Monday, April 25, 2011

No-Surprise Birthday

Number 9 came as no surprise — which is exactly how C.S. likes it.

On any typical day, his anxiety can kick in pretty quickly but as he was looking forward to today, his birthday and this year, arriving close not only to spring break but also Easter celebrations, his anxiety was revving and grinding between nervous low and high gears. And so, l was impressed when last night he could tell us what he wanted most for his birthday — No Surprises. And so, together with us, he planned it. This morning, we began dutifully following his suggestions.

We did not wake him up. But once he was awake, I made his favorite birthday breakfast, banana pancakes (GF/CF of course).

We skipped early orchestra practice. After a week away, it was the first day back to school, and he just didn't want to rush his morning...and so we didn't. We allowed him to take the transition back to school as easily as he could.

We packed goodie bags to give to classmates as part of an in-class celebration, but my husband walked in with him to support him as he explained his "no-surpise birthday" wishes to the teacher. C.S. ran ahead and beat him to the conversation, he was that eager to have either the reassurances or dispense with the business — who knows, but he took care of it quickly.

I can only hope the rest is going well. The first day back from vacation can be hard for him. He doesn't fit comfortably into his routine any more it seems and after spending so much time with family, he misses us.

And of course, there was all that sugar this weekend. One of these holidays, I will follow through with my vow to ban all the candy once and for all. It just seems to make difficult days even harder for him. Easter Sunday was one of those. I don't know if it was the too-early-rise with morning expectations of his Easter basket, unexpected huge crowds at church (I should have thought to prepare him for that, oops) or the sugar that over-shadowed his healthy breakfast or who knows what ... but Easter Sunday was a very Autie-day for us. That's another story, for another blog post I suppose.

I've been away from the blog for a while, but I'm back now with a week full of events to process, silver linings to collect and moments to inspect — still my first order of business on this Monday is to un-surprise my sweet C.S., for his special day, his 9th birthday.

Silver Lining: I celebrate my son everyday, but especially today. And honestly, despite the trials with extreme GI intolerances, sensory, auditory processing and all-round autism disorders, I wouldn't change a thing. He has taught me so much. He has lead me into new territory and to new understanding. Nine years ago, on that day I can so vividly recall, it was something I never expected from my infant son — that from that day forward it would be he that would be the teacher. But now that he is 9, it is time to stop being surprised by this unexpected role reversal and just do what I can to help him understand what, from my experience, he might expect.

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