Our Miles was recently categorized into Moderate Autism vs. Severe Autism. This is because he CAN speak. He talks all the time actually. Singing, counting, REPEATING EVERYTHING HE'S EVER HEARD.
He exhibits echolalia a lot. Now, that isn't to say that he doesn't actually communicate, because he does and gets better a little at a time. But a great deal of the time, he's just parotting words. It's really less cute than the movie RainMan I promise you.
It's loud, it's never ending, and it's nerve wracking.
I was at a school event sitting next to one of the only other mom's I know, and the two twins were making an insane amount of noise. She was kind of giving me the side-eye, not really knowing what to say.
So to put her at ease, I whispered, "They sure are loud for a couple of kids who don't talk, aren't they?"
She burst out laughing. Then I think was horrified that she had done so, but I laughed too, to let her know that it was alright.
So he jabbers, and talks, and repeats. ALL THE TIME.
But fairly recently, in the last few months, we'd hit a developmental milestone that really, REALLY touched my heart.
I gained a name.
I became Mommy.
It's probably hard for you guys with typical children to understand, hell it's hard for ME to understand. But until recently, I had two six year olds who didn't verbally identify me as anyone. It's kind of a big deal, developmentally, the saying of Mommy and Daddy. But it hadn't ever happened for me.
So when I became MOMMY all of a sudden, and was getting "Kiss, Mommy", "Hug, Mommy", "I love you, Mommy"....well, I was fairly choked up and thrilled.
It just seemed - a notch in his development. A huge step forward.
Then last night on the bed, the kids and I were all playing and cuddling, and he kissing the baby. I said, "Kiss the baby!" and he repeated my words and then kissed her. Then I said, "Kiss Mommy!" and he repeated my words....
and then kissed the baby.
I froze. I said again, leaning toward him, "Kiss Mommy".
He giggled, and repeated my words - and kissed the baby.
And I shattered.
He didn't know my name. He was just repeating. Echolalia.
I cried later, giving the baby her bath, and trying to tell my husband what happened. But he said no, that the boy cries when I leave the room, calling Mommy, he cries for Mommy in the night, that NO emphatically-I was wrong.
I didn't believe him, until he called him into the bathroom and told him to hug Mommy.
At first he just giggled, but then he turned around and took my hands and looked up, and said "Hug Mommy".
And clearly he meant me.
I don't demand much out of this life. But I really, really want my little boy to know I'm Mommy. I hugged him tight and felt kind of victorious. Screw you autism. Mommy won this one.