I’m sitting in My Boy’s room while he’s at the store with Daddy and I’m struck. I’m in the process of a long overdue purge. Between his birthday and Christmas we have stuff coming out of the seams of our small house. So much stuff.
The sheer amount of belongings in and of themselves are striking but that’s not what made stop purging, grab the laptop, and sit on my boys bed to write. No it’s how far we’ve come and how long we were stuck.
I’m looking at piles and piles of toys he never played with. How we over bought and thought we were just spoiling him because we had the means. In hind sight we were trying to find something, anything he would actually play with. Cars and trucks untouched. Stuffed animals hugged once and then forgotten. Little people, alphabet toys used only to sing the songs or make the noises but nothing else. We knew something was different but brushed it off, in hindsight it’s glaring.
I’m looking at a pile of board books heavily read and loved well past their time. Touch and feel. Simple sentences. Bright pictures taking up the whole page. Baby and toddler books read well into preschool. We missed the sign that other kids were moving on.
It’s hard not to get caught in the missed signs, the missed opportunity to help him at a younger age. I’m trying to get passed that and stay in the present because while it’s not always easy, the here, the now, with My Boy,(who insists he’s no longer a baby, or even a little kid, but a big kid) is pretty great.
Right now I am accepting the past and I’m looking at the toys we’re keeping. The things that are well loved right now. Many are even age appropriate. Maybe, honestly I don’t know what age appropriate actually looks like. However, his current toys are making my heart soar. The emerging skills in drawing and playing. The joy he gets from PLAYING. It’s amazing.
Today he drew a rectangle with some scribbles on his MagnaDoodle. The same one he’s had for a couple years. The one we’ve shown him letters and numbers on but he only had interest in coloring the whole thing black. He told me today’s picture is his bed and showed me that the top circle is his pillow. Amazing!
Some of his favorite clothes are his dress up clothes. He often pops his head out of quiet time to ask me to button or untwist something. If I ask if he’s a fire man he says “yes…I’m just pretending”
He likes his Legos and action figures and is starting to pretend play with them, even making them talk. He takes care of a baby doll feeding, burping, and wrapping it in a blanket. His books are more complex. Not quite more words than pictures yet but still paragraphs that build on each other instead of single simple sentences. He can tell you what happens and subtle little details about plot and the emotions. If it’s a book he’s already read he anticipates the next page with impatient glee.
He’s making progress. When times are hard I need to remind myself of that. I have to believe, even in this time when some people are erroneously equating autism with violence and it seems like there is much to fear, my boy is going to be just fine! Great even!