When Autism Torpedos
Yesterday looked like it was going to be a good day. We had a good breakfast. William and I played an intense game of Memory while mommy and Margaret got dressed for church.
Church seemed to go well…he sat still and paid attention during the service and apparently did well with his “Shepherd” so that’s always a good thing.
Yesterday evening we were invited by another family to be their guests at a local country club to swim. This was going to be a good day!
William LOVES the water. Gone are the days when he’d freak out in the water. Gone are the days when our heads would constantly be on a swivel trying to pay attention to the person we were talking to but really (mostly) paying attention to where William was swimming. Gone are the days when we have to explain to William how he needs to stand in line patiently and not cut in front of all the other children in the diving board line.
This was going to be a good day!
And it started out that way…William couldn’t wait to get in the pool. He loves the water. I think back to the early swim school he went through…then the times when he wouldn’t even get in the water…then the 1 hour I would drive him and Margaret and the $$$ that we would spend for private indoor swim lessons just to make sure he’d be semi-comfortable around pools. Oh the memories…but they’re fading fast as I see him jump into the pool and splash around and go down the slide without hesitation and off the diving board like a pro.
I even chuckled to myself as I saw William swim up to a pack of older girls…maybe in their pre-teens!!! He didn’t say anything but I could tell he wanted their attention. He had no hesitation to just swim amongst them…not sure they even noticed him–BUT you know what–what they didn’t notice was that he had autism.
For a brief moment I saw a 9-year-old boy interested in little girls…there was some typical-ness there that gave me hope.
Then it happened…he lost a torpedo.
Last year William became fascinated with these little rubber torpedoes that zig-and-zag through the water. He LOVES them. He would toss them and dive for them over and over and over last year. And this year would be no different.
He has accumulated four colored torpedoes since last year…two green, one orange and one purple.
One thing you have to understand about William’s “brand” of autism is that it comes with a pretty high level of OCD…the kid knows things that most people wouldn’t. He knows when you got a haircut, new shoes, are driving a different direction to a location…he pays attention.
And sure enough, after we had swam and eaten and played with torpedoes…he was missing two of them!
“WHERE’S THE TORPEDO?!”…over and over and over…”DADDY…HELP YOU FIND TORPEDO…!” Louder and louder and louder.
You see the angst on his face. It’s like you just ran over his dog in front of him.
We’re talking about a freaking rubber $0.99 toy for crying out loud….
But it just continued…”TORPEDO…TORPEDO…TORPEDO!”
But it was no where to be found. Didn’t matter what we did, what we said or who said it…the evening was O-V-E-R.
Our friends graciously sat there while we did our best to soothe him. We tried our “tricks” and responses to distract or ignore…it didn’t work.
We left thinking, “well…we’ll never get invited back there again…” But I know that’s not true. Our friends are loving and understanding and they’ve seen this kind of stuff before and they still want to be around us.
It just SUCKS…I saw a 9-year-old boy try to flirt with girls…then I saw a 9-year-old boy completely fall apart and not able to recover because something in his world wasn’t orderly and understandable.
And I just hurt.
To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”. Or find them on YouTube. To contact TheFowler4 Group email: [email protected]