Connor seems to have turned a corner in his life. Or perhaps we’ve turned a corner in OUR lives.
After constantly battling my son over nearly everything since he was old enough to move on his own, I find myself with a mostly compliant child. I ask him to clean up his messes and he does. I ask him to sit in his seat, and he does. I ask him to stay inside and he does! Sometimes he even does things without me asking, like cleaning up spills, or getting in bed. And honestly it freaks me out!
Where has my angry, defiant child gone?
Connor happily leaves me to accompany the various adults that rule his life: teachers, coaches, therapists, instructors. He suddenly loves them all!
Obviously Connor is still a 3-year-old pain in the butt, sometimes. He still wants his own way, on his own terms, in his own time. He still wants to sleep in. He still torments the dogs by pulling their tails. He refuses fruits in favor of bread. He loves Cars 2 to the point of obsession. And though I’ve never been the parent to an average child, I feel like this is pretty average behavior for a precocious preschooler. (Yes? No?)
Sure Connor still tantrums in public. Sure he threw my tomato plant into the hydrangea just yesterday. And yes, sure he’s resisting potty training with all his might. But if taken in the context of an average childhood, instead of an autistic childhood, I feel like I could safely label my son as a stinker, rather than worrying about whether each incident indicated some underlying behavioral issue.
We are absolutely a long way from mainstreaming. We have miles to go on the communication issues, eye contact, and peer interaction. We have setbacks. We have days of bad behavior. We have regression when Connor is sick or extremely tired. We have power struggles and I still want to pull my hair out nearly every day (but what mother of a preschooler doesn’t?). We still have challenges ahead.
But it makes my heart glad to see the progress we’ve made. And I can confidently say that for the first time in his short life, I have a happy child.