Here I was a new mommy with two baby boys and I had no clue how I was going to do this. I am an only child so I never got to practice on siblings. I did babysit from the time I was 12 years old till I was in my 20’s so I wasn’t unaware of how to take care of a baby, but not a baby that was related to and depended on me for everything and that I couldn’t give back at the end of the night.
There were distinct differences between my guys. DM had a lighter complexion and lighter, curly hair with blue eyes and DT had dark stick straight hair with a much darker complexion and brown eyes. DM was more prone to laugh, ate quickly and was hungry all the time, yet took forever to burp. DT was turtle slow eating, not as happy and would burp like a champ as soon as you sat him up.
We knew something was really different with DT as the days and weeks moved on. He did not want to be cuddled, he got really angry, would stiffen up and lay out like a board, screamed a lot and did not like to go anywhere. The word Autism had entered my mind, but it wasn’t something I really wanted to entertain. I had such a rough pregnancy and then the growth difference I thought maybe I had done something to cause this.
As the boys grew the difference became truly evident. DT reached his milestones except for talking, but he just didn’t like people. DT did not talk till he was 2 years old because he had been tongue-tied and the previous pediatrician had not listened to me thinking I was a panicky mom. I then had both boys tested at that age and we found out that DT had Asperger’s (a form of autism that is no longer considered on the spectrum). My husband worked long hours and I was at home with the two boys, trying to be a good mom and failing miserably and was just told that DT was not “normal”. What had I done wrong? I shoved that question aside even though sometimes today it lingers in the back of my mind and researched how best to aid DT in his life journey.
We got DT help so that he could eventually enter kindergarten alongside of his brother. He was slow to learn things, but praise God he fell into the category of mid-high functioning Asperger’s. He could learn, but at a much slower pace, however his social interactions were awkward and difficult. Then when the boys entered first grade, DM was also diagnosed as having high functioning Asperger’s. I sat across from the teachers and specialists at the school that day as they told us the testing results, not saying a word as the tears streamed down my face. Now I know I had done something wrong while I was pregnant. Maybe I hadn’t completely complied with the rules and regulations that they had imposed on me. Maybe because we had originally thought that we didn’t want children my boys were going to suffer the consequences. I didn’t know how we were going to function as a family and most importantly how I was going to function as a mother. I shoved it aside and plowed into finding a way to aid both boys in their life journey, hoping to help them learn the lessons they needed.
An Asperger’s diagnosis is not the end of the world, it seemed that way, but I was the one who learned the lessons. As time progressed I was taught that it was nothing I did during my pregnancy that made the boys have Asperger’s, I was given the gift of these two boys because I was able to eventually see that it isn’t a disease to be cured, it isn’t a handicap to be pitied, it’s a difference and we all have differences, just some are more evident than others.
I learned that I got to be the mom of two of the most intelligent young men in the areas of music, airplanes, race cars, history and gaming. I learned that social interactions are scary and hard and some people actually need to be taught how to “work a room” or how to say hello to a pretty girl. I learned that my sarcasm is lost on people who only understand concrete concepts. I learned what frustration is really like when an assignment is given and your child not only doesn’t want to do their homework, but refuses to do it. I learned that noodles could kill a fellow because of their texture. But the most important lesson I learned is what love and loyalty look like on the faces of your children.