A Short Version of a Long Story
Oh, Sam was a happy baby!
Smiling, giggling and making all the sweet little baby coos
that left us in a puddle of sappy happy goo.
Unless we were in the car, there he sounded as if he were being tortured,
for the entire trip, no matter how long it was.
We suspected he had motion sickness because he also didn't care for his swing.
As Sam grew, our concern and stress levels grew.
At each pediatrician visit, we would mention things that seemed just a bit off to us,
only to be dismissed.
He rarely slept, it would take him hours to calm down, no matter what we did.
By 10 months he could climb out of his crib!
There were other things too. For quite awhile Sam didn't use his arms.
He'd keep them at his side and try to use his feet for everything,
reaching with his toes.
He also didn't become attached to anything, no toys, no lovies, not Daddy, only me.
With me he was almost obsessive. He had to be ON me, all the time -
still does to this day.
It's almost as if he wants to crawl under my skin because he doesn't feel close enough.
For as long as I could I carried him in a homemade Mei Tai sling,
which had to stop when he hit 35 lbs.
Still, doctor after doctor reaffirmed that he was the epitome of a bouncing baby boy.
In fact, one of the pediatricians actually shook his finger in my face
and berated me for comparing my children's’ developmental progress.
I felt like such an awful mother.
Why didn't I understand my son?
I had an amazing emotional connection with him but couldn't help him learn and prepare
for life in the same ways I did with my daughter.
He did things so differently, so unexpectedly.
Before I go any further, I should explain, he is an extremely loved child.
I don’t want you wondering....I’m just trying to be honest about our situation as it was.
Sam is a wonderful, super-sweet, smart little boy.
He now gives hugs and kisses that melt our hearts all day long.
Just thinking about his innocent face, almost translucent skin, looong eyelashes
and warm peanut butter breath makes me misty.
He’s a strong force full of love and honesty
and I’m so honored to know him and have him in my (our) life.
Month after month and year after year we’d question if we were crazy.
Because all the doctors said differently we believed we were wrong.
After each appointment we’d return to the car with a positive outlook-
things were going to be okay.
This stress would all pass. Sam was described to us as just “high needs”.
The doubt would return within days.
To be fair to the doctors, Sam can appear very “normal” –
ugh, I hate saying that, what’s normal?
I should say "healthy, happy, involved, and aware".
Even our extended family members, who all live out of state,
had a hard time believing what we were saying.
Sam was completely weaned at 18 months but even to this day...at 3 ¼ years,
he still tries, multiple times a day to nurse.
And here’s where I need to stop myself,
here’s where I’m going to leave out all the rest of the minor details.
I believe Sam just does things differently.
I don’t think something is “wrong” with him.
I also don’t feel it’s fair for me to type out all his little idiosyncrasies to be judged.
Believe me, we did that enough when he was younger.
I am happy to say that finally, at 3 years, Sam is able to sleep through the night.
So, the happiest part-
one of our pediatricians FINALLY listened to us and recommended testing.
At the testing, the physician had to stop and recommend an even more intensive test
because she BELIEVED us after observing Sam and asking him some questions.
This further testing is to find out just where Sam falls.
Is he developmentally delayed? Is he somewhere on the autistic spectrum?
Is it something else? Tyler and I, as well as our new pediatrician believe he’s autistic.
And you know what? Deep breath...we’re relieved.
Finally, someone can help us help our son.
Now we can devour information, knowing it’s relevant
and make informed choices to help our son blossom.
He can attend a preschool he’ll feel comfortable attending.
Tyler and I can take classes ourselves to learn how to help Sam learn.
I’m excited! We’re excited! Ella, my daughter, is excited!
All the worry, serious stress, never seeing our friends,
arguing and putting our lives on hold will be easier to deal with and easier to remedy.
It'll be easier to be ourselves again because we’re back to MAKING PLANS.
We’re back to being involved in ourselves, our hobbies, our interests,
our friends, and our future together as a family.
I understand our son will probably be a challenge
but now we know what challenge we face.
And seriously, what kid isn't a challenge?
Thankfully, now we feel a little prepared with lots of room to grow.