Funny thing, time.
As a parent, you quickly realise that you have very little control over time. You find yourself wishing it away, then wishing it was back. You sit down for what seems like five minutes but realise you’ve wasted a day. You try to find any activity to keep your kids interested, and realise it only kept them busy for two minutes. Yes, time seems to be the one thing you never have control over. And socks. Always the socks. I don’t know where they go, or why only one of a pair disappear, but Ned never has socks for longer than five minutes. It’s like our house is a Bermuda triangle for infant foot wear.
So, that being said, what’s been happening?
A lot would be my most accurate answer. First and foremost, we’re having another baby. Due in November, and it’s a boy. It feels odd announcing Claire’s pregnant now that’s she’s six months gone, but I feel as if I should ‘announce’ it. Poor second child, alreading slipping into the stereotype. I promise I’ll blog about you just as much as your Brother (I can’t promise that, I’m really busy, but what do you know? you’re not even born yet). We’re happy, excited, but a little bit calmer than the last time we got ourselves into this situation – some might say lazy, and I’d contest that (if I could be bothered).
Now I’d like to tell you about Ned.
If you know him or read about him, you’ll know he’s a wonderful, happy, hilarious child who literally lights up my life every time I see his big goofy face. He’s unique (as all parents say about their own) and I wouldn’t change him for the world.
Since he could walk, and since he started developing his own little personality, there have been a few times we’ve looked at each other in regard to a few ‘quirks’ he’s always had – the fun ones such as his habit of tensing when overly excited or his fascination with mundane objects such as cleaning products, or his amazing aptitude for technology and motion. There have been times, however, where some of the quirks haven’t been as fun – in fact, some were a bit concerning. His terrible sleep patterns, or his delay in speech, or the fact he doesn’t point, or the issues around social interaction with kids his age (he doesn’t do it) – it came to a point where we were concerned enough to see a health visitor, who referred us fairly quickly for an ASD assessment. To those who don’t know, it’s basically (very basically) a test for Autism.
Recently, Ned had that test. The wonderful doctor told us it took her all of ten seconds to come to the conclusion that yes, Ned, our beautiful boy, was Autistic. I felt a pang in my stomach as I held Claires hand – The only feeling I can compare it to is the feeling you get when you discover you’re in trouble – big trouble – That pit of your stomach, clenching, prickly sick feeling when your hearing briefly becomes dulled, you feel the colour drain from your face, and your mind goes blank. It’s hard to come to terms with. Your mind races – you think of everything that might change – you wonder if it’s your fault, you wonder why it’s happened to your son, who doesn’t even know that anythings different, and the fear for his future and a normal life grip you like a fucking living nightmare –
– Then you look down, and see him – your boy, the same boy from ten seconds ago, sat on the floor, smiling away as he opens and closes a piece of dollhouse furniture, and you forget.
You forget that anythings changed because nothing has. You banish thoughts of why, how or what you’re going to do next because none of it really matters. All that’s changed is you realise that the worry that was niggling the back of your brain been identified – as early as it could possibly be, meaning we can work on making sure he gets the best help as early as possible. He is still Ned, and will always be Ned.
The breakdown was that his terrible sleeping patterns, his social delays and other quirks are all linked to his Autism. He seems to have an aptitude for technology and mechanisms – my best description would be that if you gave Ned a toy that was a door with a picture of an animal behind it, Ned would be more excited about the way the door opens and closes instead of the ‘reward’ of an exciting character behind it. We’ve been told to focus on the things he loves, and use that as the compass for teaching and his development, and were pointed to apps on the phone/tablet that will help him in these fields.
The doctor said that he has a lot going for him – the fact that he’ll make eye contact with you, the fact that hes so damn happy (both issues that can affect severely Autistic children) are great points working on his side, and we should do everything we can to ensure that he’s as happy as he is – and always has been. The doctor also says that currently he’s one of the easier ones – which is reassuring. But anything can change. He can change, and we need to prepare for it. There’s so much to learn, plan for and do that its difficult to not explode, but when I worry, when the pit of my stomach reminds me how it feels, I look up, I see that wonderful, beautiful, fantastic child with the almost permanent smile and i think to myself – Its going to be fine.
So, hopefully this means I’m back in a semi permanent capacity, posting every few weeks about my son(s), my wife and my life.
Sorry about the delay, I just haven’t had the socks.