Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cheeseburgers and Dipolar

I knew that the day would come when my aspie would begin to talk about him having Asperger's.  That day came a few nights ago during a monumental occasion that occurred that made his dad and I very, very proud.  I also knew exactly what to do when that moment would come based on my own experiences thanks to my parents.

I am adopted.  I have known that fact for as long as I can remember.  My parents decided when they adopted me to never keep it a secret; to always make it a non-issue and to let me ask questions about it over the years as I grew and became more curious.  For me, it's was exactly what I needed.  I remember my mom sitting me on the counter when I was around 5 or 6 and telling me that I was special.  I was special because I was a gift like no other because she and dad could not have children, yet another woman was so kind that she gave me to them.  It was called adoption and that they had adopted me.  I remember going to my friend's sleep over that night so excited to tell my friends my new found nugget of information!  They ewww'ed and awwww'ed over it and then we went back to little girl sleep over stuff.  As the year's went on I did have more questions and they were always them answered honestly and respectfully, and I truly appreciate it to this day.  I can't imagine figuring it out later in life or hearing people whisper around me about some family secret.  Instead, we took it on as our truth and would even have a little family laugh when people told us how much I looked like my mom or dad.  So I knew when my aspie started asking questions or would make a comment that my husband and I would do the same thing for our special gift. 

From the many first person books I have read about living with Asperger's this day was going to come sooner than later.  All these books described  people with this syndrome knowing that they were different from other kids as early as they could remember.  Each stated that they played differently, talked differently, or tried desperately to have friends and therefore realized that they themselves were a bit different.  Each of them said that they realized this around the age of 4, so I knew we were right there knocking on the door of self discovery.  This moment occurred with us verbally though the other night when my son drank from a DIFFERENT GLASS than his normal one!!

Sometimes I feel bad for all the parents out there with "neuro-typical" kids.  They miss out on some amazing, joyous occasions that call for cheers and applause.  You see, in a house with a child with autism, the day that your son can put on his shorts on by himself (at the age of 4, 5, 6, 7...), finally pees on the potty (at the age of 4, 5, 6, 7.....), or drinks from a different glass than the only one he could possibly drink from before is a HUGE occasion.  My aspie usually only drinks out of a Minnie mouse glass I got from Disney when I was six or so.  He does not like the textures of other glasses and will use sippy cups other places, but here its this glass.  AND only juice can go in this glass, nothing, and I do mean nothing else.  But the other night, my aspie ate something spicy.  He did it by accident and his mouth was on fire.  He ran into the kitchen and grabbed my glass of lemonade on the counter and didn't even think of the fact that he was drinking out of something different.  When I realized it, I said, "I'm so proud of you!!! You are drinking our of a new glass!!!!"  He stopped, looked, smiled and said, "I'm going to show Daddy!!!"  And with that he went running into the living room to do it for Daddy.  We hooted and cheered and he ran out of lemonade.  We went and got him more and did this a few more times admiring the pride on his face.  On yet another trip to the kitchen for more lemonade, he said, "Mommy, you are a silly dipolar!"  A what?  "A dipolar" he said again.  "Do you mean bipolar?"  I asked.  "Yeah, a dipolar like daddy!"  And with that I knew he was hearing and picking up on what Daddy and I have been talking about.  See, in this house we use these terms all the time.  Between this blog, the Facebook page ( please like...I couldn't resist), and therapy these terms are heard and used all the time.  Seeing my opportunity I asked, "Honey, do you know you are special?"  "Yes, I know, I have Cheeseburgers!"  "Well, it's called Asperger's and yes you do have it.  You know what that means?"  "What?" still squirming with excitement from his new found glass.  I took his face in my hands, looked him in the eye and said, "It means that you are special because you are very smart and can run very fast!! It means that you are a gift to Daddy and I."  "He said, "Can I have another glass of lemonade?"  and with that the moment was over.  But it did show that he does know.  He does hear us talk.  And for right now, that it fine.  As he grows and has more questions, his father and I will answer them honestly and respectfully. 

Thanks Dad for being a great father!  Your special gift now knows exactly what to do with her special gift!!  For that I am "Eternally Grateful"  (from Toy Story 2.) 

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