Love’s losses and gains

By Mir
February 4, 2010

I realized at some point this week that I haven’t written very much about Monkey, lately. I’m not sure why that is. I think that since his official Asperger’s diagnosis I’ve felt conflicted. I felt relief to know what we already knew, but sadness for him to be saddled with a label. I felt hopeful that people who might be able to help him now had a handle on his needs, but wariness about the assumptions that might be made about him by those less than loving. For a while he was still having a hard time with everything, and it was just too difficult to talk about, too painful to say, “He’s my baby and his life isn’t supposed to be this hard and I can’t fix it.”

And then things started getting better—for a whole lot of different reasons, some of which we know and others which are ephemeral and, we hope, continuing whether we understand them or not—and I just wanted to cautiously enjoy it and not think too hard about the WHYs or the HOWs or (especially) the WILL IT LASTs.

Something happened yesterday that made me realize I have things I need to say about my son, and me, and us.

I referenced Monkey’s Asperger’s to an acquaintance who I guess had been unaware of it, and at some point in the conversation I said something like “Well, that’s life with an Aspie!” and this other person reacted as if I’d just called my kid a retard. It was of course one of those poor communication things, but I walked away from that interaction absolutely furious. Which—to be fair—wasn’t entirely logical or the other person’s fault.

I was angry at the ignorance displayed, and I was further really angry at the implication (which may have been in my head, who knows) that he or I or both of us should somehow be ashamed and not reference his condition because it’s one of those Don’t Talk About It kinds of things. Monkey calls HIMSELF an Aspie, as do plenty of the other people with Asperger’s that we know. It’s not a pejorative term, and Asperger’s isn’t something I’m going to talk about in hushed tones because it makes other people uncomfortable. Being able to talk about his experiences makes my son more comfortable, and being able to talk about my experiences with him makes other people less ignorant and him more okay with being himself, and so we are going to keep talking. Hopefully that’s okay with you. If it’s not, well, too damn bad.

The ironic thing is that the whole conversation had started because I had been venting about the fact that Monkey came home with the knees of his pants ripped out yesterday. The pants were new and I’m not going to lie, I was really exasperated with him. I’m very careful with our spending and him completely ruining a brand new item of clothing wasn’t really in my budget. It’s maddening. He’s 10. He should know better. But the truly crazy-making part is that the conversation goes like this:
Me: Monkey! What happened to your pants??
Monkey: What do you mean?
Me: Your PANTS! The knees! They’re all ripped!
Monkey: They are?
Me: YES! What did you DO?
Monkey: Huh. I don’t know.
Me: You don’t KNOW? Think!
Monkey: I am. Hmmm. I’m not sure.
Monkey: Oh! Wait. I was climbing around on my knees in gym. But I don’t think they ripped.
Me: They’re ripped. LOOK AT THEM. Ugh, nevermind.
Monkey: You’re mad.
Me: Well, yeah. No. I’m not mad, I’m sad. Pants cost money and those were new, and now we have to throw them away. Also I am kind of frustrated that you can somehow NOT NOTICE that you’ve destroyed your clothing.
Monkey: That is pretty weird, huh?

I was venting about the pants because I was frustrated and upset not just about the ruined pants, but about the fact that yeah, he didn’t notice. It wasn’t important to him and so he didn’t notice. At 10 that means ruined pants. I try not to let my mind go to the place that thinks about what that means at 14 or 18 or 22. I expend a lot of energy either worrying about or trying NOT to worry about what Monkey’s “quirks” will mean for his life as he gets older and should be more independent.

So the thing with the pants happened. And then the conversation where Aspie was treated like a dirty word happened. And all along I’m thinking how times had been really bad, and then they got better, and we’re maybe in a little dip, again, but it’s okay, we’re still all doing okay, and I realized that I focus way, way too much on what Monkey doesn’t have because of the particular hand he’s been dealt in life.

Do you know what Monkey DOES have, perhaps courtesy of being an Aspie?

He has a bright, beautiful smile that is never strained or perfunctory. If he’s smiling, he’s delighted, period.

He has laser-beam focus that, sure, sometimes means you have to call him ten times for dinner, but also means he turns bins of Lego into whole cities in record time, he flies through his piano books, he soaks up novels and equations and anything that catches his eye until he knows it inside-out.

