I've been sitting on this post for over a year now, too afraid to click publish. Then I thought, "Oh what the Hell?" I took the time to write it and I hate it collecting cyber dust bunnies. So here goes nothing.
I want a do over. I don't want another kid. I just want to get a time machine and have an honest to goodness do over with the one I got. This is one of those hard truths of autism parenting that I wrestle with a lot silently because 1)Never gonna happen so why dwell on it? 2) It kind of insults the progress he has made and what he is all about.
I want to go back to the babyhood time. I want to be blissfully unaware of the road ahead of us. I want to just go around thinking that eventually the sleep deprivation will end. I want to believe that he'll potty train soon and I'll be done changing wet sheets in the morning before I have even had my morning coffee. (Followed by mid morning coffee, lunch time coffee and coffee all the other parts of the day to keep my eye lids up and open.)
I want my kid to be on the same level playing field as other little kids his age. Sometimes I forget that kids his age do all sorts of stuff that he can't or simply won't do. I mean that's good and bad. Good, when he still calls me "Mommy" and wants to hold my hand in public. Bad, when I see a bunch of kids all doing some sort of game that kids his age do and he's still pretty content with the same Thomas the Tank Engine trains they probably abandoned years ago. I want to not sit there thinking "Oh those kids must be really advanced." because I have no earthly clue what a kid his age is suppose to be doing at this age.
I don't want to have to know about the alphabet soup list of letter combos for all of this. ASD,ADD,SPD,IEP etc. I just want to buy him Alphabits cereal and have him actually repeat the sounds I would say to him when he would sit in the high chair as a tot. Not just stare at me and chuck them at the dog. (OK, he probably still would of thrown them at the dog. Damn, that dog kept the floor around that high chair clean.) I don't want him to start saying some words and lose them like he did.
I don't want the functioning labels because really, they make absolutely no sense. Not in our case anyway. They are way to subjective. Yeah, my kiddo can hear the musical notes played on a guitar and walk over to the piano and play the same ones there but he can't tie his shoes. So where do I put him? People tend to freak the Hell out over the idea of labels but at the same time we do need some descriptive words here. I don't have an idea of what to do instead. I guess they are here to stay. Maybe someone will come along and design a new look for the label. ("Same Great Autism taste. Now with less stimming!)
I would love to not look like a helicopter parent. I want to not go on a recon of places before we have been to them to map out possible safety issues. I'd like to just show up. How novel. Did you know some parents actually get to just drop their kids off to birthday parties and sports practices and THEN go back later for them? I KNOW! Wild right? I would love to just chill at a beach but my kiddo is making a bee line for the ocean. Never gonna happen. Some folks actually bring books with them to read. Fascinating.
I can want my do over. I can have these feelings and be sorry for having them at the same time. They can just coexist in my mind. Sorry but they do. I can want me to go back and have those moments of pure ignorant bliss combined with the knowledge it is coming. That maybe I will catch it sooner. Then maybe I can make my peace with it a little faster. I wouldn't mind a day filled with some easier judgement to handle. Like who cares that I didn't feed him homemade organic baby food. He's ate. He's fine. New Mommy smugness seems like a walk in the effing park compared to what is being thrown at me now. At the end of the day, the other babies didn't care what I did even when the parents did. Right now, someone with autism could be reading this and be hurt or even angered at my words. I'm sorry if I caused you pain with these words but my feelings are valid. I am allowed to feel my pain just as much as you.
I can't help myself for wanting a do over. Maybe I'd just savor those first few moments a little more. Maybe I would be a little more of a relaxed parent instead of obsessing on brands of diapers and other dumb stuff. Maybe I'd hug him a little tighter. Maybe I'd sing him one more verse of "Ba Ba Black Sheep" while he slept in my arms.
Maybe I'd buy stock in Ore Ida fries had I known how important they would become to us. :-)