i asked him not to come until he was ready -- the trauma of his sister's early arrival still hanging over my heart -- and he ventured forth on exactly his due date.
i wrote him a letter a few days after he was born, as i'd done for his sister before him, and in it i named him my 'child of peace'.
as an infant, where his sister had screamed bloody murder for the first five months and torn my soul into tatters, he smiled a lot and loved to be cuddled.
he was exactly what i needed to heal my heart; to show me that perhaps i wasn't such a failure after all.
when he turned a year, he didn't delight in the party we gave him the way most yearlings do -- basking in the adoration of his family and friends who all waited expectantly for that Kodak moment of cake-smearing and a first taste of ice-cream.
instead he screamed until i swooped him away to a quiet place -- just he and i and the silence.
after that, any attempt at going out was near impossible. at the grocery store he'd scream if anyone looked at him...when he got bigger and was walking, he'd lie down in the aisle and cry until i picked him up and took him out.
eventually, we rearranged things so he wouldn't have to go out in public.
naturally, everyone thought there was something *wrong* with him.
"he must be autistic, you should have him tested"
i ignored them, but secretly researched autism in the dark of the night when everyone slept. in the depths of my mama's heart - that place where you really Know - i knew there was nothing wrong with this magical boy who loved so fiercely and whose eyes crackled with sparks of joy every time he smiled.
when he was 19 months old and not talking i did have him assessed -- only to be sure there was no physical reason for him not doing the usual babbling and chattering. all that was fine, but the speech pathologist insisted he needed 'intervention' and put him on a waiting list. they finally called when he was three but we had never needed it. she told me how to direct his play and encourage him to make noises with his trains and animals. i knew that would never fly, he was always very intense -- yes, he lined them up in fine autist fashion -- obsessing over making sure they were just-so -- there was no way he'd allow me to join in uninvited and i certainly couldn't be the one driving the bus! so i nodded and smiled and thanked her...and took my perfect child home. we never had trouble communicating...if he wanted a sandwich, he'd bring us a loaf of bread and the jar of peanut butter. we learned how to communicate without speech.
from about 10 months of age onwards, his sleep patterns were governed by the phases of the moon. he is restless and wakeful prior to both the New and the Full....it's easier now because he's old enough to entertain himself while one of us dozes -- he falls asleep when he's ready. trying to regiment that has never been successful -- forcing an early 'bedtime' means he's awake at 3am and raring to go. eventually, he taught us to honour his cycle.
he's 6 now. he's not a typical 6 year old boy and going places and doing certain things still involves a degree of challenge. he doesn't always transition well and immerses himself deeply and intensely in activities -- he sucks the marrow dry before he moves onto the next thing -- apparently 6 year old boys aren't supposed to to that -- so typical 'groups' and activities don't fit our style. we can't take part in structured activities -- but really, who's to say that's the only way, anyway? he opened the door to unschooling -- and we gladly walked through it.
i still find myself at odds with Common Belief -- that he should have had speech therapy; that he should be forced to do this, that and the other; that he should be expected to behave in a certain way in certain situations. and in the moments that i wonder if maybe everyone else is right and i'm the one who's wrong -- for stubbornly defending this child's right to be his own person -- i remember everything he's taught me; i remember how he has challenged everything i thought i knew about parenting and the world; how i've had to stretch further and harder to meet his needs -- all of which he has the Divine right to have taken care of....by the simple truth that he Is. and when i remember these things i remember that he's perfect.
every child is born Perfect
it is not our job as parents and adults to mold these children into our own ideal of what they should be. if you look around -- even in the so-called Positive Parenting movement, the subtle signs of manipulation are there. well-meaning, i've no doubt -- but designed to funnel development along a prescribed route. most of us may have unknowingly done that -- i was doing it with Savannah until her brother showed me that it could be different.
that it could be so much different. and that we'd be all the better for his gifts.
i have a hard time, still, sharing my boy-child -- he defies definition...describing a day with him would be beyond difficult. but i've realized recently, that my decision not to share him is based in fear. i feel tremendously protective of him...and fiercely defend him and his right to be himself....and i'm afraid -- afraid that he will be judged, that he will be seen as somehow Less....simply because he drums his own rhythm.
and sometimes i'm afraid that i've got it all wrong and that i've failed him in my own stubbornness and blind love.
and so, again, it comes down to a matter of faith. and trust. and the ferocious love i have for my boy -- and a belief that, as he has always done, he will show me the way and somehow, some way, i will simply Know.
and this....i first saw via the lovely Stephanie...and it made me cry -- sweet happy tears -- and now you know why...