It’s the third day and so far even with antibiotics and paracetamol my little man is still feeling under the weather. Last night he slept a whopping 15 hours straight. Hasn’t eaten anything of course. I’m feeling unbelievably sad . . . and a little guilty. I am the one who took him over to our neighbor’s yard to play with basketball shorts on last Thursday because it was really sunny but then it got windy and he sat on the pavement. I suspected he would get sick, I just didn’t realize he would get this sick. So last night I stayed up until two, partly because I thought that Panayioti might wake and need something but also just to dig up the past, again! I have a friend who’s due any day now and her doctor said something about inducing her. She’s nervous about it. I don’t know if she should or shouldn’t be. I know at least three women who were induced and all of them gave birth naturally to healthy baby girls.
But then I started remembering my traumatic labor to Panayioti. I was induced so I started looking up inducing labor and autism and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a connection. Pitocin, the drug given to women to bring about labor, to soften the cervix and all that stuff, well, when you have a boy chances of autism are greater. My little man was born almost 9.5 lbs (4.3 kilos) and he cried straight away though he did poop as he was being pulled out. Scored 10 on his apgar score, smiled on the tenth day of his life, said “a-gou” . . . did everything a typical baby does and then some! Spoke his first sentence at around 15 months when he said “Ela, mama” (come mommy) and was all-around just one of the happiest kids anyone’s ever met. Then, one day he woke up pissed off about something and he stayed pissed off for the longest time. From 2 years old to 2 1/2 years old my boy didn’t seem to be happy unless he was with me, strong separation anxiety, stranger anxiety, just anxiety in general.
Why? Why does autism happen to typically developing children? Why does it happen at all? I can understand parents who say they knew something was up from 6 months old even, like my brother whose daughter is an Aspie. He knew he’s said that something was just not right with Nicole from a very young age because she showed little affection, no reaction to noise and so on. She’s 11 now and fine, improved to a level that’s basically typical thanks to all the therapies they’ve done but also thanks to Nicole’s willingness and strengh of character because throughout her autism diagnosis her parents were also going through the nastiest divorce in the history of divorces. Why is my child autistic? I just may have to end up speaking to someone, a therapist, a priest even, because as it turns out I still have feelings of why? why did this happen to me? why did this happen to Panayioti? I was a stay-at-home mom, I took him to the playground every singe day, I played with him non-stop, I introduced him to new things, I even took him to a Fine Arts museum when he just a baby, I did everything ‘right’. So why now all these feeings. Why when I hear voices of little kids around Panayioti’s age speaking to their parents, do I get little pangs in my heart? Is it jealousy?
Last night when I was telling him his bedtime story (Bambi) with my own words and dramatizing the effects with hand gestures and all I asked him if he knows who Bambi’s friends in the forest were? And to my surprise he turned to his wallpaper decoration that has little forest animals on it and he pointed to them? He was involved in my storytelling, he answered my question! Only if you’re a parent of a child on the spectrum can you fully understand how absolutely divine and just wow that moment was for me.