He cannot remember what happened to his pants, but he also doesn’t remember that I lost my temper and hollered at him, or that Chickadee was kind of a jerk to him the other day. He loves and expects love back, and assumes we are our best selves most of the time.

He may blurt out things best left unsaid, but he also showers us with compliments and endearments and fondness, in his same filter-less way.

He has challenges and he has gifts, just like everyone else. He’s maddening, sometimes. He’s a joy, most of the time. He will keep stepping forward and back and having problems and triumphs. I will keep worrying about him, because that’s what I do. But mostly I just feel incredibly lucky that he is mine and I am his.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Don’t let the backwards steps make you forget the forward ones, okay?


  1. Leandra

    I guess I’m naive (or too well-read?) but I just assumed everybody knew what Asperger’s was and I was truly shocked when I talked about it (when it was posited that Punkin might be an Aspie) and nobody knew what the heck I was talking about. And then when I’d say that it’s a high functioning form of Autism, you could just see the looks in their eyes change, like, “Oh, poor you!” It’s NOT a bad word. It’s just a fact of life.

  2. Randi

    I like to think that every child is special. I hate putting labels on anything, because children shouldn’t BE labeled. I understand that it may help others to give them the things they need, but really, Monkey is an amazing child, and the only label that I see that he needs is that of MONKEY!

  3. Sarah

    Oh, yeah, the pants thing. I’ve long ago given up. I have a son who has for years teetered on the edge of “we’d like to fully evaluate and label him” from the professionals, and we haven’t gone there (for a variety of reasons – he’s definitely at the edges of the spectrum, he’s in Catholic school so it’s not like he’ll get any extra resources, we have the ability to give him a lot of the help he needs on our own, etc.) Anyhow…..

    We came, eventually, to the conclusion that we have to pick our battles very carefully, and now that he’s 12 (oh, but 10 and 11 were VERY HARD), we’re beginning to see payoffs. Now that we’ve found the activities that he truly loves, and we’re working with the ROUTINE, and give him lots and lots of down time, he’s a true delight, even as a tweenage boy. But the pants and the glasses and the swim goggles and the gloves? Those are disposable items. Last summer, he went surfing in his glasses. True story! I buy all of these things in multiples, on super sale, because I know they’ll disappear or get ruined, and he’ll never understand why I get upset.

    I feel your pain, sister!

  4. Amy

    Monkey is the best Monkey in the world! I think your whole focus shifts when you come into contact with someone who is just a little bit different from yourself. A dear friend of mine has a 5-year old son who is blind. Every time I am with them, the focus isn’t on his disability, but his abilities. For instance, he can memorize just about anything that he hears. And he’s loving to a fault. I love how you have focused on the abilities that Monkey has despite or in spite of the Asperger’s. As one of my friends always says, different isn’t bad, it’s just different. Also, maybe a creative patch job for the new pants, like a cool fabric that coordinates with the pants or with one of Monkey’s favorite shirts?

  5. Chris

    “He loves and expects love back, and assumes we are our best selves most of the time.” I want to have that ability.

  6. Cass

    I so hear you on the pants thing. I am not sure if this will make you feel better or not, but my son went through that stage of wrecking pants around the age of 10, as well. Our conversations went about the same. He doesn’t have asperger’s but he is um, male. His teachers used to call him the “absent-minded professor.” So maybe it’s just more of a “boy” thing?

    He’s 19 now, going to university, getting top grades and his pants always seem to be intact:)

  7. Ariel

    Happy Love Thursday RIGHT BACK! HUGS too!
    You just made my day. :)

  8. S

    I so needed this particular Love Thursday entry after an extremely difficult week with my son who on many levels strikes so many similarities with how you describe life with Monkey. Thank you for bringing the label “Aspie” into the light. It makes it a little less scary to me as I wonder if that label will be in our future. Reading this, I realize I also need to keep remembering all the gifts my son gives me vs focusing on the things that frustrate me – those things aren’t the problem per se, its my reaction and handling of these things.

  9. Summer

    I’m sure that with Monkey’s smarts and laser-focus, he can easily absorb the instructions on a YouTube video on how to sew a hem, and he’ll be able to turn those ruined pants into shorts.

