“You is kind, You is smart, You is important.”–The flawed child.

you-is-kindWhen I was pregnant, by who I will simply and casually just call ‘the big Mistake’ (it was way more than that but yeah.. no.), I knew that there is a possibility, that I could have taken on board a few characteristics into the gene pool that were not exactly what every woman dreams of. I don’t mean any exterior stuff (although I was glad to see there were no club thumbs on the baby) and of course not the fact that there would be some ethnicity..
No, quite frankly, I was more worried that Nemo (aka Tornado) would have inherited a bit of what I will simply call the arsehole genes of my severely abusive ex.

Since in spite of – or because – of the pregnancy I finally had the force to break free from ‘the big Mistake’ (understand : co-dependency and severe abuse that I mistook for a passionate love thing.), I was hoping that truly cut bridges to this painful past and my loving upbringing will weigh in on forming the character of a child who, certainly, was like an unwritten book with empty pages.. or was he?

Long story short, I met Awesome on what would be a crazy journey into my present life and he took us in and we found our home in Australia. Nemo then was a cheerful, healthy toddler. The Terrible Twos just did not happen! My parenting, the stability I have provided to him even in moments where I was clearly lost myself, seemed to have sheltered him from too much damage, inherited or not. At least that’s what I thought and still think a little bit today. I am not flawless, not as a mother or as a person, and I am certainly damaged (oh well..yeh) but I think that I did a good job there, given the circumstances.

Nemo grew up from casual kindy to Prep age and we started to have the first major problems, at home but especially with others, with strangers, and with peers.. Nemo himself got increasingly miserable, I was lost, heartbroken – what was going on with him?! 

I will cut short the last year, when after I had just had a first talk with his (awesome) teacher about it all, my husband got sick and our whole life was turned up side down : I had to work, and Nemo had to cope in prepschool. He mostly did, but he was suffering, stressed and miserable. It was breaking my heart.

This year came what I call the total explosion, when Nemo started 1st Grade with a 2 Teacher class and the one that was ‘trained in special needs’ clearly failed us all. Since then, a lot has changed. I am choosing my battles, I am trying to accept the difference. We have changed class, and are getting great support in school. We got a pre-diagnosis. Most importantly though, and probably as a result of all of this too, Nemo is way happier than he was for a long time. Yes, we still hate school, in general and especially on certain occasions, like parade and sports day.. But after reaching what felt like rock-bottom, we are now emerging on the surface and we are having more good days than bad ones. We are OK.

While it’s all getting BETTER though, I know that this is not going to go away. It’s not the flu, or a badly broken leg. I do not believe the quacks that speak of ‘healing autism’. My son’s Asperger’s or high-functioning autism (pending full diagnosis and terminology changes) is here to stay. Fact. So while we are presently building strategies to live with AS, I also have to accept that I do have a somewhat ‘flawed’ child. Yep.

This is why I chose the title. When watching the movie “the Help”, one of the scenes that really touched me was where the nanny repeatedly tells the child of her white employer “You is kind, You is smart, You is important”.  Because the child was not the pretty doll her shallow mother would have wanted. It was so sad. Powerful too.

Sometimes, we do not end up with the lives we dreamed of. But we might get something else.
Sometimes, we discover that our children are very different than we would want them to be
. They are still special.

Nemo has no real friends, he does not like the outdoors, and – while he certainly is smart – he struggles in school. He is at times exhausting to be around, jumping up and down, forgetting the most simples things, talking incredibly loud and all the time – and this is when he is in a GOOD mood. But he is still my wonderful, beautiful boy. My boy.

Yes, I am not quite buying into the whole ‘Asperger’s is a gift’ attitude. I get what you mean, and good on you, but for me, it looks pretty much like a handicap right now. My boy. With special needs. But like the nanny in the movie, I will  repeat it like a mantra :

Yes, you are special. Always special to me.

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