So, while watching the kids playing in the back yard yesterday, the wife made a comment to me about how I seem to be dealing with the issue of the Monster’s Autism differently than she is. The thrust of it was that I seem to internalize it more than she does, and that I’m not really “showing” that it bothers me as much as it does her, et cetera…
It does bother me, feeling like my kid isn’t where other children his own age are. I just find other outlets for my frustration.
The fact is, I can’t fix the problem. I can take steps to try to help him catch up, and I can stand close-by when he’s given the chance to interact with other children to try to guide him in a manner that would be productive… but I can’t “fix” his having Autism.
What I can fix, though, is how I respond to the issue, and I’ll be blunt – when left to my own devices, I essentially deal with it by ignoring it, escaping, and channelling it into other things.
I curl – for those of you who hadn’t noticed what I’m doing in that little avatar of mine or have ignored the references I’ve made to it – and I’m actually sort-of, kind-of good at it for someone who’s been playing for only three seasons. I find being on the ice very relaxing and it’s a couple of hours (longer if I’m at a bonspiel) where I can pretend that everything is absolutely normal and wonderful. Well, at least till folks notice my “Roar Loud for Autism” sweatshirt that I wear on the ice, but that’s another story. 😉
Obviously, I also have work, which keeps me busy forty-hours-plus per week, and being something of a workaholic, it’s easy to lose myself in what I’m doing when I’m trying to get projects going and trying to make sure my subordinates are coding properly.
I also, though, have my foreign languages. Not that we travel a lot – we’ve actually not really taken a serious trip since the Monster was a baby, and a trip to some foreign country seems a little bit unlikely at the moment if we were to start again – but I’ve always been interested in communication and in experiencing other cultures. Playing with languages fits naturally, too, with the fact that I’m a software polyglot, having been the “jack of all trades” for along time in the various companies I’ve worked for. I currently speak four at a decent enough level to get by, and am learning two more… This actually comes in useful, at times, with the Monster because of his obsession with numbers – he currently counts to ten in three different languages and we’re working on a fourth.
Escaping into other things might not be the most “mature” response to the frustrations I feel about it… but it works for me, and lets me feel like I’m at least productive when I’m in my role as Dad…