While it may seem as if I have fully accepted the almost diagnosis for my son, I truly haven't. I'm in the "survive or die" stage of acceptance, and it isn't an easy one to be in. For all you mothers, parents and caregivers out there who are in this stage, you are not alone.
My son, to me, is the most perfect and beautiful little boy I could possibly imagine. I couldn't imagine him being any other way, but the way he is is frustrating, disheartening and even a little depressing. When my boy came into this world, I thought he couldn't be more perfect. I didn't realize that things could turn up that weren't according to my perfect plan. There were signs along the way that something wasn't quite right, but I passed them off as "my cute boy being cute." I have already mentioned how he was a late babbler. He also has some severe texture and sound aversions. If there was any kind of loud noise he would scream and cry for 5 minutes at a time. He hated to feel grass on his bare skin and would cry at the slightest touch. He didn't like carpet, dry beans, rice, cold water (he still hates this), towels, fleece and dog fur. He has gotten much better now, mostly because I have forced him, within limits, to touch the things he hated so much. There are still times when he has a fit over a loud noise or odd texture, but not nearly how he was 9 months ago. He also refused to engage socially with strangers and he was very VERY difficult to amuse. He would smile slightly while the baby next door was laughing and giggling away. When you did get a laugh out of him, you had to consider yourself very lucky. I waved this off by saying "he just saves his smiles for the best jokes." Of course there was some truth to that, but it was also a sign, that now makes perfect sense. Not that I would have run out and gotten him into therapy. I don't think I realized that there was therapy available for such young infants. Knowing what I know now, if we were to notice the same signs in my daughter, I would certainly call an Occupational therapist for an evaluation. After all, the earlier we can catch the problem, the earlier we can find a solution and help our kids get the most out of life. And isn't that our goal as parents anyway?
I guess I just wanted to say, I have good days and bad days. Some days I do really well and I am patient with my son. Other days I am ready to cry at any moment, lost in the fact that my son is not a "normal" boy. And even other days I am ready to scream and yell and punch things and go absolutely crazy. Those days are the worst, and they happen less and less as I learn to accept things as they are. Something that has helped me is trying to figure out what I can learn from this challenging experience. Patience is a big one. Also, love and acceptance. I look at others with disabilities in a much MUCH different way than I did before my son had any problems. I have nieces and nephews with similar issues, so I haven't been blind to the possibility. Still, nothing can prepare you to accept that your own child has the problems you have observed in others and quietly either under your breath or in your mind you've mumbled judgmental comments at he parents. "Maybe if you gave that child a little discipline he wouldn't be that way." You know you've done it. Everyone does. Somehow every parent of a fit-throwing child is a terrible parent, until it's you and suddenly the control you so boasted to yourself that you would never ever under any circumstances lose, is lost with no hope of returning to you. That is the reality and the horror. As a control-freak and a parent (a deadly combination) I still have difficulty accepting that I cannot stop my son from throwing every fit or creating every problem that he might create. There will be times when I cannot keep him from breaking things or causing bloody noses, but I can try, and you had better believe as long as I live and breathe I will be trying to teach him not to throw fits or tantrums and not to throw undeserving punches. You can see I'm already looking far into the future, can't you?
So, all you up-tight, control-freakish, anal parents, unite with me in the quest for the unreachable carrot that is "perfect child." Good luck!