Tag Archives: health

Introductions, part two

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innerpollyanna_autism_changingfacesInnerpollyanna_autism_play

Always Unique, Totally Intelligent, Sometimes Mysterious.  AUTISM.  No beating around the bush, that is just one of the diagnoses that Mr7 has, or a label he carries.  Actually, given that it’s him he might sometimes carry it, other times he’ll rip it off to explore it and most often he’ll just eat it.  Autism, Global Development Delay, Intellectual Impairment, Sensory Processing Disorder, PICA… or in the disability world it’s more like ASD, GDD, II, SPD, PICA and add in NV and NTT or Non Verbal and Not Toilet Trained.

At the end of the day, it’s all guesswork with a level of frustration and huge dose of humour.  We can only guess at what he can and can’t understand but we know that he responds to love, music, laughter and food.  Oh, boy, does he respond to food!  My second baby but my biggest at a very healthy 9lb 11oz which was quite a shock, the doctor was suggesting I’d be lucky to get an 8 pounder and that was at the appointment where we set the induction date.  I try to keep that in mind – he doesn’t do what is expected and quite often manages a rather interesting surprise.  When it comes to birthweight or well timed displays of cooperation in public that’s great.  When it comes to eating something I’d really rather he didn’t (and let’s not gross you out by going into that further!) or redecorating his room with the contents of his nappy… I’d far rather pass, thanks!

As difficult and frustrating as life can be, it is also a huge adventure where things can be looked at in so many ways and the world is just waiting to be explored one sense at a time… although it’s usually taste and sound.  Taste is obvious but sound… well, he can’t verbalise words but he can do the “Ahhhh” and “Eeeee” noises and he also likes to bang his hands against everything to see what sound it makes.  And when I say everything I do mean everything – walls, doors, his baby brother, the TV, the ground, me… the list goes on.  He’s also really, really curious at what is on the other side of the door, any door, and will open them and wander through to explore.  This means that we keep all doors locked when he’s home to keep him safe and to keep him out of mischief.  I still haven’t quite gotten over the day when Master2 was a newborn and I suddenly realised that Master7 was nowhere to be seen or heard… and we were the only ones home at the time.  Racing around the neighbourhood with a newborn clutched against me, phone in hand, frantically screaming his name… I swear I got at least 30 new grey hairs from that five minutes of pure terror.

Still, it’s not all hard work.  He is so loving and affectionate, cuddling up and giving little smooches and batting his very long and thick eyelashes over those big brown eyes… he’s learned that’s really quite effective on most people.  He has also learned to play with his siblings, even if it’s just taking turns on the slide or jumping on the trampoline with them.  He has relationships with people other than family and they appreciate him for the loving, unique and valuable person that he is and that’s something that I’m so grateful for – they look at him and see a small boy, not a collection of diagnoses.

A lifelong devotee of The Wiggles, someone who enjoys music and plays his own drum track wherever he goes, an apple connoisseur, a giggler with a very ticklish spot under one arm, someone who knows how to use his charms to the fullest, a paper shredder far superior to any cross cut shredder you can buy, mischief and joy and noise… all in the shape of a seven year old boy.  He might not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

Being called a Pollyanna isn’t an insult

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Relentlessly cheerful.  Annoyingly optimistic. Living in some hippy-dippy happyland.  Always playing the Glad Game.

Yep, that’s what I’ve been told over the years – many times.  And I have to admit it’s true.  I do tend to search for the brighter side of everything.  Yes, there have been hard times and difficult conversations and issues and… and… stuff.  But I much prefer to laugh than cry – unless I’m crying from laughter! – and would prefer to smile than frown.  The only way I can do that is be constantly admiring the silver lining in every cloud or looking for the rainbows after the storm.  Negativity exhausts me and so that’s why I’m a star at The Glad Game.

Sure, there are things in my life that are difficult – finances are tight, we have a child with multiple issues (severe autism, intellectual impairment, global development delay and so on), there are the usual life pressures.  But I can make the choice to be brooding over those things or I can take a breath, put a smile on my face and look for the beauty and joy in the world.  I may not be rich financially but I am rich in friends, experiences and opportunities.  One of my kids has issues but we live in a country where there is help available.  Life can be tough but we live in a country where I’m not going to get shot just because I’m walking to the shop to get milk or bread or fruit… and all those things are easily available to me. 

Isn’t it funny how books stay with you?  Who’d have thought as an eight or nine year old reading Pollyanna for the first time that it would have such an impact?  Words, they’re far more long lasting than you would ever dare to dream.  Of course, that’s a two way sword in itself… sometimes the funny little comment you make has a way of cutting far too close to the bone, but then there are times where someone reminds you of something  you said as a throwaway comment a few years earlier and it turns out they used that to help them in some way.  Sometimes the biggest impact you can have on someone is when you least expect it.

The world can be a harsh, scary, sad and maddening place to be at times.  There are some horrific things going on, not just overseas but in our own backyards.  I can’t make sense of that, to be honest.  It is just so far beyond my realm of comprehension.  A friend posted a pic on Facebook today that said “Be a nice human.” Simple, to the point and within reach of everyone.  Here’s hoping it compels someone to do something kind for another person today.