Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth..."

PJ has a new favorite hobby. I wish it was baseball or jumping or even needlepoint, but it's not.

He likes to drink the bathwater.

I have no idea what that's all about and it's superdupergross (doesn't he know his ass is in that water??) but he loves to float around the tub like he's swimming and, in the process, drinks ninetygajillion gallons of bathwater. Ew. Ew. Ew. It would be super helpful to me if someone else jumped in and let me know that their child is a bathwater guzzler, too. Otherwise, my nagging suspicion that PJ is the Weirdest Baby In The World will be confirmed.

Anyway...

In an attempt to distract him from his drink-y ways, we are introducing some new bath activities (aside from the usual washing of the hair, face and body). I found this fun idea on the Play At Home Mom website- turning out the lights and  filling the tub with glow-sticks, like the ones people wear on the Fourth of July! It looked like fun and it was a cheap enough endeavor (we got them at the dollar store!). So we filled the tub, turned out the lights, and plunked PJ in! And what do you know?


Biggest. Hit. EVER!

He loved it! He had a blast playing with the glowing toys! We linked them in chains, wore them an necklaces, waved them to make lights in the air, and made waves in the water to watch them bob about! It was such a simple idea and for $6 (and we only opened half of the glow-sticks!) we got to enjoy PJ's delight and wonder in the activity! He's such a funny boy and I love making him happy. If only it was always as easy as a few glow-sticks in the bathwater...


Parenthood is so all-encompassing, and yet so moment-by-moment. We have these vignettes of time where we're all laughing as we splash about with glow-sticks and times when I think I can see his whole life laid out before me. I don't always know for sure what's in the cards for my sweet boy. There's so much potential under that crazy head of blonde hair and all I want in the world is for things to be easy and simple and happy for him. He doesn't need to be president, he doesn't need to be a genius. He can be whatever he wants to be.

***************************************************

Oh, God.

I didn't think for a second when I sat down to write this post that I would get into this. But PJ is not where he should be. His speech is terribly delayed- when he only had a few words at his 18-month checkup, we talked to our pediatrician. He suggested connecting with Early Intervention and consulting an audiologist. His hearing is fine, but when we had his EI evaluation all of the dreaded "red flags" were thrown out, and what I assumed was just a typical-boy trait of slow speech turned out to be flailing arms when he runs and poor fine motor skills and a lack of eye contact and imaginative play. And while he wasn't as his best for the therapists the way he is with people he is familiar with, I knew it was all true.

There's a deep suspicion that he might have autism.

I am trying not to freak the fuck out yet. He hasn't been formally diagnosed, and his presentation of symptoms are hit or miss. PJ plays with other children and engages in communication with them, as limited as it may be. He smiles and laughs and knows and loves his family. He's the most amazing son in the whole world and if he was rocking in a corner I wouldn't love him less and couldn't love him more. Most days I know that none of this matters- PJ is my son and I love him and he is the baby I dreamed of having all of my life. I don't doubt any of that ever. Ever. Ever. Autism or not.

This is the part when I admit all of the shameful, horrible feelings I have had. I don't want this to be happening to my son. I don't doubt my son for a second. He is brave and smart and funny and loving. We are completely unworthy of him. I don't know if I am brave enough to be the mother he needs me to be. Life is hard enough, and I don't want the things that are supposed to be easy, the day-to-day things, to be hard to my son. Will our marriage survive this? I know people who couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag- why isn't this happening to their child? Why is this happening to us?

Of course, a few minutes later, I get a hold of myself. This is happening to us because it's happening to us- it's how it's supposed to be. Whatever comes with PJ is part of what makes me love him, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. Anything. And we will do all of the things we need to. PJ is getting therapy a few times a week and is still my active little dude- he has friends to play with and books to read and people to love him and we will do everything possible on this earth to keep him from falling.

I haven't talked very much about this. Aside from Pete, I have only spoken to one or two people about it. I am not one to make my problems public anyway, and I hate to ask for help. Even in this passive-aggressive forum of airing my feelings, it's not likely I will even blog about this very much. It's hard to find the words sometimes when things seem hard. And I don't want people to watch PJ sideways and pick his actions and behavior apart. I want the people in his life to love him and be there for him the same way they would for any other child. But just because I don't talk about it or seek out opinions doesn't mean I don't know what's going on.

I know.

For now, we are doing everything we can do. We follow the advice of his therapists and doctors and are exhausting every resource we can find to get him help. PJ is still very young, not even two, and there are no definitive answers yet. We will hope that all he needs to catch up a bit is some help and if he doesn't catch up, that's okay (or, at least I know that, at some point, I will be brave enough to think it's okay).

I may not deserve him, but I count every blessing I have that PJ is my son.

(sorry this is such a huge clusterfuck of wordy words. I just started typing before I really thought about it and now I am just going to his Publish before I chicken out)

3 comments:

Shelly said...

love you and your sweet boy friend! he is wonderful.
and whatever happens,
and whenever time decides to tell,
it will be ok.
one day at a time!
pj is a wonderfully lucky boy to have such loving and proactive parents.
xo

Meggan said...

Awesome idea for the glow-sticks! And no...my kids..all THREE of them think drinking bathwater is the coolest thing ever. Who cares if they drink each others pee..right?! -GAG-

I'll keep you in my prayers to have the strength for whatever is thrown your way:)

lostandforgotten said...

It's going to be okay. Even if he isn't. It will suck and I'm sure it will be hard. But you can do it. You love that little boy so much, you'll get through it.

I'm hoping they're wrong, but I'm wishing you all the best. I'm also stealing your bathtub idea. =)