Saturday, January 19, 2013


I was in Wally World the other day (I swear I only shop there because I literally cannot get any father to get anything. Either it's a case of no money, or a case of no energy...Walmart is a block away from my house), and I saw Steven's second preschool teacher (between moving and re-zoning of school districts, he's had four). We didn't recognize each other at first, but when we did, lots of hugs and exclamations went round. I showed her a picture of him, and we marveled at how much he's grown. I still shake my head when I see pictures of him from even a year ago. The baby cheeks are gone, even though the cherubic face remains. A head full of wild russet curls replaces the semi-baldness. His chinquapin eyes twinkle with expressiveness, and he's as sarcastic as his mama. How he manages to do that without speaking, I do not know...but he does it.

This teacher is the reason why my son is so sociable now. She's the reason why he will reach out and shake hands with people; Steven was very afraid of interaction with others prior to entering preschool. Now he has friends, both at school and in our neighborhood. He plays with kids on the spectrum as well as neurotypical kids. Other children just love him, and I hope and pray that his gregariousness carries him all the way through school. I have told people many times that I do not treat Steven like he is disabled, because that is not the mindset that I want him to have. There have been (and will be) many times when I have stepped back and let him fall, not because I am cruel, but because I want Steven to understand that he has it within him to get up on his own. When my son steps in front of me to do something for himself, I feel so happy. One day I will not be here, and due to the fact that few people around us truly understand him, who will care for him when I'm gone?

He will, that's who. And even at the age of 4, still half-potty trained and non-verbal, he knows it.

I am so grateful for Steven's teachers. All of them. From the first one who came to me to suggest that he enter the Preschool Autism Class, to every teacher he has had since then. Why don't we pay our teachers the same as doctors? Teachers create doctors; the learning has to begin somewhere. What I see in my son I could not possibly have achieved on my own. And with each step taken, I rejoice.

The other morning, as we began our ritual of kisses and cuddles, I bid him good morning. I got a tiny "good morning" in reply. He gives smart-aleck answers at times to my mother's questions (which fills me with glee). He feeds himself with a spoon, can dress himself with minimal assistance (though he can be lazy about it), and pretty much has the potty ritual down. I think one day I'm just going to buy him regular underwear...and buy myself a mop and some Lysol for that weekend. I think he's ready.

When the doctor first said "autism", I had no idea what to expect. I surely didn't expect what I see in him today, not after going home and finding out that my little one exhibited all of the behaviors associated with autism, with the exception of two (which he ended up adopting later). Sure life can be difficult at times, but I truly and honestly believe I have a little prodigy on my hands. I'm not saying that because I'm his mother, I'm saying that because this kid is smarter than me. He just shows it in a different way.

You go, little guy. Mama loves you to distraction.

1 comment:

  1. girl when he grows up and reads this he will truly know what an amazing momma he has:) love the line "teachers make doctors"!!!! couldn't have said it better....