My husband and I didn’t really talk about Little bear when he arrived home from his trip on Friday late afternoon. I was excited because of the progress I’d seen from working so hard with him. He was answering to his name one in five times (twice as often as before), he was pointing to a few different items in books, and he was making eye contact a little more often. The world seemed rosy on Friday night.
Then today happened.
Little bear was cranky the entire day. He woke up early, went to nap late, and we had to wake him up around 5:30 so he wouldn’t sleep into the night. He didn’t want to be apart from mama, but neither did his brother and it was just a non-stop day of fighting and arguing between them.
We finally got them to bed around 8 and my husband and I sat down in the bedroom and pulled out our external hard-drive. Big bear had been speech delayed, so we wanted to see where he was a few weeks before his second birthday. He’s close to normal now – he has a few quirks, but nothing hugely concerning.
We watched for about half an hour. Big bear was saying about 4 words with regularity at two, which is about on par with Little bear. There were differences, however, that cannot be ignored.
Big bear’s words were: mama, dada, gata, caca.
Little bear’s words are: ball, bye-bye, leche, all done, up, beh-beh (used when mama or dada leaves)
Big bear’s words were words that communicated with the living beings in his circle. Little bear’s are things he likes or things that get stuff done.
The other difference was saw was the communication with us. Big bear constantly looks back at the camera for approval. Little bear just does his own thing. He rarely searched for approval. This sealed the deal for my husband and I.
We hugged. We cried. We did what-ifs. We talked about scenarios. We talked about treatments. We blamed each other. We blamed ourselves. We blamed the world. We cried some more.
Then Little bear woke up. I just held him and cried for another ten or fifteen minutes. We tried reading with him and the problems were so obvious that we would have to be blind to ignore them.
Little bear is autistic.
He isn’t untreatable. He isn’t suffering in his surroundings. He’s just trapped in his mind more often than not. We’re just here knocking on the door, hoping he’ll answer, even if it’s just for a few precious moments.
We put him back to sleep. He wanted his mommy and papi to be with him. It breaks my heart that my son wants me to be with him all the time, but he can never come out completely to be with me.
It just isn’t fair. But then, no disease is fair and no parent should ever have to go through this type of pain with their child.
All I want is for my son to be independent and happy. That’s all. I hope, as a mother, I can give that to him.