Sunday, August 7, 2011

Explaining Autism to a sibling.

"Mommy, I don't like when she screams."

I feel myself flinch. I don't want to have this conversation. They are 3 1/2 years old. They are too young to realize the differences.

"Mommy, uuuuggggghhhhhh! Why does she do 'GRRRRRR'?"

My heart twists as I hear Baby's speech impediment. She doesn't realize that speaking in a whisper is inappropriate but she realizes that the CEO's grunting is not quite right.

I don't know what to say so I ignore it. "That's just her Baby, that's just who she is."

Two weeks later...

"Mommy, I don't like CEO. She's weird."

My cheeks and ears flush. This can't happen. I know the world may not be kind of some of the markers but our home is a safe haven.

"Sweetie, everyone is different. Some people cry a lot like Bugabuga. Some people scream. Some people don't speak and some people sing all the time. We love everyone because we're all God's babies and God doesn't make mistakes, okay?"

"Okay, Mom."

Three weeks later...

"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!" I hear Handsome cry in the next room.

"MOMMY! CEO is hurting Handsome! I'm scared of CEO."

I break-up a squabble over plastic horses.

"I mad!" CEO yells. I am so proud of her! She's expressing emotions. This is such a huge milestone. We've been working on this for years already. I control my expression but I want to dance with joy.

I turn to Baby. "Listen!" No eye contact, I make her look at me. "Listen, look at me! CEO has a hard time sometimes. Sometimes things are too loud or there are too many colors. Sometimes, she wants to be alone. You like to get quiet sometimes, right? Well, she likes to scream. It makes her feel better. No matter what, we can be mad, sad, angry or happy-we ALWAYS, ALWAYS love our family."

"Baby, CEO has Autism. So do you, Bugabuga and Handsome. Your brother and sisters are your best friends, always. We are always a team, no matter what, we love each other no matter what. If you think we're weird, we can be and that's okay. Everyone can be weird. Weird makes things fun, okay. Mommy and Daddy love everyone NO MATTER WHAT. Tell me what you think."

"Mommy and Daddy love me no matter what. I love my sisters and brother no matter what. We do weird sometimes and that's fun no matter what."

"That sounds about right, Baby Girl. No matter what."

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