Morning Discourse with Love.

Early, early in the morning, long before the sun comes up, my conscious self takes hold of the sleeping self and wakes me.  This usually happens, after a good night’s sleep at about 4:30 to 5:00 a.m.  I slip out of bed shortly after 5 a.m.

My son is sound asleep at this hour and it will be the only part of my day in which I can accomplish anything outside of his presence.  I do it so I can have time to myself.  As horrible as it is to get up this early, I need to do this.  I check on him to make sure he is safe and hobble off to exercise, do chores, and make myself as presentable as possible, before I return to wake him and begin his day.

Early morning sleepyhead.

By the time I return to where he lies sleeping, he is usually still asleep.  He is so beautiful and cuddly when he is sleeping.  I almost always wake him with kisses.  He smiles, stretches and opens his eyes.  There was one time in which he said, “Good morning, mommy” without me prompting him.  But, regularly, we begin the day with some echolalia.  The phrase of the week is usually what comes streaming out.

Yesterday morning it was, “What does Blue’s Clue’s say?”  which meant, “Mommy, make the Blue barking sound.”  We usually get through about three phrases and I will tell him, “Good morning,” and wait for him to say it back.  Probably 70% of the time, I do not get an answer.  The remaining 30% is what I live for.  The small moments when he says, “Good morning, mommy” in return.

Usually, there are several hugs and kisses involved in our morning rituals.  Hugs and kisses for letting me brush his teeth without protest; for using the potty; for getting dressed and letting me comb his hair.  Each of these is a task which requires effort that is rewarded with that strong hug and kiss, the kind of love he seeks for his senses.

As we are getting ready to leave, he often follows me like a duckling after its mama.  He sometimes expresses worry that I might leave without him.  He will, if anxious enough, go out to the car and start to point at it and say, “Open the door!” to assure he will not be left behind.

Inside the car, he has trouble with his seatbelt on occasion.  During the summer, he has no problems.  In winter, with all the bulk I apply to his body to keep it warm, I must sometimes help get the seatbeat on as it is a tight fit and I have to loosen and adjust.  Again, he does not ask for seatbelt help.  He will swear, “Fire truck!” or “Krabby Patty!” to get my help.  The words just don’t come easy.  After the verbal correction and request for repeat, I usually steal one more kiss.

Unhappy about messed up seat belt!

On the road, he plays quietly or engages in echolalia if he is not trying to bluff me about a trip somewhere he doesn’t really want to go (see here).  The only “normal” conversation exchanged between us on these rides is if he asks for his cup of water, which I place in a cup holder up front, to avoid spilling.  “Want water.  May I please have the water please?” (extra polite).  The other “conversation” is usually, “You’re going to?”  or “We’re going to?” to determine where he is going to for the morning, even though I’ve already told him the schedule during our morning, ‘getting ready’ routine.  The rest is echolalia or requests that I repeat certain sounds or phrases.

Sometimes, on that ride down, aside from the hundreds of other mundane thoughts about tasks I need to complete, I wonder what it would be like if he was neuro-typical.  I wonder what kind of conversations we would have.  What would he point out to me and what would learn about his likes or dislikes? Would he tell me to look at the horses or ponies that are sometimes grazing in the fields we pass?  Would he show me an odd car or truck?  Would he tell me what he wants to do versus doing what he does because these are choices that have been made for him.

I think about what it would be like if he told me about something that happened to him at school the day before or about something he’d like to do after school that day.  I wonder what happens inside his head as we make our way down the hill, what he sees, how he sees it and remembers it and what emotions he attaches to the visual parts of his ride.

And then I wonder that if he was able to tell me all those things, would he be someone else or would he still be my little boy?  The one who I kiss each morning and sneak glances at all through our ride down the hill.  The little boy who will sometimes, in silence, without prompting say, “I love you mommy.”  The little boy who dances to music from a toy.

In my heart, I think I know that if the communication was there, my son would be someone different.  His personality would be changed.  Would it be just the bad parts?  The parts where he is frustrated and angry because he cannot get the words out?  The parts where he cannot tell me something that is bothering him or something that he wants to know more about because he does not know the words to ask me?

Or would I lose the good parts?  The unsolicited “I love yous”.  The kisses for the sensory input to his face and lips.  The deep pressure hugs that he gets and gives.  The beauty in his laugh over something no one else understands.  Because I would never want to lose these parts of my child.  They are beautiful and they are my son.

As he grows, I am amazed at the progress he is making in communicating his needs.  I am surprised by the development of his sentences.  There is so much joy in things that “regular” kids do naturally.  Things that come so hard for him.  I often reflect on how unfair it is that he has to work at something that should be as simple as breathing.  At the same time, I am grateful beyond expression, that he does the work and is making progress toward “normal.”

I gauge his progress by what is considered “normal” yet at the same time, ironically, I am not even close to needing him to get there.  I love who he is now.  How he smiles and laughs, never sits still, plays differently with his toys.  How he sings and reads and eats.  Most of all, I love how he loves me and how I love him.  With our whole hearts and with no disability between us.  He is my perfect little boy.

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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20 Responses to Morning Discourse with Love.

