Friday, September 11, 2015

I tried explaining 9/11 to an autistic 9 year old boy. It went as you would expect.

"So, tomorrow is September 11th, and that is a day when we remember a very sad and scary thing that happened."

I thought he might be ready to think about the world outside his own head.

"A scary thing happened?"

"Yes. Before you were born, when Daddy and I lived in New York, some bad guys crashed planes into some big buildings and killed a lot of people."

"They made them dead forever? How can we stop them from making them dead?"

I said, "That's a great question, our country has been at war for a long time."

This is when Ryan launched into one of his grand analogies, in which he gets so wrapped up in his own thoughts he completely derails his own simile.

"They made them dead like when the Angry Birds dead the pigs and they..."

This led to five minutes of babbling about Angry Birds.

Someday I'll try again to tell you about the big, scary outside world, Baby, but for now I will cherish your innocence, your self-centeredness, your complete obliviousness.

Sorrow can wait.

Fear can wait.

Knowing can wait.

And I can hold you close and keep dreaming that you'll never have to smell that horrid smoke yourself.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Everyone in my family has their own agenda for Ryan's speech and language skills - that one thing each of us keeps harping on. They're pretty telling about our personalities.

Stu and I are doing everything in our power to stop Ryan from scripting like Max from that animated abomination Max & Ruby. For those lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the show, Max is a preschool-age bunny who expresses himself in single-word exclamations, while his older sister Ruby blabs on and on and on and excoriates him with frequent use of the phrase "No, Max...." Few tv shows bring me as close to murder as Max & Ruby.

We did not send Ryan to 6+ years of speech therapy for him to grunt at us in one-word sentences. He knows some English, he should use it. Stu recently installed a Firefox extension to block all Max & Ruby material - some parents only care about protecting their kids from porn, but we know what really matters. Freaking Max & Ruby...

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Stu is far more concerned than I am about Ryan's proper use of gender pronouns. He's also likely to raise an eyebrow if Ryan picks up a pink or otherwise female-identified toy, while I say every kid should play with whatever he or she likes. He's old fashioned like that.

* * *
I mostly want Ryan to be able to have a conversation with me. I think in stories, and I want to hear his stories. Also, I get lonely talking to myself all day, and I would love a little more back-and-forth.

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Stu's mother makes a big point of modeling the proper pronunciation of the letter L and correcting Ryan when he starts L words with a Y sound (as he pretty much always does). Her priority is that Ryan's English should sound like the same language everyone else speaks. Appearances are important.

* * *
Stu's dad would like Ryan to respond properly to the question, "How are you?" This is how people have conversations.

* * *
My mother just wants Ryan to get her name right. He's really bad with names: he mixes up the names of his grandparents and his teachers all the time. He mixes up Mommy and Daddy with some frequency - a few times he has even called me Mrs. Wilson. Intellectually my mom knows the misnaming problem goes far beyond her, but I think she takes it personally.

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I don't think my dad has any particular agenda with Ryan. He's something of a zen master, and maybe a little on the spectrum himself, so he just accepts whatever comes out of his mouth and goes with it. I'd like to be as in-the-moment as he is.