If you have an autistic child, you lose a great many things. Parents of autistic children are martyr’s of self sacrifice. I for one, would be the first to lie down and let my children trample all over me. [translation = deep proprioceptive input] Some of those sacrifices are huge and important. Other things are tiny and insignificant.
One of the most hugest things that I lost, by having autistic children, was the joy of creating a birthday cake, once a year for each child. Matching the cake to the child, chocolate for one, lemon for another and…….well no cake at all for him, come to think of it. To make the perfect cake to match the perfect child, is no mean feat. Although I fancy myself as quite a baker, if truth be told, I am but a mere amateur.
Once you have chosen the perfect cake, you have the delight of toying with the perfect frosting, the endless possibilities and combinations. The only greater pleasure in making the perfect cake, with the perfect frosting, is decorating the perfect cake perfectly. None of that shop bought rubbish around here, on no. We have far more exacting standards. [translation = self imposed]
It was alright when they were little. [translation = less discerning] I could make a cake shaped like a banana, [translation = a preferred food] or a house, [translation = indifferent] or an ark, [translation = animals are o.k. as long as you avoid bears] generic story book characters, [translation = as long as it’s not associated with any specific illustration] But as they grew older, unless I could create a perfect replica of Thomas and his rabble or Pokemons and their gangs, then I’m afraid my efforts really wouldn’t do at all.
Whilst it looks close enough to you and me, for other people, it was a travesty, a sham and an inferior interloper. No room for an artsy approximation. [translation = creative license withdrawn, and non renewable] No matter how hard I tried, I was always going to miss the mark. Unless it was perfect, [translation = uniformly manufactured] it was trash.
How does one solve such a difficulty? How can one advance one’s cake making skills to meet ever higher standards? Will this be the end of life as we know it, if home made birthday cakes are allowed to slip away from our grasp? Will my psyche remain intact if I am barred from performing this act of maternal devotion?
The solution? Well for me, or for us, the answer was complete parental capitulation. Buy the cake and stick a plastic something or other on there. Result = perfection and perfect happiness. How does one cope with this change in events, this new status quo? Mourn the loss of love at this unique offering? Perhaps, but alternatively, I can count the hours of labour that I’ve saved, [translation = days] whilst I sit down and pretend to eat ‘shop bought’ cake with a happy person. [translation = but only after I’ve washed the plastic decoration to a sterile standard]
Afterall, cake is severely "over-rated."
Now I know that there are a few amongst us, who are of a "scientific disposition" and doubt my powers of deductive reasoning, logic and conclusion.
For those who need such proof, I can only say that given my mathematical genius, I am happy to supply the proof that you crave so desperately, with the following formula.
If we allow for all possible variables such as 'sweat of brow,' strain on bifocals, challenge to fine motor skills of the elderly, permitting, plus or minus additional factors of grey hair, wrinkles and blood pressure, not to dismiss or in any way devalue the contribution of the co-efficient of excessive stirring causing pain to a factor of 3.33 recurring, recognised in the well known medical condition of housemaids's knee, or should that be elbow[?] as a ratio against the happiness of a child, measured to a standard deviation, not to be confused with deviance, the result adds up......perfectly.
Please feel free to supply your own formula together with your workings in full by return.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
The sense of urgency when your child receives a diagnoses of autism can be overwhelming. It is as if everyone is yelling ‘early intervention’ at you. As a parent, you are of course willing to do anything and everything possible to help your child but the choice of options is phenomenal as well as expensive.
Lets move to the best school district tomorrow. No make that today, or yesterday come to think of it. Wait a minute the best therapist is in the opposite direction. Can we commute? How often can we commute? Can we afford it? Should we live on a train permanently and save money on rent? Nevermind, the best therapist in the area has a waiting list of over 8 months. Goodee we’ve avoided living on a train for the next 8 months.
It is at this early stage, that parents most resemble headless chickens. Every free moment is spent on research. Every other moment is spent worrying. It is a frantic time for everyone. Do something! Do something now! Anything! Fix it before it’s all too late. Someone will be shutting that window of opportunity and you’re going to squish your fingers. [ translation = or something much more dire]
As I look at my son on his eight birthday, I’m not so sure about that window of opportunity, but if there really is a window, it’s wide open, and the view has a bit more perspective. Many happy returns of the day. Now pass me that chicken, I have the time to pluck it.
If you'd like a different take from a high brow perspective, you can nip along and visit "Kristina" - must be something in the ether.