You always wonder about the second child, or first, last, or whatever child doesn’t have autism. You wonder of many things, but one specifically…will that child feel left out. Will that child feel the same support and encouragement you give the child with autism. Because after all they are capable of learning much more rapidly from their surroundings, their environment. Ava does notice even at the early age of two, how much therapy Cali receives. That Cali gets to ride Brownie (hippotherapy horse) and she does not. That Cali gets to play games and make-believe with Madi for four hours a week. That Cali gets to play with the ipad, laugh, and learn with Dawn for three to four hours a week. Where does Ava fit in?? A reasonable and plausible thought for Ava to consider. This morning her potential thought of where does Ava fit in became my own and I quickly decided to fit her in.
Most mornings the girls will wake up at, relatively, the same time. They come straight to our room and ask, “Mom, can I watch a show?” No matter who asks the questions, Cali always gets to pick. Why? Because Ava usually goes along with no disputes and if she does protest, she gets over it within seconds. What would you rather pick…Cali, who tantrums for 10-20 minutes or Ava who puts up a 30 second fight. I choose Ava every time!!
Well, this morning the thought where does Ava fit in changed my routine pick and I opted for Cali’s fit.
Ava wanted Arthur and Cali wanted Cat in the Hat. I quickly told Cali, “Today is Ava’s turn and tomorrow is Cali’s turn.” The walls began to shake, the roof was quickly caving in and my once happy and content mood was wiped out. Casey was in the other room and wasn’t having it, so he walked in, and calmly picked up Cali and said, “I think you need a break.” Aside from the unpleasant situation, I wasn’t pleased at this therapy technique he was using!! Although just like me and all the rest of us, this was preceded by him wanting to pull his hair out and probably yell!!!! The next 15 ish minutes were hell and each second passing made me regret my choice. But the choice was made and I wasn’t going back. Ava was happy as a clown watching Arthur and Cali was in her room kicking holes in the door.
While I reconsidered my choice by each passing second, I couldn’t hide the feeling of relief and validation that came from watching Ava happily watch her show. She needs deposits too and this was definitely a positive one. This was a big moment for us all.
Small but big.
I don’t think Ava will rid herself of the thought where does Ava fit in, but what kid, regardless of the situation, will ever go through life not thinking at one time or another, where do I fit in. The thought will inevitably come, but I can do my best to limit making decisions that ultimately lead to insecurities in Ava.
Cali was beyond repair, so we left her in her room for her “break” and walked out. Casey went on with his business, I went to do a 15 minute “mom trying to work-out” exercise, and Ava stayed content watching her show. After a good twenty minutes passed and surprising silence came from Cali’s room, I walked back into my own. There was Cali lying on the bed perfectly content to be watching Arthur with Ava.
Aren’t I glad I fit Ava in…