By the age of 3, I knew that he was really smart. He had figured out how to open any child safety gate before he was a year old. He didn't take his first steps until his first birthday, but he could pull himself up and unlatch the gate to get to something he wanted. He had such a good ear for music. He could mimic almost any song and he played tunes on his little piano that really sounded like the nursery songs that we played each night. He taught himself to read when he was three years old. What parent wouldn't believe that they were raising the next Einstein? (It's interesting that I saw Einstein in him, knowing what I know now.)
By the time he was 4, I was at my wits end. I couldn't figure out how to manage his behavior. He was always at least two steps ahead of me. He did the most unexpected things. When he was frustrated, he would bang his head against the floor or wall and leave huge bumps all over his head. He would get into the cupboards or the refrigerator and dump all of the food out on the ground. He would scream bloody murder when I took him to the grocery store and I couldn't stop him from climbing out of the cart and dashing for the door. I left many a full cart of groceries in the isle of a grocery store as I chased him out the door and, failing to soothe him, drove home. I tried all the tricks. I watch the Nanny show on T.V now and I laugh at her thinking that she has all of the answers. I taught pre-school for years before I had my own children. I thought I had all the answers too.
He was diagnosed at the age of 4 as having ADHD and possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I know that I questioned that diagnosis because I didn't feel as if his behavior was deliberate, but the psychologist was the professional, so I went with it and did as I was told. It didn't work. But after a while I just thought that I must not have been doing it right. I must be an incompetent mom, because nothing I tried worked. He was officially diagnosed with Aspergers at about the age of 13. Over the next few years I slowly grew to accept what that diagnosis really meant. It didn't mean that he wasn't smart, he was. But, in his case, it did mean that he would probably always struggle with anxiety. I learned that my dreams for him might not be ones that he could achieve. It was more important that he do a job that he enjoyed, in an environment that was comfortable for him. It has been difficult to let go of my vision for him and to allow him to make a new vision for himself. I know that "all parents go through this", but I want to say "It's not the same!" I have another child and this is NOT the same.
I have a poster from my best friend who has walked in my shoes that says :
"Tied together by stuff too difficult to explain to someone new."
She get's it.