Today is my son’s birthday. He’s eight.
I used to feel that I needed to spend the day writing about our diagnosis story. It felt important to me to talk about these challenging hours, days, and week as we transitioned from shock and mourning to the deep pleasures of parenting our new baby boy.
But you know what? Not anymore. Nico is eight. Let’s just talk about him.
He’s mature and smart. He’s a good reader. He loves school and has lots of people he enjoys being around there. He likes to play Minion Rush and listen to my Irish band’s CD (not yet sold in stores) on repeat. He’s just getting into drawing and coloring. He’s a much better remote-control car driver than his neurotypical younger sister. He loves swimming, adores water parks and slides, but hates spraying water features (which makes it complicated).
We spent the day at the aquarium, because while he likes people, he’s never been too in to lots of them coming over to his house (so no home party) and he doesn’t like cake. Next year, though, maybe an off-site party. Maybe.
My favorite thing was seeing him watch the dolphin/whale show and every time they did a jump, he’d do a little kick with his feet. Also his delight of our blueberry-fig bar “cake.”
|Nico claps for his cake, a bowl of blueberries with two fig bars and eight candles.
This just after we, as a team, blew them out.
There remain many challenges, including social ones. For example, so far, Nico hasn’t been invited to a single playdate or birthday party or anything by his classmates. I think this is the next big social goal – getting his classmates not to see him as a fun and funny guy to hang out with at school, but as a friend, a fully complex human being worth more engagement. Someone to invite over. Someone to play with outside of the 8-3 contours of school. I’m not quite sure how to get there, but I’m thinking about it.
Or maybe that’s wrong. Maybe in the “inclusion not same-ness” mantra I like to use, we can focus on the positives of inclusion and not worry if Nico isn’t being invited over. Things are mostly positive here, and we are grateful.
And right now, my wife is hanging out with my son on the couch. There’s giggles. My daughter is eating chocolate. Life is good.
Here’s my writing for the week. I filed three essays that I hope to see next week, including a VERY EXCITING ONE for tomorrow. I blogged about:
- Contingent Faculty and #FreeCommunityCollege – Demand that the new plan comes with investment in teachers.
- Divide and Conquer in the Republican Congress – The GOP likes to play different groups of the needy off each other, because it works.
- Portland Police – On a new policy for addressing people with mental illness. “Just back off.”
- Disability and Self-Driving Cars – Self-driving cars could provide a major accessibility boost to society.
- Slavery and Disability in Korea – Slavery is a global problem in which we all participate. Here’s a peak into one ugly corner.