The Question

Earlier this evening I overheard my wife talking with M about his twin's "ASD." At one point M said, "I wonder what ASD is like." It was all I could do not to intrude on their moment by walking into the room and giving M a hug.

Like his parents, he really doesn't understand what it's like to have autism, but even at such a young age, he's trying. I love that boy.

Labeling It

Here's a moment of pure, unadulterated joy. The twins (C on the left, M on the right) seem to be growing closer lately. Part of it may be more intensive group play during C's ABA therapy, but I suspect another reason is that we've begun to explain to M what is happening with his brother.

We've identified it simply as "C's ASD," and it's a label we use to explain things both confusing and wonderful. In some ways, M seems to be adopting the role of big brother (even though he's actually four minutes younger): he's become more affectionate and attentive toward C and, at times, intensely protective. Giving C's autism a label, without going into too much detail, seems to be demystifying it for M, turning a frightening unknown into an understandable known.

It raises the question, of course: how and when do we introduce this label to C? When would he even understand it?

Six Years

One glorious summer evening, near a beautiful lake, and in the company of a few close friends, we exchanged our wedding vows. We were full of hope and joy, picturing a future filled with happy wonder.

Six years have passed, and much of that time has been spent dealing with medical, developmental, and financial issues we never imagined. We haven't had a vacation. We haven't really had a break. And even tonight, our anniversary, we were unable to swing a babysitter and get out for a special dinner, just the two of us.

And yet…

As I sit here, six years later, I realize I wouldn't have it any other way. We have each other, and we have our little family. And despite all that's gone awry, each day is remarkable and beautiful, and I have no doubt the future will amaze us.

Happy Anniversary, Love.

The Invitation

A special treat: this post was written by my wife.

It’s an invitation to play.

C offers me one of two cars he has in his hands. “Mommy plays black car." Black car and red car cruise along the banister and crash!

We smile and do it again.

A day later, C comes up to me with two boats, one green, one orange. He hands me the orange one. "Mommy’s boat.” It takes me a second because I’m not used to this. I’m on the phone. I hang up and we sail our boats around the coffee table.

Then it hits me: orange is my favorite color. We talk about favorite colors.

I am suddenly aware of how far C has come: less that a year ago, he just pushed vehicles back and forth; today we’re pretending to sail boats at the beach.

Our interactions are short and simple, but they happen. They are less impressive — but far more important — than memorized lists of spelled words and counting backward.

C wants to play with his Mommy, he laughs with Daddy. He asks to get into M's crib and sit with him. Last night C couldn’t sleep so he came into our bed. We stared at each other for a long time. This is also new.

I said, “I love you more than one hundred, C.” He smiled.

Today at lunch we sat across the table from each other, just the two of us.

He mumbled, “Mommy I love you more than one hundred.” I jumped in with an eager, "Well I love you more than two hundred! More than three hundred!“

He was impressed. There was a long pause.

“I love Mommy more than four hundred.”

This kid keeps upping the ante.

And he keeps winning.