Archive for October, 2009

Best Buds

October 16, 2009

My son and I have always gotten along well, but since this summer we’ve become quite the pals. There were days in the past I would so long for us to have a closer relationship. He went through the normal stages of being closer to Mommy and I was confused as to how to get closer to him. I think maybe for a while I used autism as an excuse for me to not try to enter his world as much as I should have.

“I don’t know how to play with him!” I would say to my wife. “You just have to get in there and try,” she would say. But it always felt kind of like the whole chicken vs. egg debate. Was he not responding to me as much because I wasn’t playing with him a ton? Or was I not playing with him a ton because he didn’t respond to me?

At some point I guess I made a conscious decision to just meet my little boy where he’s at. Instead of focusing so much on the things I thought he couldn’t do, why not pour my energies into the things he CAN do? What a novel concept!

I felt like we as a family were placing so many demands on how he was supposed to act at all times. We couldn’t enjoy a leisurely trip to the park because he doesn’t play with the equipment there the way ‘typical’ kids do. Well, once I made the decision to enjoy the things he enjoys, we all had a lot more fun. Who sets the rules at the park? If he wants to swing for a half hour at a time and is enjoying it, why don’t I just lighten up and enjoy it too?

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Our relationship has just grown by leaps and bounds these last few months. I wake up every morning to hear him calling out “Daddy! Daddy!” If I happen to be at work late, he’ll keep calling my name until I come home. He’s always taking me by the hand to go off on an adventure in the house.

I love that little boy so much and I’m so glad I made the decision to not be so uptight and to spend more of my energy having fun, playing, and encouraging him. Does this mean I’m not still striving to help him succeed in life? Hardly. But I think this approach is going to help him more in the long-run by letting him know I accept and love all his unique gifts and talents and will cheer him on regardless of what all the other kids out there are doing.

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