  1. Lynn says:

    I’ve wondered the same thing…what their personality would be like, what conversations we’d have, if they’d find the same things funny, etc, if they were “typical”. The conversations especially would be completely different. Sometimes I can envision it and sometimes I think as you…that it just wouldn’t be the same person. Hopefully it doesn’t make me a bad parent that I wish sometimes that I could see her without autism just for an hour or a day.

  2. Grace says:

    Beautifully written. And a little cosmically weird that you read my mind.

    I had many of these same thoughts one day last week, when I got really sad that I don’t ever really have a “normal” conversation with my son. All I wanted to know was what he had to eat at his St. Patrick’s Day party at school, and all I could get out of him was scripts of Star Wars stuff he had seen on TV.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks, Grace. I know we all have this thought. It would be nice to hear what they do and learn and like… I know even the NT kids don’t want to talk about it some days but it would be nice to know all the same. 🙂

  3. Lizbeth says:

    If you ever want to see what a normal boy/kid does—invite 2 of them over for a play date, sit back, and watch them DESTROY your house in mere minutes…that was one of the stupid (stupid, stupid, stupid) things I did over break. I actually caught one of them balancing on the TOP of the playset….I though it would be good to have Alex socialize…didn’t work.

    Seriously, I have wondered what he would be like if I stripped away the autism, anxiety, tics—-I’d love to meet that little boy but I fear I’d miss the one I have right now too much.

    I don’t think any one of us are bad parents for wishful thinking, I’d give anything to see him anxiety/autism free–even for a second.

    • solodialogue says:

      Whoa – too many boys – not enough mom?! Yikes!

      I know the dilemma – give it and change him? Very hard question but, of course we’d all like a glimpse of who that child would be.

  4. jnettlee says:

    Your love for your little man is palpable. I know with certainty that what you have expressed here in writing is felt across the board by all mothers and fathers of little ones on the spectrum (along with their grandmas!)

    One thing remains sure… the strength of the bond of love. It will conquer all else.

  5. I hear all of you saying the same thing here and I think it’s beautiful. Yes, we wonder what our children might be like… but you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because we love them for who they are!

    I still am amazed when I look into Kaia’s face… watch her sleeping… give her a hug… how intensely and how perfectly I love this little girl. Ability or disability. It doesn’t matter. I love who Kaia is with every bit of my being — just like all of you love your children.

    ((Hugs))

  6. jen says:

    I see glimpses of typical Katie now and again, so I imagine it would be like that without interruption. I don’t think the good parts would be gone, just the bad. It’s why it hurts me so much when she is having a hard time. I know life would be better for HER. I don’t see autism as a blessing and have been hard pressed to find anything positive within it. I have a typical son, who showers me with hugs and kisses and I Love You’s…I know that would still be there with Katie since it is there with Ben.

  7. It’s so hard sometimes, isn’t it? Most people don’t seem to get it, that a kid with ASD might talk but the communication just isn’t there the way it is with a typical kid. I often feel sad about it all while driving Andrew to school too, just because it is so quiet in the car. I get sick of narrating the ride and trying to get him talking, but feel guilty if I don’t.

    You’re doing the right thing enjoying the good parts and loving your perfect little boy. I know you treasure every single one of those hugs and kisses!

    • solodialogue says:

      I too, get sad in the car while driving my son sometimes. And I do the same thing to try and narrate the ride. We just keep on going. I think, inside every single effort we make makes a difference to our children, even if they can’t or don’t tell us that. 🙂

  8. Danica says:

    I think it is normal to wonder. I caught myself today while waiting in the lab at the hospital. There was a mom there with her daughter and I commented to my hubby how well she spoke. Then I heard her mom answer this lady who asked how old she was and she was 2….. At 2 PA was not able to speak & could hardly walk. This little girl was chatting with everyone & running around playing. I always find myself wondering how she would be if she were NT, but then like you mentioned they might lose some of what we really love about them.
    I do wonder what she will be like when she is older. What will life be like. Will she be happy. As long as she is happy I will be happy.

    Love reading your blog posts. You bring a smile to my face….

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks, Danica! I know exactly how you feel and what you are doing because I do the same things- wondering about the future. I think we all just want our children happy because that makes us happy. We just have to know how to give them the skills to get them there.

  9. eof737 says:

    I join in the wondering and yet I suspect that his personality pokes through in multitude ways. Sure, there is the language frustrations but he is a big personality…
    BTW, I have given you a Versatile Blogger award. Stop by to collect it! 🙂
    Elizabeth

    • solodialogue says:

      Definitely, a big personality!! (and bossy too!) Wow! A versatile blogger award – so cool! Thank you so much Elizabeth! That you thought of me among your fans, is quite an honor! I am humbled.

  10. Big Daddy says:

    Beautiful and cuddly is a perfect description of him sleeping.

    I’ve had very few “normal” conversations with my son over the 8 or 9 years he has been “talking.” But the conversations I have had, are so unique, humorous, insane, and outright weird, that it almost makes it alright. I would love to have normal conversations with him but I wouldn’t want to give up the “autistic” ones to get there.

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