Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's Vacation Time

Well, it's been about a week since we left our home in Maryland. We spent a night with my parents and then headed to my in-laws for a week-long stay. Most of this stay, it's just me and the kids. Well, sorta.....Daniel stayed with my parents for a few days before coming to see his "Other Grandma and Grandpa".

This trip is always "interesting". It's very strange staying with my in-laws without my husband. They are definitely welcoming and don't do anything to make me feel uncomfortable, but it always feels like there is that piece missing. But I have to admit, as this is the 4th time doing this, we keep coming back for more. And I've become closer to my in-laws than I had previously believed possible. But it's still strange.

This year, it seems especially so. We are still working out the details of medicating Rachel. Simon keeps coming up with new behaviors. And Rachel, well, we still don't know quite what's going on with her and her exploration of empathy as we like to think of it. The older cousins are getting older and aren't interested in playing with their baby cousin, Daniel, as much anymore, as much as Daniel really wants to play with them. Daniel is spending more and more time here with his younger cousin (who is about a year younger than Rachel and Simon). He's enjoying the time with him -- in fact, this year he was specifically looking forward to playing with him, but I can still see the disappointment in his face that the big boys aren't interested in the same things as he is, at least in such a way that he can clearly recognize.

But it's also harder seeing my younger nephew who, like I said is a year younger than my twins, and see where he is and what he can do compared with them. Until now, he was behind them in most respects, as one would expect. But you call him and he will come. You ask him to do something, and he does it. You see what you are supposed to see in a typical 3 year old. Then there's Rachel and Simon. I have to call them 3 or 4 times before they acknowledge me. I have to tell them to do the same thing over and over again, and I consider it a success if they simply give me eye contact, not to mention actually DOING the task. I have to watch them in the playground to make sure they don't find the open gate and walk out into the parking lot (which Rachel has now done TWICE). Bribery is my friend.

The twins are only 4 years old. Their cousin is 3. By next year, their little cousin will have surpassed them in almost every social measure if things continue on the paths that they are currently on. He's already more advanced in quite a few ways. And I know this shouldn't bother me. He is a happy neurotypical little boy who has 2 brothers that he IDOLIZES. They are much older than he is (12 and 14) and they are his standard which has led to him maturing, in some respects, faster than one would expect. He is a very sweet little boy. My twins both have autism. I have to think of things that most parents don't bother with because they know their children will respond to someone calling their name. And I've been living with this for nearly 2.5 years now.

But still, seeing him can be hard. He is going to outgrow my children in just a couple of years. My kids should be outgrowing HIM right about now (to come back to him in a few years). I'm being petty, I know.....but part of this trip has been a constant reminder of how much my kids have lost because of their diagnosis and me wondering if they will ever find something that will make up for all that autism has caused them to lose.

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