When I started this blog my intent was to focus on Sophie and autism. The blog was supposed to chronicle our journey and hopefully build a community while preserving the privacy of the other members of my family. I'm a fiercely private person and just wasn't comfortable with putting our whole family out on display.
However, it is now becoming blatantly obvious to me that focusing on Sophie while carefully editing out the rest of the family paints an incomplete picture of her life. She is not a disembodied little person living alone or just with her mother. She is the third out of four children in a busy, loving, rambunctious family, which even includes a dog. I'm starting to realize that avoiding to mention or post pictures of the rest of us is distorting her reality.
We are all on the journey together. Our daily life, interactions, squabbles and giggles help to shape Sophie's perception of the world. So let's take a minute to introduce the full clan, shall we?
Me (the mommy)
|These next 4 photos were taken at a family camping trip in lovely Bruce Peninsula, Ontario|
I have been a full-time stay at home mom for almost 10 years (wow). I had my oldest son younger than I anticipated, just a few days after my 23rd birthday and just a couple weeks after completing a print journalism program at college. While financially it was a sacrifice, I don't think I will ever do anything nearly as fulfilling as parenting my children every day. They are my teachers- just when I think I know it all, life hands me a slice of humble pie. When not mothering (when is that?) I love to read, write and organize (really).
|Sophie in her pre-autism days|
We met in high school although we didn't hit it off right away. He is the yang to my yin, the total opposite of me in every way. Creative and passionate he infuses our lives with a playful energy and adds spontaneity and child-like exuberance (which clashes with my stoicism many a time). He is a furniture maker and woodworker, who loves to improve our home with his creations. However, most importantly we are a true team when it comes to parenting and I couldn't imagine being in this without him.
The big brother (9.5)
Our oldest boy is creative, smart, thoughtful... With a side of firey temper. He is probably most like me out of all the kids (minus the temper of course, ahem). He loves science-fiction and fantasy, he reads till we yell at him to stop and is quite the history fan too. He was also our introduction into sensory processing difficulties and other quirky behaviour, which proved invaluable by the time we had Sophie. We enjoy his maturity, his sharp wit and our nightly Star Trek - the next generation Netflix dates after the other kids go to bed.
The big sister (almost 7)
My big girl is like jr. Mommy to the babies. She is all heart and love, with a dash of girly silliness sprinkled in. She lives for play dates, parties and gymnastics, but can always be counted on to lend a hand with housework or keep an eye on the little ones. She seems to intuitively understand what Sophie needs and patiently nurtures her and rejoices with me at her every accomplishment, no matter how small. Often she decides she will sleep with Sophie in the bottom bunk of their bed and insists that Sophie's tossing and night waking doesn't bother her one bit. She is a special one, my big girl.
The baby (6 months)
Our little man. He sure picked a time to be born. I became pregnant while Sophie was still not autistic (in our minds anyway) and her condition became gradually apparent to me as the pregnancy went on. She was formally diagnosed a month after his birth. So the timing sucked, but he makes up for it in charm :) Little man is spunky, loud and relentless in his pursuit of Sophie's attention. And she accepted him; she shares my lap with him, will snuggle with me over his body (a sight to behold), looks genuinely concerned when he's upset and tries to comfort him by rubbing his face. I think his role will be that of a guide- taking Sophie through the missed milestones, the lost skills, one more time along with him. I look forward to seeing how their bond will develop, if they will be as close as my older two are.
And of course, Mimi the dog (4 years)
|She's not always so glamorous|
Oh Mimi. Our crazy little ball of fluff, who thinks it's her job to protect our family from harm (harm apparently often takes the form of UPS men and landlords), who is certain that all guests to our home are coming to see her particularly and who cannot imagine why she should sleep anywhere but snuggled against the youngest member of the family (or on a pile of clean laundry, that works well too). As exasperated as she makes us (the parents) sometimes, we love her for her loyalty and patience with the kids, even the ones who show their excitement by pulling fur and squealing into ears.
And now you have the complete picture of Sophie's life. While the focus of this blog will always be our journey through autism, any and all of the above mentioned people might make guest appearances to clarify the context of the situation. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our family!