    And it could be worse — my son came home from school the other day completely unaware that he’d ripped his pants in gym class. Ripped them COMPLETELY DOWN THE BUTT SEAM. Good thing he was wearing a nice clean pair of Calvin Kleins and not his worn-out, four-year-old SpongeBob underpants.

  10. Amelia

    You know, I wasn’t there and so can’t speak for the person you were talking to. In terms of naming and labeling, the only thing I can compare your experience to is my sister’s, who has epilepsy. And none of us who love her is ashamed of that condition at all, but I will be honest with you: if I heard someone say something like, “Well, that’s life with an epileptic!” Or even worse, “That’s life with an eppie!” I would be a little horrified. It helps to know that people with Aspberger’s use the term Aspie; I would never have assumed that.

    I say that not to excuse your listener — certainly I would imagine that anyone who knows you knows that you would never use a pejorative term, especially about your own child — but to explain why he might have reacted the way he did. I’m sure you’re over it by now, but that’s my two cents.

  11. Cindy

    My firstborn, otherwise very mild son, spent the first 13 or so years of his existance ripping his pants legs to shreds. Happily, he is now an upper-teenager and his pants seem to be intact! There is hope!

  12. joaaanna

    “It wasn’t important to him and so he didn’t notice.”

    My now 20 year old stepson has Aspberger’s. I cannot begin to tell you how many times this phrase was said. And I hated it. And it scared me. And sometimes it still does. We had a really, really rough time. Your post doesn’t fix everything for your Monkey or my broken relationship with my stepson. But I would like you to know that your post just made me feel better and a lot less alone. Thank you.

  13. Ellen

    I have had dinner with Temple Grandin, thanks to a mutual acquaintance, which included a discussion of all of the brilliant people who are “Aspies” and their contributions to society. She has several books that Monkey might enjoy when he’s a little older.

  14. Dawn

    You should definitely talk about Monkey more! He seems like such a delightful little boy, quirks and all. Plus it’s good for you to talk about your experiences – for people who don’t know what Aspberger’s is, for other parents of children with similar quirks, for everyone, really.

  15. Half Assed Kitchen

    I so needed to read this today. Having issues with my son, too. Trying not to mope about it. And your post will help me look at his gifts more than his foibles. At least for the next hour or two. :) Thanks.

  16. Bobbie

    You can tell Monkey that my 52-year old husband called me from the office last week (where he sits at a desk all day). He said he had just noticed a huge rip in the knee of his dress slacks, and he honestly did not know how it had happened (they were not neatly torn, not caught on something – shredded, like he had been crawling on his knees)…

  17. Cindy

    Lovely post. Your willingness to share has been a blessing to me. I have a cousin (40 yo female) that I suspect is an Aspie. Growing up with her was painful for ME and I cannot imagine what it was like for her. Her parents were all “THERE IS NOTHING WRONG, NOTHING AT ALL” when it was so, so obvious to the rest of us that she marched to a drastically different drummer. My mother recently asked me if I knew what Asperger’s is and thanks to you, I was able to say yes. She saw or read something about it and was instantly certain that my cousin grew up an undiagnosed Aspie. She has every classic symptom (for girls, which is different from boys) and being undiagnosed brings its own issues. I have no doubt that Monkey’s path is a difficult one and you share that walk with him. That makes my heart melt for you both but I am also incredibly grateful that you share your experiences with us all. It makes me more tolerate of an extremely challenging, but dearly loved, cousin. More importantly, though, you are helping change the way the world views Aspies. And one day, no child will grow up in the quiet desperation of knowing something is terribly different within themselves but too ignorant or ashamed or beaten down to seek answers.

  18. Headless Mom

    Tears, Mir.

    Killing me.

    Your boy is perfect.

  19. RuthWells

    Yes, that is indeed life with an Aspie. It’s good to hear that you are all finding your way.

  20. Ellie

    As frustrating as it is for you Mom — and I’ve been there, it’s maddening — what a gift to be unfazed by ripped pants and such — we could all do with a little more of that perspective. Can you bottle it and sell it?

