I love this recent photo of Boy. I love the way he is looking over his shoulder with that perfect little smirk. He seems so carefree.
The truth is, I know in reality that "carefree" is the furthest from what this boy is. He is cautious. He is shy. He is tentative. His little mind is always running so fast. He is always perseverating on the details of everything that interests him.
"Mama, what is that orange water called again? When the fire turns to water?" (Lava)
"Mama, did the pilgrims sleep in beds? How many beds? There were 31 kids on the Mayflower".
"Mama, the T-Rex has a big strong tail and powerful jaws and tiny arms. The dinosaurs are all bones now".
In truth, until he started school, Daddy and I had no idea he may be a bit different from others. We knew he was "temperamental" and "shy", but the idea that he was any different from other kids never occurred to us. His aunt noticed he has a lack of eye contact.
...and in hindsight, I suppose we noticed those things too...
I agree, he has some oddities. But for the most part, they are endearing. He is probably the only four year old child who takes his class list to his room and memorizes all the children in his class, including how to spell their names. He can walk into his classroom and immediately know who is in the room just by glances at the cubbies. He comes home and draws pictures for his friends, and carefully draws two lines in order to write their names straight and with consistency. He tells me details about people, such as their siblings names, that they just had a dog die, that they had on purple socks or a superman shirt or hair that was red like Ariel.
He doesn't tell them he is taking in these details. Sometimes at school he may answer one question several times, or not answer at all. He may not jump in and lead the pack, but he follows closely and observes. He transitions slowly and likes consistency. He trusts slowly and does not wear his heart on his sleeve. But he shares freely and eagerly. He prefers dinosaurs and robots and super heroes, but willingly plays beauty shop and knows the princess names by heart. He even told me that there was two Belle dresses at Target that Bluebird would like(he was right, I had noticed them too).
I hesitate to write more, because he has no clarified diagnosis. Our visits with doctors and specialists still have not given us the answers we need. I cannot say we want a diagnosis. It is scary because it gives a label to something that in truth, is beautiful and amazing. Yet to identify and label it immediately gives people a level of discomfort.
However, this year has already proved to us that there are people that are uncomfortable with the unknown. There are people who will refuse to take an extra step when needed. There are people who will see him as different and want to single him out, regardless of his intelligence and perceptiveness.
These questions have been under evaluation since August, but we still have no final answers. I have not written of it because once something is written, you cannot always get it back.
We may never have definitive answers, because in truth, they are mild symptoms. However, they are pronounced enough that the expensive private school he attends is unsure whether or not they are able to handle his needs. This is so frustrating to me. We have been on field trips and have seen children hanging on their mother's legs and continuing to cry the entire time. We have seen kids bouncing off every wall and needing two people to keep track of them. We have seen kids that we cannot understand when they speak. We have seen kids put goldfish up their noses.
BUT, our son, who "may or may not" have an actual diagnosis of something, even though it does not impair him academically or behaviorally, may be too difficult.
I know that despite where we go from here, we will have this opposition. It is due to misunderstanding and misunderstanding makes people uncomfortable.
It makes me uncomfortable too. I worry about long term friendships and love. I have read about the great people who have suffered spectrum disorders. Albert Einstein. Thomas Jefferson. Bill Gates. Isaac Newton. Steven Spielberg. Benjamin Franklin. Leonardo Davinci. Virgina Woolf. Emily Dickenson.
The list is long and I see the struggles and opposition some of these people faced and it makes me long to pull my boy close to me and never let him out of my sight into this world that will be hard and cruel.
But the lists are also encouraging. Because despite opposition, they went on to do great and amazing things.
And so, when I look at the photo of Boy above, I see that. A boy! A beautiful, perfect boy who rides his scooter right past his mama who always has that camera aimed at him...and so he decided to look back smirk because he knows it will make her happy.