Romancing Autism

My apologies for not being very active on this blog lately. Life tends to happen.

We got insanely busy with preparing for the arrival of our four goats. Our original timeline had them arriving mid- to late-April, but they arrived in early March instead. So we had to kick it into high gear to get their shed built. The goats are awesome, we love them. Handsome wants nothing to do with them, and that’s ok. When he’s ready to investigate the goats, we’ll be ready to take him out to see them.

[If you’d like to know more about our homestead and goat adventures, you can hop over to my other blog, One Twenty Two.]

Aside from that, there’s this whole pregnancy thing. I’m about 8 months pregnant now and definitely slowing down. I can’t see my feet anymore and I look like I’m carrying a basketball under my shirt. But other than that, all is well!

Regarding all things autism…well…we are definitely trying to batten down the hatches because we are pretty certain we will see a lot of regression in Handsome when the baby arrives. There’s always a chance he will respond better than we are anticipating. But if his behavior lately is an indicator, things might get pretty tough before they get better.

Lately my heart has been burdened by some misconceptions about autism. It seems like everyone thinks they are a subject matter expert because they watched a television show or movie about an autistic individual. Television, movies, the media, and social media all like to show either a romanticized or a demonized version of autism.

I’ve spent the last several days writing and rewriting my thoughts on this. Ultimately, I decided that I will keep those thoughts to myself. Some things are just better left unsaid.

Instead of inciting a grab your pitchforks and let’s get ’em approach, I thought it might be best to just share what is going on in our lives.

Handsome played outside about a week ago. Before this most recent winter storm rolled through we had some nice, sunny days. Even though it was warm and sunny out, it was also windy. And Handsome got chapped lips from being outside in the wind.

I cannot even begin to describe to you how difficult it is to deal with chapped lips on this chap. He won’t allow any type of lip balm to be put on him. He constantly wipes his face on rough surfaces (carpet, sofa, walls, floors, shirt sleeves, etc.). And just like anything else, he becomes obsessively compulsive with the sensory invasion of wiping his face.

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The beginning of chapped lips

Something as simple as chapped lips is instantly turned into facial abrasions that will now take weeks to heal. They won’t begin to heal until he stops wiping his face on things. He won’t stop wiping his face until the skin heals. He won’t allow anything soothing to help his skin heal, nor will he stop making it worse.

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Getting worse before it gets better chapped lips

The pictures just cannot do justice for how horrible his lips look. And as you can see, his left side is drooping again. When he laughs or smiles, his lip cracks open a little more. A couple of nights ago I was singing to him as part of his bedtime routine and he smiled big at me. In the next instant his teeth were red from all the blood coming out of his cracked lips.

Just take my heart out now. This mama’s heart is breaking for her little boy.

In addition to that, as I mentioned a few minutes ago, Handsome has had some challenging behaviors lately. He does not appear to understand that I’m pregnant, though I know he’s curious about why my belly is getting so big. He studies it and rubs it, though I don’t think he’s showing affection for the baby inside. I truly have no idea what to expect from him when the baby arrives, and I have no idea what is going through his mind concerning me lately.

All I do know, is that he has been struggling with some things lately, and the hubs and I are equally challenged in understanding what he’s going through and why. Part of me thinks he does understand, and that he understands more than I’m giving him credit for. We both question if he’s just living out what he perceives as his last days as our “baby,” even though he’s not the youngest child. Maybe he feels threatened by getting de-throned as the baby in the family? Maybe he’s upset thinking that I won’t sing to him anymore? Maybe he’s worried that I won’t have enough time or love for him anymore?

I wish I knew what was wrong and how to fix it for him. I wish I could make him understand that I don’t divide my love between those I love, but I multiply it instead. At any rate, worrying about how Handsome will cope with the new baby produces more than just a little anxiety in all of us.

Maybe he’s just feeding off of everyone else’s anxiety over him and without that he wouldn’t be anxious at all but since we all are now he is too…

On the positive note, we have been taking Handsome in to worship at our church for the past month. It is going very well. He requires the use of a tablet, but it has turned into the highlight of his week because it also happens to be the only hour of the week that he gets the tablet. What started out as full of anxiety, is now met with a happy, hopping Handsome boy finding his seat in church and (sometimes) patiently awaiting the tablet to power on. The other highlight of course, being that our family now attends worship together each week.

At least it’s working for now. The arrival of baby, regression in relation to that arrival, and the added stress of a new baby may bring all that to a screeching halt soon. I’m just thankful in the meantime.

Thanks for stopping by today!


2 thoughts on “Romancing Autism

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