    I once read a comment from a scientist who attributed his professional success to his Mom who encouraged his learning & creativity. He told this story: when he, despite warnings not to, poured his own glass of milk from a gallon jug, he dumped milk all over the floor. (You knew that was coming.) His mom (she must be a saint!)simply said, “Well as long as it’s all over the floor, let’s have some fun with it and then I’ll show you how to clean it up.” I pray everyday for that kind of coolness in the midst of chaos. I’m working on it, it don’t come easy.

    In the meantime, I for one like Sarah’s earlier comment:I buy all of these things in multiples, on super sale, because I know they’ll disappear or get ruined, and he’ll never understand why I get upset.

  21. carrien (she laughs at the days)

    My 8 yo son and I had a pants conversation just recently.

    “Mom, all the pants I have have holes in them.” [all the left knee btw]

    “The pants I just got last month?”

    “Yeah, I don’t like it that they have holes. you need to get me some new pants.”

    “Um no, I don’t think so, if you care so much about holes you should take better care of you clothes, or learn to patch them yourself. You’ll still be wearing those for a while. sigh”

    I home school so I don’t care if he shows up with holes in his knees. lol

  22. Binkytowne

    Mir! I am shocked that you are not running to amazon to buy iron-on patches for those jeans! My boys is not as old as Monkey but I have to plop those babies on all the time or I’d be buying new jeans once a month!

    Sounds like you are doing everything else right… :)

  23. b

    good job mir. we need to show pride in our labels rather than shame. it is who we are.

    i have anxiety and panic issues and sometimes refer to myself as “crazy” with a smile on my face. i often see a look of horror. why? it is true. the same as saying i am brunette, or i am short. if i can’t be ok with it, how can i expect anyone else to be? aspie, epileptic, they are all descriptions, statements of fact. not insults.

  24. jess

    This is precisely why I’m a crusader for people to be open about their mental and physical health issues. I don’t understand why I should be ashamed that my mom is bipolar (and I’ve been told that it’s something I shouldn’t talk about), because I’m not ashamed of my mother. She’s had a hard life for a variety of reasons, and these things don’t make it easier. We shouldn’t have to speak in hushed voices about depression or hidden physical disabilities, and people just need to get over it, deal with it. None of these things are things to be ashamed of, and the social stigma needs to be disregarded.

    Good for Monkey and good for you for being open about his Asperger’s! The more my mother has talked about her disorder the less she feels cloistered and ashamed and the more people know that it isn’t something that she needs to be quiet about around everyone.


  25. Mare

    b, you sly minx. I’m not a small woman. People react the same way to me when I speak matter-of-factly about my weight. No amount of black could change my shape. I am who I am.

    Mir, you’re doing a fine job. Keep your mouth and mind open regarding your Aspie (I just read about it because of you, so count one less ignorant in the world.) I have been labeled all kinds of things in my lifetime. 90% weren’t true. When people hear a label, they think broken. I hear a label and I think, I wonder what they bring to the table with their different perspective.

    Monkey has a different perspective. The blessings he brings far outweigh a pair of jeans. Binkytowne is right about the patches. Let him pick them out. Patchwork kid to the rescue! Or is that another label?

  26. Karen

    Life is always about gains and losses. While Monkey’s situation might have different bumps to over come, every child has those gains and losses. In that respect Monkey is perfectly “normal”. (Whatever normal means.)

    You should write about it. I bet you touch, teach and help many people with your words.

  27. Dawn

    We all love Monkey, no matter what.

    The only people who are shocked by Asperger’s or learning disabilities or whatever are those who are ignorant of those conditions and have not had the privilege of knowing someone with that particular challenge/blessing. Imagine if we all thought and perceived the world in the same way? What a boring place this would be.

  28. mamabird

    Growth is erratic – two steps forward, one step back. I read that years ago and am constantly reminding myself of that, usually when I’m stuck in the step back and not quite feeling like I’m dealing well. Thank you for reminding me that the one step back doesn’t always have to be looked at in a negative way. Once again you have illustrated how beautiful the challenges of being a parent can be. Your kids are lucky to have you as their Mama.

  29. Karen

    Somehow I missed the original post with his diagnosis… or I would have told you this sooner… My daughter, who has a traumatic brain injury from a car accident..met a wonderful young man two years ago in a Junior college program at Mitchell College designed for those transitioning into the college atmosphere with challenges of one sort or another. He has Aspergers and he is doing very well, what a great personality, smarter than smart, has made many friends despite his quirkiness. And.. as he got more comfortable with his surroundings at school, his differences became less noticeable and he has been widely accepted and loved by all who come to know him.

