Monday, April 23, 2012

Loving My Square Peg

"Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg."

                                                                                                                                            -Paul Collins

Kiddo was born 15 weeks prematurely, so there has never been a time that I can say that parenthood has been easy, but rather different degrees of challenging. To ease my mind, I have always believed that parenting is difficult for every mother and father. Within the challenges of being a young parent are the rewards that you reap; watching your young child learn to walk or hear his or her first words or maybe playing with their toys that is unless, of course they don’t.

When kiddo was younger, I longed for the days that he would start to talk calling me by name or telling me what he wanted to drink or eat. By the time he was 18 months, those words had not developed and I started to use sign language when he began hurting himself in frustration. Kiddo learned to walk at nearly two years of age, considerably delayed in comparison t his peers. He also never engaged in imaginary play, one of many social milestones that I ignored for a very long time. He could have died when he was born but instead was happy and healthy, social milestones could have been the last thing I was considering.
Our medical issues worsened during his early years of life resulting in many hospitalizations, discharges, surgery and recovery. Should a child have to go through so much so young simply to survive? I can still see kiddo’s eyes burning into me as he screamed being strapped to yet another examination table for another study to try to help him; a time when the nurses told me that it was probably best that I remain out of the room for procedures so he didn’t relate “mom” to pain. I never left his side.

As a mother there is one thing I never thought I would have to be prepared for though: stretching out to soothe my child’s pain, emotional or physical only to feel the recoil to my touch. When is a mother’s touch painful?

I have to remember, it has nothing to do with me, I did not do anything wrong to elicit this reaction. My son has Asperger’s and it is who he is. His recoil is not a reflection of the love that I give or what is received, it is however a reflection of his perception of the world and how he fits into it. There are times when he will come to me and give me a short and quick hug, but those touches are on his terms. I know I should simply be happy that I do get those and know that he loves me as I love him. I remind myself this every time… but it doesn’t make it hurt less when he pulls away from me as I try to love him. 

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