written by Judi (with help from Amy)
Some days with Andrew, this song comes to mind…
We’ve been having a particularly rough couple of months with Andrew. Things are changing all around him, and like a lot of autistic individuals, change is difficult. It’s difficult for most people, if we really want to look at it, but Andrew can’t verbalize how he’s feeling about things. He’s an incredibly verbal child and is quite articulate at times…he just can’t process a lot of what he’s feeling and why he’s feeling it so he can’t tell us what is wrong. It manifests itself in tantrums and self-injury and sometimes lashing out at others. He’s having more difficult time in school, unable to transition well, unable to follow direction and he’s been hitting his TA (teaching assistant). At home there’s a constant battle with him. If we ask him not to do something, or deny him what he wants, he’ll either hit himself in the head, or he’ll start chanting self-depreciating statements such as “I don’t like myself anymore”. He screams and cries. It’s enough to throw our hands up in the air and say “we give up!”. But we don’t, we persevere and we’ll all find the answers to help, soon enough. This post isn’t about what we’re going to do about it anyway, lol.
It’s times like these, with all the trials and tribulations, that I try and reflect on all the wonderful things Andrew has brought to our lives. In as much as Andrew’s autism disables him, it also brings such a wonderful outlook on things and it gives him a funny, quirky personality that I just adore.
Things we love about Andrew:
- the way he pops his head up out of the top bunk as I walk by his room in the morning and says “is it time to get up yet?”
- that he will spontaneously come over and tell me he loves me
- how he gets excited when any of his favourite shows come on and can tell you exactly what time they are on, on exactly what channel (in this he is very much like Raymond Babbit, perhaps the only similarity)
- how he takes 15 books to bed with him at night
- how he looks when he is in his own little world, quietly contemplating…something.
- how much he loves his brothers and his sisters
- how he tries to direct everyone’s pretend play (and yeah that can be annoying, but at least his pretend playing!)
- how he makes us laugh with some of the things he comes out with (like the time he came out of his room, in the middle of August, in his Po the Teletubby costume and said, “Amy, don’t I look gorgeous in this?” or when he found out our new house had a garage “Great Mum, now we can have a Garage Sale!”)
- how he often can’t do the things other kids can do, but really doesn’t care because he’s doing his own thing and having fun
- how he’s eager to go anywhere or do anything with you, even if he does end up getting bored halfway through
- how he gets frustrated when he can’t do something, but when he finally gets it, the joy on his face is indescribable
- how he loves to learn something he didn’t know before…and then promptly tells everyone who will listen (and even those who won’t, lol)
- his love of all things artsy…painting, colouring, crafting
- how he loves to sing, but can’t carry a tune in a basket
- how he comes and asks to sit in your ‘other lap’ when you already have a child sitting on you
- his blossoming sense of humour (That’s a joke, isn’t it? You’re joking, right Shane?)
- the twinkle in his eye when he smiles and the pure, unbridled belly laugh when he finds something truly funny
- his love of food…the child who didn’t eat anything, now asks for seconds and always asks “Can you make this again?”
- how he doesn’t care for dessert, but if he can’t have seconds of dinner, watch out!
- how he has taught me that a little love, patience, acceptance can go a long way and that I wouldn’t give up parenting him in a million years.
For all you parents out there, how do you get through those trying days with your kids? If you don’t have kids, how do you get through your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, days? And please don’t tell me that you just move to Australia ;0)