Being the mom of an autistic child has opened my eyes to many things that before I either didn’t see or chose to ignore. I remember when my oldest son was young, other first time moms would ask me…how big is he, is he talking, is he walking etc… Etc… It seemed as if this was the “stick” to measure their own kids, as well as mine. I didn’t think much of it at the time. As my older 3 kids grew up, so did the competition..meaning they measured themselves against others just as others measured themselves against them. The most competitive clearly was the academic success and failures. My kids were all homeschooled, but they went to classes, in fact they were enrolled in an umbrella school and took classical education classes, which were not easy. Their grades were given to them by their teachers…so it always amused me when people would say “of course your kids do well, you give them the grades” actually I didn’t. To me I felt competition was a healthy excercise as long as it didn’t make my kids feel like they weren’t “good enough” all 3 of my older kids are very different from one another and I always tried to point out their strengths to them, as well as weaknesses and how to accept they were each special in their own way. After I had Peyton I realized many of the things I worried about in regards to Peyton really didn’t matter. I didn’t care how much he weighed, how soon he walked…etc…I just wanted him to be able to talk..to say coherent words, to laugh, to hug me, tell me he loves me…etc…When your kids are born you have dreams and goals for them…I tried to give my older kids the support that I thought might help them as they got older. They went to manners class, finishing school, they travelled as well as their classical education homeschooling . I prided my self in the fact that people would compliment my kids on their manners…all of this was important to me. This is not to say I don’t feel the same way with Peyton, I do want him to have every tool and support available for him. I also get complimented about how polite he is. It’s just a different bar that I set for Peyton. When my older kids went to finishing school, they had their spring tea and cotillion…I can’t even imagine the stress that would put Peyton under. I worry that he has day to day social and life skills….
My approach to Peyton’s childhood has some similarities to my older kids, but it also is very unique to Peyton. I always knew my older kids were self motivated and would find a way to succeed, with Peyton it isn’t as easy. I know he tries and many times he learns things, but unlike my older ones doesn’t know how to express what he learns or show it. As his mom, who loves him with all my heart, it hurts me to see him at 17 not be where my other kids were. I also know that as his Mom I try to make his life as good as I can. My goal for him is to help him be the best he can, and show him unconditional love and acceptance. I have come to realize that the only “measuring stick” I need with Peyton….is Peyton!