Hi everyone! Oh wow does it feel great to be home! How was everyone's weekend?
I wanted to share how our little weekend adventure went.
My step-father has two girls, L and J from a previous marriage. They live out of state and L has three children; a newborn boy, J.H. a girl who is 14 days older than my son and D a boy who is 8. J has three children as well; C a girl who is 18, M a girl who is 8, and J.M a boy who is 3. L and her husband just had a baby and I wanted to go to to meet him and bring my son whom no one in their branch of the family has met yet.
My parents showed up with their RV around 9 am on Saturday. I let my little man sleep until they texted that they were on their way. When my parents arrived it was snowing so we quickly loaded up and went to our first stop; breakfast. My son and I shared an omelet and homefries. When the food first got there he was so excited he tried to grab a fistfull of potatoes. Being the learn by example mother that I am, I let him do it. They were too hot and he started crying. This did teach him that maybe we needed to wait a bit and it will be ok. I gave him a hearty portion and he decided all the food on the table was his. He reached far in his highchair and grabbed my stepfather's toast. We need to work on being grabby.
When breakfast was done, we got back in the RV. It is a five hour road trip to where we were headed so I was prepared for crabbiness, but he was really good. He slept most of the way up. I did bring a few books and one toy for him for the trip. He greatly enjoyed his books.
When we got to L's house she was holding the newborn. After I said my greetings, I attempted to point out the baby to my son. He glanced at the baby, my mom started saying something cute, then he ran past everyone into the living room. All the children, except C who was at work were in the living room, so I thought he would play with one of them. All the kids but D, who was having a bad day, tried to talk to my son. He ignored all of them.
J.H who is 14 days older than my son played like a toddler. She engaged in parallel play with her cousins, climbed on footstools and furniture, talked in actual words not all baby babble. She listened and responded to her parents and the other children. She played with toys like they are toys. She used toys for their intended purpose.
Inside, I was frustrated. Not with my son, but with myself. Obviously I am the worst parent ever. I know my son has limitations, but they are never as apparent as they are when around other kids. Instead of engaging with the children, my son busied himself with taking magnetic letters off the fridge and tossing them to the ground. Except for J, L and either M or W. Those letters he took turns walking around and babbling to. My son wore a path from the newborn's room, through the kitchen, around the living room, then back again. What am I doing so horribly wrong that he won't even acknowledge the other children? He walks around our tiny apartment clutching things and babbling to them. I took him on this roadtrip to see his cousins. After all, aren't cousins our first friends? I kept trying to redirect him to play with the kids. I sat him on the couch next to J.H who was watching Dora and playing on a tablet. He sat there very confused. I pushed him in the path of the friendly J.M and he walked past him. M asked me if he could talk. I said he has his own way of talking but he likes to sing and dance. I showed M his way of dancing and he liked it. M was his favorite of the kids. He "hugged" her a few times. His way of hugging is to touch you on the leg and gently press his forehead into you. I felt horrible because since he was ignoring the younger kids, they ignored him. They tried to engage him, but he blew them off. I really would have felt better if they were mean to him, or teased him, or excluded him. They really tried to play with him. How I have failed him. I don't ever view his behavior as his behavior, I view it as me being a terrible mom. Obviously other kids his age who don't live with me are fine. He would not have delays if he had a better mother. Maybe it is those four days I missed my prenatal vitamins. Maybe its that 3 ounces of beer I had when pregnant. Maybe it is because I ate too many carbs, got gestational diabetes. It was the high blood sugar coursing through his veins in utero. I made him this way. Yes, these are irrational thoughts. I know that on one level, but on another level, this is what my brain tells me at night when I am alone with my thoughts.
When J.H. was climbing on the footstool, and jumping off, my mother made a comment that my son would imitate her. I was so hopeful that he would. He doesn't climb yet, another area his is behind in. He ignored her. The only attention he paid her was at some point, they had a baby babble conversation, a few lines back and forth. They also took turns following each other a little bit. Watching him with her though, it was not like watching two kids that were two weeks apart, it was like watching a 2 year old with a 9 month old. Her skills are where they should be.
My son did engage a little with L. She sat on the floor and read to the kids. She has medium/long hair and my son stroked it gently. He walked all around her several times caressing her hair.
I hope we can keep working on his skillset to help bring him to where he should be. This is too hard for me to handle sometimes. At least he is happy. He had a blast walking around by himself with the letters. His contentment is the most important thing.
I feel that he might have autism. My mother has been reading books by Temple Godin and pacing is a way for autistic children to calm themselves down, to center themselves. He also has low muscle town, which is a characteristic of autistic children.
I love my little guy more than I can ever put into words. He is my whole world. I know he has some shortcomings, but to me that is his charm. When he looks at me and smiles, he is the most perfect little guy who ever lived. I just hope one day he chooses to let more people into his world of one.
I will continue to post about our journey.