  30. Meg

    Hi Mir!

    In defence of your friend, I think it might’ve been the phrasing “that’s life with ____” that threw him/her off? Because (to me) that’s the kind of phrase that can be affectionate or can be frustrated or can be a definite put-down? It’d raise my hackles if my husband said something like that about me after telling a story about me, if it was “that’s life with a woman” or even if it was just “that’s life with Meg”, but maybe that says more about my relationship with my husband than it does about the phrasing!

    I love this post, and completely agree with you (not that you need my approval!!) that people *should* talk about these things, and that there’s all sorts of wonderful things about Monkey. I know a little about Asperger’s (not a lot) and I know it’s not a terrible thing by any means; there are some extra challenges for him and you guys because of it, but as you’ve listed, he’s also a great kid for many reasons.

    Hi, I’m Meg, and I love run-on sentences.


  31. Laura GF

    I agree with Amelia — I think your friend’s reaction probably didn’t arise because of any notion that autism is a condition that should be left unmentioned but rather because the way you used aspie comes across as very glib. My guess is it caught her off guard.

  32. mom, again, again

    the more I read about these newfangled labels for oldfangled things, the more I’m convinced my husband, were he a child today, would be diagnosed somewhere on the autism scale, possibly asbergers. In those days it was just having an absent minded professor type of personality.

    He is wonderful in many ways, but also persistently clueless in so many ways. I refer to the things he can’t spare a brain cell for. Having 4 brothers, I recognize his cluelessness is different than theirs–it’s not so much a male thing as him thing, I thought. But, I read about Monkey, or about Heather’s son (she writes ‘the queen of shake-shake) and I think about my husband and especially stories his Mum tells me about him as a boy. Yeah. He’s one of those things, and has come through the bad childhood side of it pretty well.

    Monkey will too, I’m sure of it. But his future wife will probably have to keep a regular watch on his clothing, lest he go off to work with holes in his pants, as my spouse will. Warn her.

  33. Heather

    He really does sound like an amazing kid, Mir. He’ll be okay, and I think mental health disorders (is that an ok term? I think so??) are becoming less of a stigma as people are educated, and I think it’ll be a little better for a man with Asperger’s in twenty years than it is now, you know?

  34. Andi

    Tip: If the “holy knees” becomes an ongoing issue do what my mom taught me to do…. As soon as I buy new jeans for my son I flip them inside out and iron on a denim patch over the knee area. It re-inforces that area and my son has yet to wear a hole through them.
    Happy Love Thursday!

  35. Nicki

    This was the perfect post for me today. And the message to me was a reminder of life’s ups and downs. Revel in Monkey’s ability to remember to good and forget the bad. Let’s face it, we should all be more like that.

    Yay, Monkey! Lesson learned.

  36. annette

    My Alex is 10. All we are doing these days is stepping backwards. It is exhausting and takes a huge toll on all of the family. Please pray for me that we can help him find his gifts and appreciate them. Sigh.
    (And, right now, both pair of glasses are broken)

  37. Rebecca

    Tears! We are having our own issues with our oldest (almost 8) and this all hits home so much.

  38. Crisanne

    I often find myself analyzing my daughter’s personality-worrying over things that might happen some day. Thanks for reminding me to look at how helpful those same traits I worry about can be.

    Have you seen the movie Adam? I’d like to know your opinion on it if you have seen it.

  39. Jen

    I gotta remember the forward steps. The backward steps are a lot louder, though. The 2e ride isn’t one I expected or wanted, but it’s a hell of a ride and I’m glad I’m on it.

  40. Chuck

    Nice writing, Mir! Remembering the positive stuff and not dwelling on the negative stuff is good practice for MANY situations in life, and something I always need to work on.

  41. Cele

    Oh Mir what a hard postition. But I have a bright side… that is a bright side beyond the gleaming brilliance that is Monkey, and also my grandson, and a few other kids I know with Asperger’s Syndrome. Now you have answers, now you have direction, now you can move forward.

