Bye Dad Hi Dad
A few thoughts of mine on two new studies regarding the detection of autism in infants over at Care2.com ending with some musings about how, even though it was not exactly easy to learn that our toddler boy had a severe and significant neuro-developmental-psychiatric disability, it was a lot easier to help Charlie through neurological storminess when he was carry-able. Too, a younger Charlie did not stand out in public—and attract attention he does not like— the way he does now.
Yet. Our now older, taller, well-muscled and athletic teenage guy seems to be figuring out how to detect storminess in himself as it's starting (rather than while in the throes of it) and to tell us what he needs to do.
This would be, to ride his bike.
Jim always has to accompany Charlie on these rides, of course. It is the case that Jim has been with Charlie (and a-bike himself) on 99.99999999999999999% of these rides, with the exception of my own highly unsuccessful attempt to ride with Charlie two summer ago, and a slightly more successful effort to run behind Charlie (he was only about 7 years old) while he pedaled ahead of me. Also, at one of his former elementary schools, Charlie used to ride a bike (someone had just left it at the school) in the parking lot and two of the (male) aides (whom Charlie adored—so of course, the next year these aides were transferred to another school site) took turns running after him. Good times those were, very good.
Lately Charlie has been saying,
'No Dad, bye Dad, all done Dad.' And then, 'Dad will be back. Dad back. Hi Dad!'
Charlie is (well, this is how I translate it) trying to express an idea that's complicated, a bit contradictory, complex: Dad is gone—therefore Charlie will not be going bike riding with Dad—that is (speculating here) disappointing, sad, puzzling—Dad will come back—and there will be bike riding and other sorts of fun such as orderly Mom doesn't provide (well, not in that exhilarating, aerobic way).
Wednesday I picked up Charlie after day #2 back to school (it was a good day, as Charlie's teacher—she came out to say hi—told me herself). Charlie said those above phrases when we got home and went up to his room to take a rest (napless, as it turned out). Jim came home, Charlie got up, they went for a bike ride, the first of what would be two.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how, as Charlie grows up, things get easier, and harder. About how, 'easy' and 'hard' aren't really the right words.
Yes, there are times I really miss scooping up my boy and carrying him (kicking and back-arching, but in my arms) to safety.
Yes, it feels pretty darn motherly good to hear Charlie call for his bike helmet and hasten out to the front yard so he can bike out his worries and anxieties.
He certainly doesn't put my shoes amid the pantheon of his favorite things (see photo above).
If that isn't a strong communication, what is?