I told my family that I don't want any gifts or breakfasts in bed today. What I asked for instead was their time. Not a ridiculous amount of time doing AMAZINGLY FUN FAMILY-TOGETHER things (that sounds exhausting). But a lingering coffee in the morning and a family outing to Chapters. I wanted to buy a book. Yes, yes that book.
Two adults with four children going to a bookstore all together are not likely to be able to browse freely and flip leisurely through books. Instead we take a divide and conquer approach, or rather we disperse throughout the store, one adult staying with each baby (the older kids can be trusted to behave in a civilized fashion unsupervised). Sophie loves outings, of course on her own terms. I feebly tried to interest her in the toy area but she pushed me away impatiently. Pastel-coloured doo-dads and retro-charm wooden "educational toys" don't interest her in the least. Instead she found an enticing corner to establish a run-between path. I know better than to fight against her paths so I just absent-mindedly glanced up to see which department we were in. Ah autism. That was certainly convenient, thanks Soaps. At one point while hanging there I had Sophie running to and fro humming at my side, an autism book array in front of me and Heather on the loudspeaker advertising the very book I came to get. It was a surreal moment in which I thought "wow autism is all around me".
We took turns managing Sophie and her paths (she stays for a while at one and then suddenly she is done with it and moves on to establish another). At one point I saw a couple girls around her age in the play area, looking at books or toys with their parents. Oddly I was searching within, trying to gauge what I was feeling. Came up with... nothing. Nothing? I tried to look beyond the nothing, find the repressed pain that must be there hidden deep down. Nope didn't find it. I heard Sophie's hum several aisles over and went to join my husband. I looked at her at her most "Sophiest"; running, flapping, wild hair flying which she swipes distractedly to the side out of her eyes, head held proudly. Realized something at that moment. Comparing Sophie to those girls in the play area is like having a kitten and pining for a puppy instead. A kitten will never be a puppy or behave like a puppy and if you try to make it so you will just miss out on the amazing kitten moments. And this isn't to say autistic people are aloof like cats while neurotypicals are affectionate like dogs. Substitute apples and oranges if that makes you more comfortable.
|Sophie and her beads|
Sophie makes me the happiest when she is in her element, doing what she loves the most. My goal is to focus on trying to pull that out of her- her loves. The patterns, the paths, repetition, sequencing. Today it's bead mazes tomorrow who knows? Mathematical equations? I am in no way insinuating Sophie is a genius like the boy in "The Spark". But I think the message of the book is to find what drives our kids and use that to spark other interests. It is something I also feel strongly about, for all my kids not just Sophie. I want them all to find their passion, something that will get them out of bed every morning and excited to start the day. The last thing I want is for them to meander aimlessly through life, bouncing from one destination to the next, sighing petulantly "I just don't know what to do with my life!"
Mother's Day isn't done yet. We had burgers for lunch and then some broke for a nap. If the weather cooperates we want to squeeze a walk in after. I will continue reading my book now. Will let you know what I learned when I'm done. Happy Mother's Day to all moms!