    Burp (my grandson) has gone through the ADD, ADHD, and OCD (sometimes anal retentive) medical and medicinal merry-go round. He has been to phychologists, psychiatrists, and now finally a counselor who looks further and addresses the issues. It is a blessing to finally understand and to get him off the darn drugs. The interesting thing to me about kids with Aspergers is they are all great – happy – loveable – extremely smart kids.

  42. Shannon

    Don’t all 10 year old boys (Aspbergers or not) rip out the knees of their pants (over and over and over again) and not know how it happened??? I know my brother and all of his friends did – made my Mom crazy – she just sewed patches on all his pants, even the brand new ones before they were worn.

  43. Lady M

    Hugs to you and Monkey!

    I’m going to stock up on patches to prepare for the future.

  44. Brigitte

    I think it was simply an ignorance thing. I’m lucky enough to have a friend with an Aspie child who was diagnosed when the term was new, and I read everything I could get my hands on about it, as it explained SO much about my family dynamics growing up, and especially my sister. So I don’t find the usage or term shocking, because it’s familiar.

    And “assumptions that might be made about him by those less than loving” because of the label, would be made if he didn’t have the label. Those “less than loving” people find a way, so it’s better to have the label so you can get the help both you and Monkey need.

    I like the iron-on patches on the inside of the pants idea . . until I remembered that’s what MY mom did, and I absolutely detested the feeling of the knee being more stiff than the rest of the pants, it made me crazy. What with Monkey’s sensory issues, maybe just try it on one pair, first! ;-)

  45. Melanie

    Great story – I love your honest, loving style!!!!

    I was laughing during the story because I remember those days, but – I think it is a “boy” thing! My now 18 yr. old boy was exactly the same way at 10 (who am I kidding – he is the same way now!!!). He is *oblivious*.

    Keep laughing. Your monkey sounds like an awesome kid. Ripped pants and all.

  46. Megan

    Good for you and Monkey for owning that label yourselves – it’s yours and what you make of it and that’s power. He’s not just any Aspie, he’s YOUR Aspie and HIS Aspie and he’s fantastic!

  47. Heather

    Thank you! I needed this today. My 9 year old ADHD child has been very trying lately. Sometimes I forget about all the great qualities he posses and focus on the bad. Thank you for reminding me to remember all the good in him!!

  48. Jenn

    Thanks for this. We’re having a rough time right now with our very own label and I appreciate the reminder to focus on all the good things about my crazy kiddo.

  49. Jen B

    thank you for being a champion for Aspies around the world! <3 happy love thursday – even if it's a day late!

  50. Lylah

    Thanks for reminding me of what I love about our own Aspie!

  51. Aimee

    *sniffle* I missed this yesterday, but I am so happy to have read it today.

  52. ramblin red

    Late to this party…

    First of all – THANK you for talking about Monkey’s issues. Before he was officially diagnosed as having Asperger’s you talking about the sensory problems helped me advocate for my own child. My daughter was diagnosed with sensory integration dysfunction in 2007 and she’s thrived since then with the OT and other interventions that the “label” determined she needed.

    Thank you for sharing the frustrations and the triumphs – because we all share in those, whether our children are neuro-typical or not.

    You’re a great mama, Mir, and a great blogger with whom I relate to a lot. Thanks for sharing your voice with us.

  53. Trish

    I work with lots of kids every day. If it’s done in the right way, I’ve found that “labeling” a child can be a very freeing experience for them. The kids discover there is a very good reason behind why they behave they way they do or struggle so in school. They’re not “bad” or “stupid”, they’re simply different…and that’s okay.

  54. Lori N

    With a husband who is epileptic and a son who has multiple food allergies, I’ve never understood people who are uncomfortable talking about disabilities or conditions. These things are a fact of life & if my husband and I joke about “the epileptic on the ladder” when discussing why we don’t do certain things, it is the way we deal with a very real aspect of our lives. (And come on, it’s funny to us!)

    But then again, I’m even open about the huge PITA it was when my kids got lice at the beginning of the school year. (Want to hear crickets — talk about lice to a group of parents…no one is willing to discuss it even though silence contributes to the spread of the little buggers!)

    As for “not noticing” the holes in his pants — that may be part of being a 10 year old. I’m noticing all sorts of things my 10 yo daughter is “not noticing” and it’s driving me crazy. :)

  55. Sheila

    I love Love Thursdays, even when I read the post on Fridays. You remind me to look for the special in the mundane, and to stay on the bright side even when clouds loom.

