It isn't easy being different. It is especially hard when you are twelve. This year is a big one for Sammy. He is in a different school, he has different things expected of him. He is straddling that fine line between boy and young man. Forming his own opinions through his own experiences instead of relying solely on mine. For the first time he has been separated from the herd and it hasn't been easy. Autism plays a part in this-although certainly not all of it. Hormones are rearing their ugly little heads as well..The combination of the two can be daunting... challenging..and just plain exhausting. Sammy is coming into his own and he has a lot of questions..a multitude..tons..a veritable cornucopia.
Sammy knows that he is on the spectrum. It has always been our thought that autism or any other disability is nothing to be ashamed of. Our son is not "less than" because of autism. None of our kids are. That is how we raise them. The problem is that now that Sammy is coming into his own, he is starting to see his siblings with different eyes and it is hard on him. Especially when looking at Oscar.
My boys are a pretty good example of how differently autism can manifest itself. They are so very opposite from each other. Kind of like "The Odd Couple"...Sammy would be Felix and Oscar..well, Oscar. Sammy is all things proper and dignified and Oscar.. is not. I can't tell you how many times Sammy has walked around various public places, his arms stretched wide (much like a policeman guarding a crime scene) yelling "Nothing to see here folks!" while Oscar either lay on the floor screaming... walked around on all fours wearing a collar pretending to be Scooby- Doo..or molested a mannequin professing his undying love for her. He is the Yin to Oscar's Yang. I find it amusing...Sammy? He really struggles with it-especially now that he is more aware of how the world works.(just as a side-note..Sammy has done this to all of us at various times...to his sisters..even his Papa and myself-but hey, when Barry White plays over the speakers of the supermarket a couple HAS to dance-it's the law!)
It hasn't been an easy year for Oscar either. He has been sliding academically-and we are working to find other options. Unfortunately, Oscar would prefer not to work at all. He would much rather spend his time on the computer finding various videos to entertain him. Yes, my son won't read a chapter book-but he can bookmark "Cats farting" "Wile E coyote gets the roadrunner"," Arthur poops" and "punching Barney" on YouTube with little or no effort. Being nine years old, he finds great joy in bodily functions. His is a world of butts, farts and poop. It isn't uncommon to hear Oscar repeating verbatim various videos he's seen. "Mr. Krabs! You're naked" "Aye my boy you're right I am naked!" "Mr. Krabs you're going to pee!" "Aye my boy I am going to pee!ssssssssssssssssssssss" Mr. Krabs you're going to poop!" "Aye my boy you're right I am going to poop!ppfffplooopppp" (Of course this is done with the appropriate Sponge-bob and Mr. Krabs accents) The problem is that Oscar doesn't really have conversations at home...he gets off the bus from school and basically spews everything he has kept inside for the day.(we've made it a rule that fart, poop and butt jokes are to remain at home) This bothers Sammy because he wants so much for Oscar to play with him..and Oscar isn't interested. ( Don't get me wrong-they have their moments...times when they are totally connected with each other..where they act out movie scenes or play with toys up in their room..but these moments are far and few between.) Oscar has held it together and worked so hard to behave at school that when he gets home...he immediately goes on line or starts telling his various poop "Jokes".."Mama..I have a new joke for you!" "What is it bud?" "Owen did you poop?!!..HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA" That's Oscar humor in a nutshell. sigh...Sammy just doesn't get it...
The other night Sammy came to me and asked "Why doesn't Oscar talk to me?...He's always just saying poop jokes or making fart sounds....He would rather play on the computer than be with me.".."Oh Sammy...Oscar loves you..you have to try and remember that some things are harder for Oscar than they are for you.." "Why?."Do you remember when he didn't talk at all.." "No.".."Do you remember when all he could do was scream?".."No"..."O.K...do you remember when YOU stopped talking?" "Yes..it was hard to hear all the sounds and I didn't always know what you were saying?" "Well...you know how that sometimes still happens with you?" "Yes.." "Well..you need to remember that Oscar really hasn't been talking for very long..he is still figuring it all out...just know he's working really hard to do so-just like you do..give him time..he will get where he's going in his own way.." "I still think he likes his YouTube videos more than he likes us!" "Oh buddy..that isn't true..it really isn't..he loves us all very much"..At this point Oscar over hearing us joined in.."Sammy I don't like videos more than you." "Then why won't you play with me or when you watch t.v. with me you always want to watch baby shows! Why don't you watch big kid shows like I do?" "Do you know why I like baby shows?" "No Oscar why?" "Because they have no worries" and with that he left the room..."No worries"..sigh... I guess it isn't easy being nine either...
Sometimes I feel as if I am walking on a tight rope..one wrong step and it's over. Sometimes I find myself worrying right along with Sammy..Will Oscar be o.k. Am I missing something..should I be doing more to help him..will he ever WANT to do school work..am I asking too much? Oh..the crazy worry! I'll be sitting with Oscar trying to discuss the book he is reading at school and I'll say "Oscar..what do all the characters have in common?"..and he'll look at me and say "Well...they all have arms" or "They don't have horns" and just when I reach that level of thinking "he can't do this" he'll look at me and say "Mama..I did a search for two wheeled electric scooters..let me show you..it is what I want for Christmas" (at 800 bucks-fat chance of that happening!) so I kick myself for worrying..because I know he'll get where he's supposed to-in his own way and in his own time..and I know this is true because in the back of my head I'll hear Mr. Krabs saying "Aye you're right my girl he will!"or will it be Oscar? either way-I'm not worried.