This year we all vacationed together. Hubby, baby, P and me! Plus grandma and grandpa and tons of relatives in hubby’s village and some visiting from Australia. I was fearful it would be too much for Panayioti and with the exception of one occasion where he almost seemed to be purposefully pushing his, and mine, limits, it’s been smooth sailing so far. I’m in Athens today because I have to be back at work on Monday but everybody else still has two more weeks of vacation left. Lucky them! The truth is we limited P’s overexposure and over-anything really so that there wouldn’t be any big, public meltdowns and that’s what’s helped really. See? Maturity, on our part. So, no late-night outings to cafes and restaurants and no grand visits to homes of relatives with tons of people there and no loud anything and no pushing him to do stuff he just doesn’t like to do like meeting new people, like his little Aussie cousins. Although we did go to the beach one day with his afore-mentioned 6 and 4 year old cousins and their lovely parents visiting from Australia and that didn’t really go over very well. In fact, I don’t even think it registered with Panayioti that he did in fact meet them. He just gave out a little shriek when Esther, hubby’s 1st cousin, approached him and very gently caressed his arm and that was that. He spent the rest of our beach day running towards strangers and putting pebbles in his mouth. Not so mature on his part but I’m pretty sure he did that ’cause he wanted to leave. That beach he didn’t care for, whereas the one right by our country house he absolutely loves!! He looks so mature when we go there. So at peace with his surroundings, no shrieking and running from one end to the beach to the other, no approaching strangers, no running towards the street, and ALMOST no sand-eating 🙂
The only thing that has been plaguing me for a couple of days now has to do with me really. The mom/person I’ve become. It’s kind of weird but I’ll try to explain so that you understand. I have one ASD kid and one NT kid. I can interract with both. I can play accordingly with both. I can be their mom. I can be the adult at home and outside of the home. Maria is a girl so I can do girl stuff with her. I speak differently to both because as Maria’s maturing, she’s surpassing her brother in ways a typical kid would. Her understanding is getting bigger and bigger by the day and she’s speaking and understanding things at a typically-developing pace for her 21 month old age. Panayioti is my non-verbal ASD son and I have to keep an eye out on him at all times. ASD parents know what I mean. But what about NT boys? Upon meeting Ester’s 6 year old son, Panayioti’s 2nd cousin, I realized that I don’t really know how to act, be around if you must, NT boys P’s age. If I’m not telling Panayioti NOT to put sand, pebbles, ashtrays, etc. in his mouth, if I’m not keeping him from running into the street filled with cars or from taking his shoes off in restaurants and climbing atop the table, if I’m not helping him eat and keeping him from getting up from his seat every two seconds, if I’m not keeping his hands from flapping and telling him to ‘have a good mouth’ to keep him from shrieking . . . if I’m not doing all that then I don’t really know what to say or do around a typical 5-6 year old little boy. What do you say to them?? What kinds of q’s do you ask them and how do you really ‘talk’ to them? Because people, in case I haven’t told you this, you must know that I’ve never ‘talked’ to my boy have I? He’s non-verbal so our conversations are me keeping him from hurting himself, mostly, or others by accident, and giving him ‘mands’ with PECS pictures or by pointing and going absolutely nuts with excitement when he does something as instructed. He will always respond with a grunt or shriek and sometimes, always by a mand given by me, he might shake his index finger ‘no’ to a question. See what I mean? When I’m around a typical little boy I don’t know what to say and I feel a bit uncomfortable. And I sense that the boy in question might also feel uncomfortable.
But I have noticed, and we all have, that Panayioti has matured this summer. I mean, if he hadn’t I would be in Athens right now WITH Panayioti and probably as miserable as I was last summer. He has matured in little tiny ways like going down the steps of our country home by himself and not running towards the street 100% of the time. Like understanding. Like just chilling sometimes and giving us breaks every now and then. And then smiling up at us. When life gives you lemons, right?