Phew! I have been inundated with autism these past couple of weeks, and it's starting to take its toll. That stupid circa de 1980s Kit Kat commercial has been running through my head at a rapid pace. And, I need another Kit Kat like a hole in the head, thirty pounds that I need go lose.
Everything autism collided at once around here. Working on the blog (which I LOVE) has dragged me back to places I had put away. The emotional toll of that is catching up with me. Digging back through old resources, looking at older photos, and calling up all those memories have made for a very heavy heart for me. Not that I haven't appreciated (and dare I say enjoyed?!?) the journey, of course. But just that those are phases we've already done, and I like that they're done because they were NOT easy or fun.
We're also putting together our annual bake sale to benefit Autism Speaks. We held our first annual last year and raised $746 in three hours! Bigger and better this year, so the story goes. But, MAN! I had forgotten how much work it is to get ready, physically and emotionally. Folks generously donate to the cause and usually have questions about autism or want to share a story or hear ours or they know of someone who needs some help. Blessedly exhausting, I tell you. But, it's tremendously important to this family to fundraise for that organization. We're tired of paying for treatments out-of-pocket that should be covered by our insurance, we remember how much support we needed in the beginning, we realize how lucky we are to have such a mild form of ASD. We will ALWAYS contribute to making the world a better place for families living with autism.
And, 4A has hit the first quarter bump that we experience every year. She coasts the first few weeks, and then she kicks her testing into high drive. Did you really mean that I have to bring that folder every day? Did you really mean that I get a behavioral ticket if I don't listen on the first try? She told her classroom teacher that she didn't really have to do her work without talking unless the teacher said no talking every time. Smart lady that she is, that teacher made 4A an all-the-time no talking work rule. I like this teacher; she catches on quick, and she and 4A have matching wits and smarts. Good fit, which always helps.
4A is in the enrichment reading group, which is where we struggle EVERY YEAR!!! So much struggle. She's got the acuity and intellect to be in there, but she is not a self-starter, as those enrichment readers are want to be. One year, she was labelled a reluctant worker. This year, we've already gotten the "inflexible" label. Sigh. It's so difficult for folks to understand all things Aspie. But, lucky me, I don't have to do it or worry because Dr. Steve is a genius.
And, 4A, as difficult and smart and oppositional as she is, is, at her core, my baby. I love that girl with a fierceness that is different than the way that I love my typical babies. There is a LOT of work and money and time wrapped up in my first baby; we've been through a lot, and not much of it easy, with that one. I too often expect those who work with her to be right up to speed with where we are now. To intuitively know how the Aspie mind works. To know where we've come from and how hard we've worked just to get the basics down. In some ways, it backfires to start early and do a lot of hard work up front. When you go that route, your ASD kid can appear "normal" to folks. While that's the ultimate goal, I suppose, that ASD kid still has that ASD brain even though most of her ASD behaviors have been reduced or managed. Because she has no markings of a disability on the outside, there's an expectation of normalcy. When that normal-looking, -talking, -acting kid displays a true ASD trait or neurological response, there's a lot of frustration and labeling and judging that happens. And, that, then, becomes a head and heart ache for that parent who has been busting his or her ass.
No one's fault of course. And, that's an insanely good and easy problem to have, don't you think?
But, too much is still too much. I feel a bit like 4B who's got his ASD sister at home, sits with a kid who's suspected of having ASD....feels like he can't get away from the damn thing that makes his life such a pain in the ass.
He and I cuddled up after his sisters were asleep last night and read some way-cool boy books and talked about life. I am so grateful and blessed to have all of these babies in my life...the easy ones and the hard ones, the hard times and the easy times. But, that Kit Kat is still soundin' mighty fine.