Having two autistic children has cast my ideas of parenting and what is OK and what isn't, into a different light, to be sure.
The oldest child was born sweet and gentle, with a kind heart and soft disposition that doesn't involve a lot of tantrums or disagreements. He's always been that way. I used to joke that he was the trick baby, the baby that fooled you into thinking they were ALL that easy.
I never had to much have the YOU WILL OBEY ME I AM THE PARENT battles with him. He generally just did the right thing. Or, sulked about and did the right thing.
The girl however...the girl has her own mind.
Sometimes it's a safety issue, she wants to bunny hop down the stairs and will scream and cry when I say no to this. She wants to run away from me when it's not safe to do so. These are in fact punishable offenses round these parts because, like Disney, we're very SAFETY FIRST parents. So she has to learn that she MUST do what I ask sometimes simply because those things WILL IN FACT keep her alive.
But last night, there was a battle of the wills that reminded me JUST how much I treasure her words. It was time for jammies and we were once again putting on her giant BATMAN jammies - it's really one of her brother's jammie shirts that fits her like a nightgown. It was going to get down to the 30s last night, so I pulled on some pajama bottoms because you know, COLD NIGHT.
That was when she started sobbing, and clutching at the pants. And sobbing some more and declaring that she didn't want pants she didn't want pants she didn't want pants and as I tried to explain that she needed them she shouted and sobbed "I KNOW WHAT I WANT!!"
She is two. And she knows what she wants. It kind of gave me and the husband pause, and I took off her pants. She wiped her face and smiled.
It's easy to forget, for me, that she isn't a little child without words or much in the way of opinions. The twins don't much care, they'd wear banana peels most days if I put those on them. They might not like it but, generally they don't have strong opinions on things. They just sort of amble on, and choose different things to tantrum about.
But the girl, she knows what she wants. It makes me proud, it relieves me in ways I can't explain. She's going to probably get away with too much in childhood just because I'm thrilled she speaks.
I hope she never catches on to that.