It has recently come to my attention that my oversensitivity to those words may be because there’s not a thing age appropriate about this child- even less so as the years go by, and being told that his interests or his needs or his behaviors don’t meet those specifications is being told that he is not the same as everyone else. He’s not typical. He is different. He is abnormal. Even for a child that is autistic. That I should be doing everything I can to make him more age appropriate. More typical. More normal. Because he’s not good enough as he is. I should be ashamed that I am not working hard enough to potty train him, make him eat with a fork, make him walk nice, make him use his words, make him play with toys that a 10 year old plays with- don’t give him what he wants because what he wants isn’t right.
I’m standing in the toy section in Wal-Mart, planted right in front of the toys labeled 6-36mos, and I see a woman off to my right. She’s looking at toys. and I wonder who she is looking for. Is she looking for toys for a child in the age group listed on the box? I think of who I’m buying for and I feel a little bit bad, a little bit sad until a thought smacks me upside the back of my head… I wasn’t thinking of who I was buying for, I was thinking of the dream that was. Not my son. My precious boy.
When I thought of my Alex, suddenly, I’m right back where I should be. I’m not doing this. I’m not going to feel guilty. This is his life. He is who he is and he is perfect. Who gives a crap what he wants? what he likes? “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” This is my son. I make the decisions for him. and if I want to give him what he wants, well, then, I’m damned well going to give him what he wants. It doesn’t need to be age appropriate, it needs to be Alex appropriate. He sets his own bar. He beats his own drum. Anyone who can’t see the beauty in the rhythm he taps out… well, that’s their problem. There’s not a thing wrong with him, not a blessed thing that I need to change. Alex is Alex and I like him just so.
I knew what he wanted. What was appropriate for him. I smiled and started choosing things I know he will love no matter what anyone else thinks.