    Monkey is lucky to have you.

  56. Kyre

    The best thing about Aspies are the love. When my sister looked at a woman in a store and told her ‘you look like a dolphin’ I was mortified. The woman she said it to was appalled.

    But you know what? She said it with such love, with such a smile.

    And…this is the best part…she really did look just like a dolphin.

    Don’t worry too much mamam there are niches out there just perfect for Aspies. I know Monkey will find his. And it will be rough sometimes, but I can tell that he couldn’t be in better hands.


  57. Beth

    As someone who’s ex-husband was diagnosed with Asperger’s after our divorce, I’ll say that I would have given anything to have had a label, to have known what was going on *during* the marriage. Would we still be married? Who knows. Would the marriage have been more fun? Less frustrating? Without a doubt! I can tolerate a lot of quirks from people, indeed revel in them, if I can put their behavior in a framework that makes sense. Instead I created a framework which explained his inability to communicate emotionally as stubborness, refusal to take responsibility for anything, and not caring. When hopelessness set in, I got out of there.

    Your son may or may choose to have a life partner later in life, but if he does, it will be someone who loves and appreciates his strengths and is willing to learn about and work with his weaknesses. I can only think of a label as helping that process.

  58. Theresa

    Beautiful! The love we give our kids will help them in ways we can only imagine.

  59. Tracy

    I’m so glad that Monkey is Monkey and he’s so loved. My Memaw once told will worry about your children you’re whole comes with the territory. When you have grandchildren…you worry about them, more. (That’s refreshing, huh?) Happy Love Thursday (on Friday)

  60. Katie in MA

    Monkey is so lucky to have you for a mama. :) And I know plenty of grown-men who aren’t Aspies and wouldn’t have noticed (or cared) about ripping new pants. My then-husband used to rip his jeans all the time and not notice. I felt like he thought I was the pants-fairy at times!

  61. Little Bird

    I missed this yesterday, not being on-line at all. I can tell you one fantastic thing about knowing the what the label is. When you know what the “problem” is, you know where to go to find the tools to “fix” it.
    My mother for years had no idea why I did the things I did. Or didn’t do the things I didn’t do. When we had a “name” for the “problem”, it allowed us to narrow the search for the things/programs/meds, that would help make things easier. Now that I’m an adult (hee!) some things are easier, others remain a trial, but I know what is going on now. And sometimes even just knowing that makes it a little easier.

  62. The Domestic Goddess

    Drives me nuts when people think I should be embarassed or feel sad or need pity because of my two kids on teh spectrum. One high functioning (PDD/Aspergers, Potato, Po-tahto) one totally not high functioning. After a while I just shrug. The hell with them.

    The label helps us get what we NEED for them. Otherwise? I don’t’ care if you call it eats-nothing-but-pork-and-has-a-vegetarian-mom syndrome. It doesn’t matter. Really. Your monkey is still monkey, regardless of what they call it.

    PS – my kid says his brain is “in a different time zone” or he is “having an autistic moment” to describe when he is in La-la land. I LOVE IT.

  63. mythoughtsonthat

    “He has challenges and he has gifts, just like everyone else. He’s maddening, sometimes. He’s a joy, most of the time. He will keep stepping forward and back and having problems and triumphs. I will keep worrying about him, because that’s what I do. But mostly I just feel incredibly lucky that he is mine and I am his.”

    Really, this could describe any kid, couldn’t it? Peace.

  64. Mom

    I just got to read this after being offline for a few days. Monkey could not hope to have a wiser, more loving mother, nor you a more delightful son. I could not be more proud of you both.


  65. vicki

    As a special needs teacher who ended up having a special needs child of her own, I completely sympatthize with both the reluctance to ‘label’and the acceptance that this will help other help our children. My son is developmentally delayed, almost 5 and not yet toilet trained. He has a great smile, and his communication skills are improving every day, albeit slowly. It’s still hard to keep a smile on my face when people say “oh, no, he’ll catch up” or make it sound like he has a debilitating disease when I mention his diagnosis. We, including his “normal” (mainstream)7 year old sister are so lucky to have him in our lives. There is nothing *wrong* with him!

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