Something To THINK About: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism
Charlie got in a full night's sleep on Sunday and, Monday morning, he and I had a cheery ride to the Big Autism Center, even with a brief turnaround after a few blocks when I realized that I had forgotten to give him his medications.At school, he got right out of the car and, when I picked him up several hours later, right back into the car, again cheerily. He didn't say anything about going into a gas station convenience store that (when he gets me to drive past it) he usually wants to stop in. As we neared home, I mentioned that a friend who'd visited us regularly last summer would be visiting; five minutes later, Charlie said her name a couple of times. He was (I'll opine) shy on seeing her and, after asking her to carry up some of his blankets to his room, took a 1 1/2 hour nap. She and I had a very nice talk and Charlie got up just as she had to leave. We said good-bye and Charlie and I set off on a walk at the end of which we passed a neighbor walking his dog, Julie; when Charlie simply kept on walking, our neighbor noted that Charlie usually runs away in fear.
Jim was home when we got back and Charlie immediately asked for his helmet, and off they went (as depicted in the photo above—one of many such photos I've taken over the years. I must admit). Charlie pedaled unusually slowly and, at one point, started crying. Jim and I both speculated 'stomach ache??' and were both proved right once Charlie and Jim came back. After a shower Charlie had a late dinner and used the computer before going to bed around 10.30pm.
Yes, yet another day in our life, and a fairly quiet one.
I'm good with that, with days without any bells or whistles, any 'excitement' or anything extraordinary. We've had plenty of days like that, many of those days on which difficult neurological storm (typhoonish-level) sort of stuff has occurred. Days when I feel like I've nothing much to write here about are days that I'm glad for: They're days when we've managed to keep the peaceful-easy going; when there's a general serenity, with a nod to that word's Latin root, serenus, an adjective describing a clear blue, cloudless sky (which was the actual state of the sky here on Monday, somewhat apparent at the top of my photo).
I guess writing about one serene day after another would make for boring blog reading. I was reflecting on this, on some of the more hair-raising and wrenching experiences I've documented here, and it occurred to me, I'm not sure I would have wanted to read about some of these sorts of things when Charlie was younger; when Charlie was just-diagnosed. Just a few days ago I wrote that, when Charlie was a preschooler, I don't think I would have wanted to hear how hard adolescence has been for him. I'm not sure what I would make of some of our, um, 'adventures' if I were just-introduced to life as the parent of a child on the autism spectrum.
On a mundane note (and since I'm not teaching this month), I've plans to do some blog-upkeep here in the form of adding some explanatory material about this blog and our family, as well as links to websites, blogs, other resources of autism and disability, books and the like (in the midst of some other things that need to Get Done, or at least need to be attempted before July and summer school teaching and freshman orientation and advising get underway).
And on a significantly less mundane, and even simply, potentially spectacular, note, I'd like to mention a new project that I'm thrilled to be a part of. It's a community book and blog project entitled The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism started up by some commadre bloggers, writers, advocates, thinkers. You can read more about it here and find out how you can submit something here. The book deadline is coming up fast–it's July 2nd—and the book will be published by August 3rd.
And regarding the realities of life with autism, something that I've always striven to chronicle in writing about our days with Charlie. The reality of Charlie taking a nap is that he tossed and turned and chattered for an hour in his bed on Monday night and then came downstairs. I set the timer and he used the computer. The timer rang after 30 minutes and—in the middle of a video that he's been interested in of late—I told Charlie 'bedtime,' he said 'bedtime' and went back to bed and, eventually, to sleep.
No, when I was a newbie parent with a baby who needed to nurse throughout the night, I would not have been thrilled to hear about the many difficulties 13-year-old Charlie has had going to sleep and staying asleep through the night. (Though, for the record. Charlie started sleeping through the night when he was about 2 months old.)
On the other hand, he is a teenager now and, being such 'diagnosis and all,' not exactly going to agree to a 7.30pm bedtime (not that Charlie ever went to bed that early).
And on the other other hand, when that timer went out last night, Charlie paid heed and went to bed without if's, and's, but's, or backtalk.
Yes, we're more often groggy than not, but coffee was invented for a reason, wasn't it? And life, this life on the long road with Charlie, it is good. I really think, I know, so.