Autism is so many things, to me. It is a big pain in my ass, and I sometimes get so, so mad at it. But then I think my baby boy has autism, and I love him and I even love his weirdness and quirkiness and ... well, downright ANNOYING behaviors and a lot of them are because he has autism. So I love it? Maybe?
I'll tell you what I don't think about autism. I don't think it makes my son into some kind of unicorn or something, I don't think I should leave him just as he is. Because as he is is kind of ... well, socially unacceptable. Selfishly, I want him to talk more because I want to hear what he has to say. I want him to say "NO!" to his sister when she is being a pain or taking something from him. I want him to say "I love you" to me or to his father. I would love to just have a conversation with him, ask him how his day went, something.
We are so, so lucky that we live in a state that has an autism mandate. If we didn't, I don't know what we'd do. There is a therapist at the school that J goes to and her brother has autism. He's like 27 or something and there was no mandate when he was growing up, and her father had to quit his job to stay at home with him and do ABA therapy. He quit his job! I can't imagine. I mean, I am home anyway but there is no way I could do ABA with J, I am busy with those needy sisters of his.
Autism makes for strange bedfellows, or playgroup fellows anyway. I know that sometimes people don't invite us to things because of J and I think it's bullshit. BUT I understand it. J isn't rough or anything, he never pushes or starts fights, and he really likes to be around people. He also likes to wave his hands in front of his face and make goat boy noises and I guess some people aren't comfortable with their kids being around someone like that. Whatevs.
I always start to follow Autism Moms on Twitter and then sometimes I have to stop. I cannot worry about vaccines having caused my son's autism. I don't think they did, and even if they did, (which they didn't, I am sure of it, he's been who he is from Day One), what good does it do me to worry about it now? I have too much to do trying to advocate for my son, I don't have time to advocate for Jenny freaking McCarthy or her idiot boyfriend.
Autism hasn't ruined my life, or my marriage, or my son's life, as some ads from Autism Speaks would want you to believe. While it's true that we have challenges, more challenges than parents of typical kids, I swear to God, Kathleen is twice as challenging as Joseph right now. And Todd and I are so, so dumb about it. Joseph was so non-verbal at Kathleen's age that we are always like 'what is UP with all this talking?' It's exciting and annoying and a little bit sad, to us. Just like Parenthood! Ha!