There is nothing worse than feeling frustrated with situations that fall completely out of your grasp. Recently I found out my baby boy is autistic. We had to meet a bunch of specialists and fill out these questions about him. I’ve been in the preschool teaching game for over a decade and seven of those years with kids three and under. I know the signs as a teacher. You notice things a child does differently than the others. And I did notice with him. But boys do things at a different speed then girls. So I wasn’t worried. Not really. Well, maybe a little. A lot of the signs of children on the spectrum can also be seen as typical behaviors. Like categorizing toys by size and color. Repeating certain words and not being clear with them. I knew what bothered my son and what didn’t. It would be fine going forward right? Then I started reading pamphlets and websites and began to worry more. It’s like when you have a small ache that hasn’t gone away for a while and you go on Dr. Google and see what it could be. Suddenly after ten minutes of research, you find out you’re dying of some rare disease that only .5% of people ever got in the history of Earth. These sites began talking about the signs and then I am reading about if he needs adult care and how to live with your autistic child forever. I imagined him at fifty and us barely moving thanks to our barely functioning bodies. How could I care for my grown son when my own shit was a struggle to live with? What happens when I’m sick and he needs me? I am already crawling half the day from my endo.
I am in full panic mode after reading this stuff. We don’t know yet what level (if that’s how they measure) he is. I don’t know if he will do well in school all day. I sit with him now, his pale cheeks spotted with bits of dried muffin and he is happy. He is watching videos about dinosaurs and he is naming them all along with colors and shapes, numbers and animals. He loves other kids and he hugs us and yells out “family hugs!” He jumps with excitement when he sees his older sister and they play legos together. I see him as just GG, my middle baby and happy boy. What if some asshole kid with his yellow-toothed punk friends picks on him? What if he hates himself because he is “different”? What if some shitty teacher targets him and flunks him all the time because he learns differently than other kids? My husband and I sometimes dread these scenarios that, of course, have never happened yet. But my mind is on its own, creating this world that may never occur. And I’ve been a parent for a while now and a teacher for a long time. I know this is just how our minds work. All I want to do is protect my kids from anyone who will ever do them harm. I can only wait which sucks 100%. Until then I can watch him enjoy his little life, his love of snuggles and dinosaurs and hope everything will work out.