Friday, February 19, 2010

Bunnies, cuddles and me.

So I was recently asked why I don't blog about H (my delightful second born son) very much or tell little anecdotal stories as much about him.

The short answer would be because this blog is about Autism awareness and until recently H was still considered "typical" but then of course, he was diagnosed as being on the spectrum and then I still did not impart quite so much about him even after that.

None of this was a conscious decision but I guess I kept H all to myself because he was still my baby.  My beautiful, unassuming little man of few words (also until recently) who simply remained by my side always quiet, cuddly and in what appeared to be understanding of his role of always being second.  Second born, second to have his seat belt strapped in, second to have his bag packed, second to have his shoes put on his feet, second to have his toast served in the morning and in the end, second to get the Autism diagnosis.

One thing he has NEVER been second in though is the place in my heart where I keep my babies little loves.  I'm not sure if my boys inhabit the exact same spot in my heart but they do have equal space.

J is a whirlwind of activity, action, noise and bouncing energy and really does live his life large and loud.  He was nicknamed Hurricane J well before he received a diagnosis of any kind and it really is an apt description of his approach to life.

Then come my little H bunny.  I've always called him my cuddle bunny because he is so soft, and squishy and huggable.  If children were edible, this one would have been gobbled up many times over by everyone who has been lucky enough to get lost in the biggest, deepest pools of inky brown (almost black) eyes you have ever seen.  The same eyes that drink in his surroundings in silence and shy wonder yet sparkle when he giggles uncontrollably at his silly mummy dancing along with him to his beloved Wiggles singing "pway (play) your guitar with Muwway (that's Murray to the Wiggles fans)."

Even post diagnosis I didn't give too much more away about our journey to get to diagnosis as H remains an enigma.

He recently did a Sensory Gym occupational therapy intensive (school holiday program) and after having such a concentrated round of therapy sessions focusing on his apparent sensory defensiveness and difficulty in crowds, he came out of his shell in a way I never expected.  No more shaking in the corner and hiding his head whilst clinging and cuddled into my always open arms.  I now have a literal bunny who is jumping, crashing, and bouncing all over the place!  A (hyper) boy who squeals, yells and asserts himself a LOT!

Oh no!  Where did my cuddle boy go?  Will he come back?  Where is that quiet, dependable and shy baby who seeks out my cuddles to feel safe?  Is it OK for me to feel sad that my shy baby is becoming independent?

I'm not sure if it's OK, but it is how I feel.  I know he is coming out of a shell that he no longer needs all of the time to retreat into when he feels unsafe but part of that safety shell used to be my arms.  I'm not sure my arms are ready to open out and let go as opposed to open up and draw him in but I will try.  His journey is his own and this is the beginning of him embarking on the big wide world with his own sense of security.

It's now time for this mummy to bravely stand up and cheer for his achievements.  For H a cheering moment is not so much of one that consists of learning language (he is advanced in that area and has lots of words and conversation) and nor is it a moment of cheering for developmental based milestones as he's hit them all just fine....  For H I have to learn to cheer as he becomes less dependent upon my open arms to save him from a group of children he is too terrified to approach or even enter a room of anymore than a few people.  For H I must learn to stand up and cheer when he enthusiastically greets people he was previously too frightened and anxious to acknowledge whilst hidden in my arms.  For H I must learn to cheer when he goes exploring in the park and climbs up on a swing to play without my encouragement and constant presence.  For H I must cheer when he shows signs of withdrawing from my embrace which is the total opposite of my previous experience with Autism as I was always trying to reign Hurricane J, the adventurer with no sense of danger back in.

Oh the unmitigated agony of letting go of my baby.  It is indescribable.  No one tells you all the pain this parenthood thing brings!  My heart aches to watch him letting go slowly and becoming his own little man in a world too frightening for him to be a part of before. 


My heart is also bursting with pride that he is letting go.  I am learning to unclench those arms a little bit too and feel the joy he needs me to feel when he bravely tries something new and tentatively smiles at me with those gappy teeth I love and those never ending pools of chocolate we call his eyes.

My arms will always be open for him to visit when he needs a safe place to bounce into in his new world of adventure.  Oh look... Here he comes now.  A very bouncy giggly bunny coming towards me for a quick squishy cuddle.

What bliss this thing called parenthood is too amongst the pain.

My quirky boys who live in that heart of mine fill it with so much joy, happiness, pain, uncertainty, anguish, bliss, love and pride.

What stories they give me to tell.  I will be forever grateful they are mine.

**To my H bunny:  I love you baby boy.  You have been the cuddliest of bunnies a mummy could EVER wish to have in her arms and I look forward to watching you hop out into the big world in little steps until you reach the stage where you bound through life with the confidence I know is in there.  xo

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