My three year-old son was born with a heart defect (read about that here), and was diagnosed last summer with autism (read about the diagnosis here). So I fully understand that it’s a challenge, and simple things like getting your son to tell you what he wants can be nearly impossible. At the same time, life with my little special guy is amazing, and I wanted to share a few of the special things as well as a few laughs with you.
1. At least one of my kids is quiet in the car.
Jac is calmed by sitting in the car, feeling it rumble as we drive along. His version of sensory processing disorder results in him enjoying almost all varieties of movement. While my daughter is trying to hijack the conversation between my husband and I, and my youngest son constantly screams, “Mama! Mama! Estygujnlgdfjojfjklkfdfg”, Jac is peacefully gazing out the window. Most of the time.
Jac having SPD (most kids with autism have it) means he has strong preferences for certain types of food. Other kids might outgrow their inclination to eat a certain type of food, but Jac’s been digging yogurt for a few years now. Imagine how healthy his immune system is. Of course, the downside is that cleaning it off the floor, walls, and radiator isn’t fun, but that’s with any type of food, anyway.
3. I get some serious eye contact, smiles, and cuddles from this guy.
Sometimes I think he withholds his affection from almost everyone in the world just so he can save it for me. He totally makes me feel like a million bucks. My oldest is pretty lovey dovey, my youngest, well, I’m lucky if he lets me hold him for more than a few seconds, and forget about getting a kiss from that guy!
4. He’s totally buff for a three year old.
I blame autism. Jac is working on his six pack and has well-defined calves and shoulders. He gets it from swimming on the floor, something that he does to regulate himself when he needs extra sensory input. My youngest actually sits on him while he does this. He also has a little excited happy-dance he does where he stands on his toes. Hello, calf muscles! Of course, his superb fitness works against me when I’m trying to prevent him from running away to Mexico.
5. He doesn’t talk my ear off.
Granted, there are times that I would give anything to hear him say words that express his needs instead of screaming and crying, but his sister talks so much constantly that my brain is doing jumping jacks trying to answer her in a way that she knows I’m paying attention, while I’m wiping the yogurt off the walls and sending grant applications to foundations. So I actually don’t mind sometimes that the sounds coming out of his mouth are just fun sounds and not words that he’s expecting me to answer.
Now I’m not exactly a Victoria’s Secret model over here, but chasing him down while he ignores my request to “come here” in conjunction with wrestling my actual toddler, keeps my sweets addiction from turning me into the Pillsbury dough boy.