Sunday, November 11, 2007

What is Normal Anyway?

Four women crowded around a cute seven-week-old baby boy as he struggled to push solid matter out of his little body. One of the women was his mom and she was trying to help him. She had placed him on a couch protected by a diaper pad, opened the diaper and dabbed his bottom with a wipe as progress was made. The rest of us cheered the little guy on.

I was as encouraging as the rest, but was also thinking how silly the three of us must have looked. 'Is it normal to watch such an event,' I thought? Probably not, although none of us have been classified as neurologically or psychologically different and none of us were grossed out because we have all changed plenty of diapers. Besides, we all wanted to see the struggling youngster feel a little better. He cried and made faces until he found some relief. In the meantime, we adults were all a bit gaa gaa.

The moment I just described happened after a "Girl's Day Out," which meant eating brunch, shopping at craft shows and having dinner with four other "girls." It was nice to get out without children in tow and just shop and chat. I can't remember the last day I had been able to find the time to shop for anything other than household items. I enjoyed picking up small handcrafted items like Christmas ornaments and scrubbers (scrubbies) to tuck in with other gifts. I even bought something for myself--something I haven't done for awhile.

As it was a Saturday, my husband was able to watch our nine-year-old boy with autism and his four-year-old brother. He took them to McDonalds and then out shopping for groceries. He let them choose yogurt marketed to kids as well as Jell-o. He even let our nine-year-old leave his side to get Pringles and peanuts. Our boy, with an excellent sense of direction and a love for salty foods, knew just where to find the items. Later, my husband had them help out by cleaning our house. (Believe me this is quite an unusual event. ) The four-year-old picked up toys and the nine year old vacuumed.

I couldn't believe it when my husband called to tell me the news that my son cleaned two floors in our house. Yes, I always had my older boy help me a bit by wrapping up the cord of the vacuum cleaner when I finished vacuuming and he always enjoyed using the hose and extensions to pick up bits the vacuum cleaner could not reach. But he never showed a lot of interest in pushing the appliance around. My husband said the boys were glad to "help mommy" while I was away. I did note that both boys were pretty proud of their efforts.

When I came home, all of my guys crowded around me to see what was in my bags. My two boys were pleased to see the chocolate dipped pretzels I picked out for them. I didn't have the heart to come back empty handed. My four year-old tried to claim some of the other stuff I bought and was attracted to the scrubbies for some reason. My nine-year-old was content just to look.

It struck me how ordinary a day my guys had despite the presence of autism in our house. They might of had a zany moment or two, but I think that I, along with two unnamed others, could probably get the award of the day for having the nuttiest moment.


mcewen said...

Yup, sounds like you're the winner on that front. Glad the 'guys' survived without you.
Best wishes

JESwindell said...

I would like to suggest some attention in the blog to adults with ASD. We have an Asperger's daughter who, as she has aged, has found few to no resources to help her. We are also aware of a genetic anomaly but it can't be linked directly to Asperger's. I can share what we have learned and would like to hear what others may know about their ASD relatives' genetics.

J said...

I am planning a few posts which I hope you will find helpful. A post about genetics will hopefully appear on Wed. or Thurs, Nov. 13 or 14th, 2007.