Saturday, December 11, 2010

A couple of kids..a spectrum..and some Krabs...

~"Too many people grow up.  That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.  They forget.  They don't remember what it's like to be twelve years old.  They patronize, they treat children as inferiors.  well I won't do that."~ Walt Disney








 It isn't easy being different.  It is especially hard when you are twelve. This year is a big one for Sammy.  He is in a different school, he has different things expected of him. He is straddling that fine line between boy and young man. Forming his own opinions through his own experiences instead of relying solely on mine.  For the first time he has been separated from the herd and it hasn't been easy. Autism plays a part in this-although certainly not all of it. Hormones are rearing their ugly little heads as well..The combination of the two can be daunting... challenging..and just plain exhausting. Sammy is coming into his own and he has a lot of questions..a multitude..tons..a veritable cornucopia. 

  Sammy knows that he is on the spectrum. It has always been our thought that autism or any other disability is nothing to be ashamed of.  Our son is not "less than" because of autism. None of our kids are.  That is how we raise them.  The problem is that now that Sammy is coming into his own, he is starting to see his siblings with different eyes and it is hard on him. Especially when looking at Oscar.

  My boys are a pretty good example of how differently autism can manifest itself. They are so very opposite from each other. Kind of like "The Odd Couple"...Sammy would be Felix and Oscar..well, Oscar. Sammy is all things proper and dignified and Oscar.. is not. I can't tell you how many times Sammy has walked around various public places, his arms stretched wide (much like a policeman guarding a crime scene) yelling "Nothing to see here folks!" while Oscar either lay on the floor screaming... walked around on all fours wearing a collar pretending to be Scooby- Doo..or molested a mannequin professing his undying love for her. He is the Yin to Oscar's Yang. I find it amusing...Sammy? He really struggles with it-especially now that he is more aware of how the world works.(just as a side-note..Sammy has done this to all of us at various times...to his sisters..even his Papa and myself-but hey, when Barry White plays over the speakers of the supermarket a couple HAS to dance-it's the law!)

  It hasn't been an easy year for Oscar either. He has been sliding academically-and we are working to find other options. Unfortunately, Oscar would prefer not to work at all. He would much rather spend his time on the computer finding various videos to entertain him. Yes, my son won't read a chapter book-but he can bookmark "Cats farting" "Wile E coyote gets the roadrunner"," Arthur poops" and "punching Barney" on YouTube  with little or no effort.  Being nine years old, he finds great joy in bodily functions. His is a world of butts, farts and poop. It isn't uncommon to hear Oscar repeating verbatim various videos he's seen.  "Mr. Krabs! You're naked" "Aye my boy you're right I am naked!" "Mr. Krabs you're going to pee!" "Aye my boy I am going to pee!ssssssssssssssssssssss" Mr. Krabs you're going to poop!"  "Aye my boy you're right I am going to poop!ppfffplooopppp" (Of course this is done with the appropriate Sponge-bob and Mr. Krabs accents)  The problem is that Oscar doesn't really have conversations at home...he gets off the bus from school and basically spews everything he has kept inside for the day.(we've made it a rule that fart, poop and butt jokes are to remain at home) This bothers Sammy because he wants so much for Oscar to play with him..and Oscar isn't interested. ( Don't get me wrong-they have their moments...times when they are totally connected with each other..where they act out movie scenes or play with toys up in their room..but these moments are far and few between.)  Oscar has held it together and worked so hard to behave at school that when he gets home...he immediately goes on line or starts telling his various poop "Jokes".."Mama..I have a new joke for you!"  "What is it bud?" "Owen did you poop??!!..HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"  That's Oscar humor in a nutshell. sigh...Sammy just doesn't get it...

