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Friday, July 27, 2012

Labels---#NaPoBloMo

Wow, this room sure is a mess," our younger son remarked last night as I was tidying his brother's room before we settled in for the night.

"Yes it is," I agreed. "Your brother stays awake a lot at night, and when that happens, he trashes his room."

I could see our son mulling over this last thought.

"Why does he stay awake at night, anyway?" He asked casually.

Ah, the million dollar question.

"Well, buddy," I explained, " it's a combination of his anxiety, his autism and his stomach problems."

Pause.

"Mama?" he asked. "Do I have igzi..."

"Anxiety," I finished for him. "Yeah, buddy, you do. It's that feeling that makes it difficult for you to attend school. It's what causes you to freak out when you see the principal. It's what you feel when you see a workbook page or have to leave my side. That feeling is called anxiety."

I thought this conversation was going rather well. Huh. Good for me! Way to parent!

"So," he continued, "since I have anxiety," he said carefully, "and I also have a leeetle bit of autism, well, then that's why sometimes I don't sleep!"

I think at that point, I must have swallowed my tongue.

I was frozen. Did he just say what I thought he said? Did he just say he had autism? What's more, did he really just say it so casually, as if he was talking about having ketchup on his burger?



Just a little. You know, no biggie.

My insides were jell-o. It was pretty safe to say that I was the one dealing with the anxiety at that point. You bet. Autism definitely gives me situational anxiety. Sometimes, it is simply too much for my heart to take in stride.

"Huh. Maybe." I managed to say in response to him.

He was probably right. His "little bit of autism" (which sometimes feels like a WHOLE LOT of autism) and anxiety probably did account for his poor sleep patterns. However, I just wasn't prepared to discuss this.

We already have, of course. We talked about his diagnosis a little over a year ago. But, since then, I've worked very hard to avoid the label and the judgment and the poor self-esteem that he might attach to it. I felt as though he had to struggle with just so much. The truth is, perhaps I was struggling with it also.

Weeks turned into months, and I thought--I hoped--that he had forgotten about it.

"How could he have said it so casually?" I asked my husband later that night as I was relaying the story.

"Are you kidding?" my husband said to me. "His brain is a processor. He has taken in the facts. He has a 'little bit of autism'. End of story."

"But, how is he okay with that?" I asked. "Our family struggles because of autism."

"Because he knows that his autism is nowhere near what his brother's autism is." my husband answered simply.

"Well," I continued, "why can't I do that?"

He responded, "Because you are a mom."



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NaPoBloMo July Challenge 2012. Twenty-seven days straight of blogging about "Kids", and my friends are still speaking to me.

4 comments:

  1. I think your husband may have just spoken what could become the universal answer to almost every question we have about our children. I love when you relay your conversations with him. I feel like I'm sitting at your kitchen table as I fit in all the rest of the pieces from the other blog posts. And yes, it sounds like your younger son is okay with it and kudos to you for your matter of fact discussion with him no matter how much anxiety you were feeling at the time!

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  2. Roland is a very smart man. I think I have a leeetle crush on him, now.
    I am not only still speaking to you, I'm still reading and I'm still loving every post.

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