It seems a strange thing to be grateful for, but I’m thankful both boys are on the spectrum. Not every day. But most days.
Weird, right? But I get good things in twos:
Both boys love to slam each other on the ground, on each other, on the bed. They love the pressure of their daily matches, and neither one complains that the other is being too rough. That’s because short of a puncture wound, it feels good to both of them to be hit and squished. If I’m out of ideas, I can always look at them and say, “Go wrestle.”
I have double the material for my writing, and have to carry a notebook with me to keep up with their observations:
“Grace, where we’re going, we’re going to need a torch.”
“Grace, you can’t wear that to a street fight.”
“Noah, I have a booger and I’m not afraid to use it.”
They talk about the things they love in a remarkable stream of words that I can only describe as one part obsessed, one part eloquent, and one part enigma. When they want to talk, they talk in the most striking, beautiful ways.
The grocery shopping is easier. Aside from the bill that sends me into apoplexy every week (and this is how often I have to shop – even when I think I’m shopping for two weeks – because they are either hiding food in their rooms, or they are in training as competitive eaters), I know exactly what I can and cannot buy. No Cheetos or cheese puffs. No rice. Yogurt is ok, but not for Jesse. Strawberries and apples are acceptable, bananas and blueberries are not. Grape jelly only, plenty of tuna, smooth peanut butter, and at least 3 gallons of milk. Predictability means I’m usually in and out in under 30 minutes.
Animals are a wonderful distraction, and a great love for both the boys. Noah and Jesse love their dogs. They love watching animal shows, visiting other kids’ animals, going to the zoo, to the barn. This, again, is a great source of preoccupation for them, and a smidge of peace for me. Although I have to say it can sometimes present with hairy complications.
Two weeks ago, Matt went downstairs to wake the kids for school and found Noah missing. He ran through the house, and even outside. Noah is prone to wander and to hide. This is something he finds funny, despite the fact that we don’t. Where was he this morning? Laying in the crate with Zelda. Not on the floor. Not next to the crate. In. The. Crate. Thank God she loves him, too.
They both love football (see wrestling, above). They have much to talk about between each other. This helps me, because I can only listen to how Marshawn Lynch is the League’s best running back for so long. With both of them adhered to this belief, I get it in stereo.
Noah and Jesse sleep together. By this I mean, in the same room AND the same bed. This works out perfectly because they both hate sleeping alone. They love the darkness, but need to feel the pressure of someone else next to them. I don’t know how they manage this in a twin bed. We wake them in the morning to find them mashed side by side, both heads falling off the respective sides of their beds.
My boys, they present me with pairs and parallels. They comfort each other, torture each other, hit each other, converse with one another. They play their tablets side-by-side, bend their heads over their PlayStation controllers, they wrestle together and jumble themselves together in the same bed when at the end of the day, all I can think is, “If anyone touches me, they’re going to lose a hand.”
I am blessed like this. They are high functioning enough that I joke with Matt that their individual shares of “disability” really only amount to one full challenge, rather than two. I love them so. I am content in my circumstances. They are like all other boys, but better. I would not change them for all the world.
I get more than I deserve. Double, in fact.
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This post originally appeared at www.chosenfamilies.org
Sarah Parshall Perry
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