  The other night Sammy came to me and asked "Why doesn't Oscar talk to me?...He's always just saying poop jokes or making fart sounds....He would rather play on the computer than be with me.".."Oh Sammy...Oscar loves you..you have to try and remember that some things are harder for Oscar than they are for you.." "Why?."Do you remember when he didn't talk at all..?" "No.".."Do you remember when all he could do was scream?".."No"..."O.K...do you remember when YOU stopped talking?" "Yes..it was hard to hear all the sounds and I didn't always know what you were saying?"  "Well...you know how that sometimes still happens with you?" "Yes.." "Well..you need to remember that Oscar really hasn't been talking for very long..he is still figuring it all out...just know he's working really hard to do so-just like you do..give him time..he will get where he's going in his own way.."  "I still think he likes his YouTube videos more than he likes us!" "Oh buddy..that isn't true..it really isn't..he loves us all very much"..At this point Oscar over hearing us joined in.."Sammy I don't like videos more than you."  "Then why won't you play with me or when you watch t.v. with me you always want to watch baby shows! Why don't you watch big kid shows like I do?"  "Do you know why I like baby shows?" "No Oscar why?" "Because they have no worries" and with that he left the room..."No worries"..sigh... I guess it isn't easy being nine either...

   Sometimes I feel as if I am walking on a tight rope..one wrong step and it's over. Sometimes I find myself worrying right along with Sammy..Will Oscar be o.k.? Am I missing something..should I be doing more to help him..will he ever WANT to do school work..am I asking too much? Oh..the crazy worry! I'll be sitting with Oscar trying to discuss the book he is reading at school and I'll say "Oscar..what do all the characters have in common?"..and he'll look at me and say "Well...they all have arms" or "They don't have horns" and just when I reach that level  of thinking "he can't do this" he'll look at me and say "Mama..I did a search for two wheeled electric scooters..let me show you..it is what I want for Christmas" (at 800 bucks-fat chance of that happening!) so I kick myself for worrying..because I know he'll get where he's supposed to-in his own way and in his own time..and I know this is true because in the back of my head I'll hear Mr. Krabs saying "Aye you're right my girl he will!"or will it be Oscar? either way-I'm not worried.

19 comments:

Big Daddy Autism said...

Is it bad that Oscar and I have exactly the same sense of humor? Your Odd Couple analogy was dead on. I feel for Sammy being Felix-like and Oscar is the bomb as, er, Oscar.

@jencull (jen) said...

Our eldest (8) wishes often that HRH didn't have autism so that they could play together. I know exactly what he means, he just feels sad that HRH doesn't interact with him the same way our daughter does. I get where Sammy is coming from.

I still think Oscars love of the mannequin is brilliant though:) Jen

KWombles said...

You do such an amazing job of conveying the deep and the heavy with a side of laughs.

It isn't easy being 40 something, either, and mom to a herd of wonderful, complicated, unique kids. I know we'd both take that over being 12 or 9, though.

In those moments, the ones where we're teetering and terrified, I remember Going on a Bear Hunt: can't go over it, can't go under it, can't go around it: gotta go through it. And together, we do, so that we are never alone.

jazzygal said...

Oh wow Kathleen. What an amazing post. I hear you..and feel for you....but you really are doing a tremendous job. You are a fantastic mom. We will always think we're not doing enough for our kids.

Both Sammy and Oscar are both amazing in their differing ways.Oscar seems to be a very clever kid...there's so much in that head of his, isn't there ? Love his joke!! Sounds like WiiBoy!

I LOVE Sammy too and can just see him in policeman mode :-))

Did you REALLY dance to Barry White in the supermarket??? If so then i am seriously impressed!!

xx Jazzy

dluvscoke said...

After reading all that, my mind keeps trying to picture Sammy with his arms stretched wide, saying "Nothing to see hear folks." That's great. I love it!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

My 18 yr old - aka the only normal person in the house (her opinion) - is also sad that she can't connect with her little brother the way she would like. My aspie boy also likes youtube way too much, but I'm trying to relax about it. I find that banning/restricting it does not work, the only thing that does is finding stuff that is more attractive - not always easy I know!

kathleen said...

