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How to Be the Mother of a Child with Asperger’s – Part One


asperger's mom For starters, be extremely excited that you are pregnant. Make sure you eat only organic foods, to ensure that your unborn child will not be exposed to anything containing preservatives. Drink the best bottled water available on the market to minimize the amount of mercury your child will ingest. Remember to recycle the bottles – it’s good for the environment, and you’ll set a good example for when your child is born. Read every possible book on pregnancy and child rearing you can find at the book store, so that by the time your child is born, you will be an expert. Take advantage of the trip to the bookstore, and eat a chocolate cake while you’re there, it probably won’t help your child’s dietary needs, or make him a sweeter person, but it will surely feel good. Do this for approximately nine months.

At the hospital, ready to give birth, make sure that the doctors and nurses don’t force any drugs or pain killers into your system; this will prevent your child from being born lethargic into an already fast-paced world. Push, then push some more. Remember the pain for the rest of your life. Become emotional at your new born child’s first cry. Cry with him. Now you’re in love with a small person. Realize how exhausted you are. Take a nap. Wake up freaking out because not two hours ago, you violently brought another human being into this world. Take a deep breath. Watch your child sleep. Fall in love all over again. Time to breast feed – complain that it hurts a lot. He doesn’t understand what you’re talking about anyway. Do this for about a year.

He’s gotten to that age where he should start going to the bathroom alone. Time to find new techniques to potty train him. The ones your mother taught you, and you have been using until now, are no longer working, and you are tired of having to run to the bathroom every time your child screams “pee-pee!” Wait and see if they work. When they do, share them with your friends. They’ll probably come in handy to them. Now you can go to the park, shopping, the movies, and many other places you were unable to enjoy before. Do this for about four or five years.

Potty training went better than expected, but it was over soon. He’s now six, and once again, it’s time to freak out – it’s your child’s first day of school. Time to hand him to the teachers, those tightly dressed women who seem to have all the answers.

He walks away from you with his brand new blue t-shirt tucked inside. His khaki pants are held by a tight belt to prevent them from falling from his small languid frame. His dark brown hair perfectly combed to the left side; it was the first time he did it all on his own; he wouldn’t have it any other way. Try not to feel embarrassed that you are the only parent crying, and that your child is the only child happy to be dropped off at school.

Go home, call your mother and tell her about the recent events. Be sure to do so while crying inconsolably. She’ll probably tell you that you’re overreacting, or say something like “I told you so.” She always does that. Prepare your mind to do this for many years, but get stalled by the teacher’s constant behavior complaints about your child. “We like children to be curious and inquisitive,” the teacher says, “but your son seems to take it to extremes,” the teacher adds. You look puzzled; what could she possibly mean by that? You have noticed certain idiosyncrasies in your child, but have not made much about it; he probably gets them from your side of the family. You attend several school meetings in a short period of time, and realize that it’s now time to take action.

Take your child to a specialist; the pediatrician doesn’t seem to be providing any plausible solutions to the problem. Visit a psychologist. Visit a speech therapist. Visit a geneticist. Visit a family counselor. Realize that you still don’t have any real answers. It’s time to take other people’s advice.

Even though you are from a different culture, you end up visiting a Cuban “brujo,” maybe un despojo will help your child. Hastily become afraid of the ritual and take your child home; maybe it’s time for different kind of advice. This time you take your child to the Indian reservation; the shaman is sure to know how to help your child. Observe the beginning of the ritual, and realize that your child’s too young to smoke from that pipe. Thank the shaman for his help and take your child home again.

You realize you might be running out of good advice, but you still call some more knowledgeable people. Decide to visit a psychiatrist, several times. Get your child tested. “This is something related to his psyche.” “His psyche?” you ask. Freak out one more time: your child is autistic; he has something called Asperger’s Syndrome. Cry. Cry some more. Hug your child; tell him that you love him, and that everything’s going to be okay. Be stunned at the fact that he was not aware that anything was wrong. Embrace him one more time, this time with a mother bear strength squeeze. Notice that he’s complaining because you’re suffocating him; let go. Become conscious of how loud he speaks, you had not noticed this before. Kiss him; then kiss him again. Do this for a couple of years.

May 1, 2009 8:56 am

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