Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Woman to Woman

Parenting Children with Difficult Personalities

You know, it is interesting because people ask me all of the time if having an autistic child is difficult. I wouldn't say that it is difficult, I would just say that it is different. Asher is such a wonderful, bright, intelligent little boy. I love to see the light in his eyes and the excitement that he gets over new discoveries or projects. I feel sad and frustrated for him at times when he has a melt down or throws a tantrum because I know that he is experiencing a flurry of emotions that are hard for him to express. Knowing this does not make it any easier for me but, it does give me perspective and reinforces my knowledge of the importance of my role in his life. I realize that he needs me (as much as I need him!! :) to help him through these conflicts.

Another interesting thing about having had Asher as my first child is the therapy and counseling that we have gone through to help us understand the best ways to "parent" him and to help him in his growing up process. Before I had Myles (or I should say, before Myles turned 2!) I really thought that I had, for the most part, a handle of the "raising a little boy" thing! Well, I was totally wrong!!

Myles has completely given us a run for our money. He is a whirlwind of curiosity, mischievousness, and destruction! Asher was such a mild and "focused" infant. Asher rarely destroyed things or even made messes. Myles seems to thrive on destruction. The irony is that, as I am writing this, I am smiling and full of love for Myles as I realize how strongly his little personality is showing through. He wants to attack the world and find out what will happen if he "pushes" it! This gives Mom lots of headaches and extra work but, I am so grateful that Myles is comfortable enough to be himself. He is completely unaware of the concept of boundaries or limitations. I have included a couple of pictures to emphasize this point! :)
A look at Myles' bedroom after what was supposed to be "naptime"!

This picture might be hard to figure out. Let me help you!! That white powder would be Owen's special (expensive!) formula that Myles decided to decorate all of our basement with. Sadly, you would think that Sterling and I learned from the first time but no, he has done this 2 more times since then!! LOL!

With my little baby Owen, I can already see the mischievousness in his eyes. He and Myles are going to be the perfect pair for each other. Owen already stands up in his crib and shakes it back and forth with excitement as he watched Myles use the changing pad as a ramp for the hotwheels cars. A couple of days ago, a woman who has three older boys told me, in response to my comment that Owen seems to be so much more active then Asher and Myles were at this age, that by the time you get to the third one, it is pretty much all over!! She said that her third boy wanted to catch up with his brothers as fast as he could. Great.

So, difficult, yes. Worth it, extremely. I honestly feel that my biggest difficulty is learning to let their little spirits thrive so that they can grow up to be the men that they are supposed to be. I want to nurture them and teach them without stifling their personalities. Sometimes, as a mother, I have expectations (for a clean house, a shower without an audience, a visit to the toilet without Myles' commentary) but, I am learning to set these aside. These little boys are the most precious thing in the world to me (next to my husband) and I feel honored to be their mother!


Lei said...

Zoe, you are so perfect for those boys! I know they bring you such great joy, even with all the hardships of finding your way through Asher's diagnosis. You are such a great example to me. :)

Montserrat said...

Our second threw us for a loop too when we realized she was very different from our first. And number seven is still different from the rest.

You're such a great mom to realize that each of your children are so special and that they need you as much as you need them.

Love the name Owen, by the way. It was on my small list of names when we finally got a boy.

Lisa M. said...

Oh, I love the pictures.

I love the view point too on Autism.

When my son who is now 17, was younger there were so many distasters that came about from his hands, I wasn't sure we all were going to survive.

A mess, but a beautiful one-

Shionge said...

What can I say Zoe except I have great respect for you as I do know how demanding this can be.

I have a girlfriend who has to deal with her handicapped daughter and sometimes I wonder, putting myself into her shoes, would I be strong enough just like her?

You are excellent Zoe and this is the kind of joy and experience that no one can truly understand an I truly appreciate you sharing this with me :D

Morning Glory said...

You have a really wonderful understanding of the individuality of those three little ones. It was refreshing to read this.

kirsten said...

i think sometimes it is hard. but it's worth it, and when you think about how much these kids need and how much they need to be taught - there's just not enough time! people have told me 'it gets better as they get older' - but i'm like 'i love this!' (most of the time).

beki said...

Thanks so much for sharing! Your boys are lucky to have you as their mom :)

Randi said...

I am agree with Lei--you are a perfect match for your boys! Of course, God knew that, didn't he?

I have 2 boys also and their energy can be quite exasperating, but alot of fun too!

Jen said...

I enjoyed your post, and the pictures.

I have to say, I also love what you did with your headboard a couple of posts back! Its gorgeous!

Morning Glory said...

Zoe, will you send me your email address? I'd like to answer your question from my comments section, but would rather email it to you. My address is in my profile.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Beautiful post! I love your optimism and hope that shines through. My little 2 year old sounds like he would be great friends with Myles - destructive and full of energy, ready to take on the world by exploratory force!

Julie said...

Awesome post! Kids are great, aren't they? Despite all the ways they might make you want to scream sometimes, what would you ever do without them??? :-)

Evey said...

Your such an awesome mom. Your kids are so blessed to have you.

Rebekah said...

Wow, I love your blog! I stopped by to say thank you for your comment on mine... but your words, and world inspire me! I have always followed autism and the new studies that are being done. I pray for a cure, and at the same time am in wonder of God's plan when he hand picks the greatest people to care for his most special angels!

Dee Light said...

What a wonderful post, and what a wonderful Mother!!!
I love that you see each of your boys as individuals and want to nurture their spirits.
I know it must be such a challenge to raise a little one with a disability, but you seem so patient. It seems that you see him as different but not disabled, and I am sure that is sooooo important for him!!!
My hat is off to you. What a wonderful job you are doing.