Everyone says that as a mum you automatically know what your child is thinking. You can predict their next move, their troubles and what will make them smile. I’ve always struggled with this concept. Because as a mum of a child with autism my psychic abilities only stretch as far as “I know something isn’t right”. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. And I do mean anyone. Let’s consult the GP, the paediatrician, the learning disability nurse, the neighbours, the dog over the road… seriously, anyone have a clue??
When kiddo was really young I took this inability to predict moves, to work out what the encrypted message was, so personally. By this point my friends with children the same age were deciphering language and gestures from their child. If you like, they had developed their own language with their child. A sort of code that was only for mum and offspring. No one else could access it.
I didn’t have that. Everyone used to tell me I was so in tune with kiddo. I always knew when something wasn’t right. True. But what I would have given, and what I would still give, to have a tiny window into that complex mind. What’s happening in their kiddo? How can I help you?
I tell you all this because yesterday he wasn’t right. Short tempered, less communicative than normal. My mummy radar was active – what’s going on in there?
At bath time I heard myself say, “what’s wrong, can you let me in?”. I didn’t even receive eye contact as a reply. Now I’m very used to this and it’s at this point that I start to wonder what psychic powers I can use to decipher the autism code. Last night I failed. But what I succeeded at was simply being a mum. I sat with him until he fell asleep. My patience for his erratic behaviour would have stretched endlessly. And after his eyes had finally closed, I kissed him on the forehead.
Perhaps our secret code exists in the atmosphere I create. An atmosphere of patience and understanding, where time will stand still for as long as it takes for kiddo to settle and feel comfortable in our world. And I will create that atmosphere every day for the rest of my life.
Thanks for reading,