Hi Big Daddy!-How does Mrs. Big Daddy feel about this?..Sammy IS Felix and we just don't know HOW. We are all kind of like Oscar humor wise..I think Sammy is channeling one of my Irish Catholic ancestors..
Hi Jen-I Love Oscars humor..I'll have to write a post on his idea of the "date" he wants to take with Suzy the mannequin! :)
Hi Kim-Thanks...yeah 46 is hard..and it is a bear hunt..but you have been a great listener for which I am extremely thankful. :)
Hi Jazzy! Absolutely-we always dance if a good song comes on-much to Sammys absolute embarrassment...thanks for the words of encouragment-it means a lot. :)
Hi Dluvscoke-Heehee..it is a riot..he doesn't quite "get" that doing this brings even more attention to whatever is embarrassing him at the moment..:0

kathleen said...

Hi Bluesky-yes..restricting it only works so much...although I do try to keep an eye on it-some of the things he finds are..well..astonishing? Although how he actually decided to do a search for "cats farting" is beyond my scope of thinking..

Papa Bear said...

Same story here, but our Felix is 11 and our Oscar is 13.

Gina @ Special Happens said...

I read most of this to the hubs... we had a good laugh on Sammy's police arms...it's always good to have human caution tape with you at all times!

But, what I find so interesting is the insight of Oscar. It never ceases to amazing me the insight our kiddos have if we stop to listen. To watch. To wonder with them. And think, how far Sammy must have come to recognize what he does...and for both of them to have a conversation about it.

Angela said...

I think you should write a book. You have a way of making people understand Autism and the different sides of it, that not many people can do.

Your boys amaze me at how they think..they are so smart in their own amazing way :)

Love you guys!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dear, The post was brilliant. I loved the whole thing. Sammy and Oscar are wonderful,and are so lucky to have you as a mom. Keep going Dear, you touch and reach alot of people. You give them hope and stress relief from laughing. Love, Ei

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Laura said...

I could really relate to the reading comprehension part. I struggle with Coleman on that too, then he'll come over with a perfectly drawn blueprint of the house. They're amazing. And you're amazing. Keep your chin up!

Stephanie said...

They both will. It's hard letting go as they grow more into themselves and harder not worrying about it.

On the up side, it's great that Sammy wants to play with Oscar versus being totally turned off by their differences! Though, I have to warn you that Oscar's body humor might not be an age-thing. My typically-developing 14 year old still loves it.

kathleen said...

Hi Papa bear-guess you have some of the same interesting adventures then..:)

Hi Gina-YES! They are insightful-stopping to listen is everything..They both have come so very far and I have to remind myself of that sometimes..

Hi Angela-thanks-you are sweet. :)

Hi Eileen-thanks :)

Hi Domain-thank you. :)

Hi Laura-amazing isn't it? Thanks for the vote of confidence..:)

Hi Stephanie-Yes the worry..one of those things that goes hand in hand with parenting..*sigh*..My boys do love each other so very much..that they worry and concern each other about each other is wonderful...thanks for the heads up..Yeah, I think my Oscar will ALWAYS find body functions to be at the top of his "Things I find hysterical" list..:)

Life as the mother of 4 said...

They'll work out their relationship. Sometimes I worry about the pressure on my my kids (especially my 14 year old, she is too mature and understanding about the whole thing .. not that I want her to resent her brother but I worry I put too much pressure on her, that my expectations are too high or that I've robbed her of part of her childhood). Siblings are more understanding and compassionate than typical kids. That's one of the blessings that comes from having a sibling with a disability. Good luck!

Papa Bear said...

Hey, I just gave you an award! Come on over to my blog to claim it!

marisworld said...

Hi Kathleen,
I'm only just getting back to you after leaving a comment on my first blog gem, I'm sorry for the delay - life just took over.
that was so beautiful to read and I feel for you and your worry about your boys. keep thinking Mr Krabs, They're going to be fine.
Lovely to 'meet' you :)