from gastric pain.

Screaming from loud sounds.

Screaming from offensive touch.

Screaming from offensive movement.

No sleeping.

No cooing.

No cuddling.

No eye contact.

No affirmation.

Vomit.

Rampant diarrhea.

Absolutely no sleep at all.

Constant movement all day long.

NaPoBloMo wants to know if we like babies or older children better. Well, I'll give you one guess.

When our babies were small and we were trying to find our bleary-eyed way through the typical play dates and the typical toddler music groups. I'd watch the typical moms become teary and sentimental with the passing of time--the romper that was now too small or the need for a larger diaper, losing a tooth or moving to a sippy cup.

That feeling was lost on me.

In truth, all I could think was, "Thank you. Thank you God for growth."

In our house, age has meant development. We've found that the passing of time has brought increased skill, and as parents we have discovered our joy in anticipating the new stage that comes with the new skills.

My friend's baby was the first baby I'd held in quite some time, perhaps since I'd held my own so many years ago. And, no, this child did not turn and breathe fire on me. His head didn't spin around in a demonic manner, nor did he have me regretting my decision.

He was beautiful. I'm happy to have had that experience with him and the validation it brought with it. I actually CAN care for a baby.

I suppose one could say that autism robbed us of our infancy years. With a heavy heart, I think that more importantly, it robbed my children of their infancy years. Fortunately, we tend to be more "here" and "now" people.

With that as our focus, our present and future are a whole lot brighter.


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NaPoBloMo July Challenge. If I blog for 31 days straight, will someone come help me with my laundry?

2 comments:

  1. On the laundry,,,no, Will likes to be paid to help with that. Otherwise, excellent comparison and everyone understands why the older, more developed child is your choice with even better days ahead.

    Babies are so fun, but I must say, I prefer borrowing them to actually owning them!

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  2. On the off chance I ever figure out how to have one, I will let you borrow him/her while I borrow your big boys.

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