Little Bear . . . We tried for years to have a baby. Did way too many fertility treatments. Took medications that made me sick. Finally got pregnant! And then was so, so sick. After 10 LONG months, and a very difficult labor, Little Bear was born via c-section. Both of us had some early struggles. I became very ill and went into heart failure. I was so sick that my memories of those early weeks are foggy. Little Bear had some struggles of his own. He was born with a PFO and had a long Q-T wave (he had a hole in his heart and an abnormal heart rhythm). It was also discovered that he has abnormal blood vessels going to his arms. We'll have to look at that when he's bigger and into sports. Otherwise, it probably won't cause problems. Little Bear's issues resolved with time as did mine. We learned to breast feed and he ate like a champ. And he grew. And grew!
He's always done things his own way and in his own time. From an early age, he sorted his toys, separating out the red objects from the rest. His motor development was a tad behind his peers. He never crawled. When we went to story time at the library, he preferred to lick the outlet cover on the floor rather than to play and interact with the other kids. I noticed these things but didn't worry much about them. To me, my child was perfect. He was all that I'd hoped for. And I loved him like crazy! (I still do!)
Over time, I noticed more and more differences with Little Bear when I compared him to his peers. Autism crossed my mind but it was such a heavy thought for such a sweet boy that I pushed it out of my mind. He would only sleep on certain sheets. And with certain blankets. And even then, he'd hardly sleep. He put everything in his mouth, even after his peers had outgrown that phase. And most of the things he put in his mouth, he'd try to eat. He'd fixate on a single idea or object and be completely unable to focus on anything except that (being a dog, spinning, being upside down, wheels).
When other kids were learning to play with each other, Little Bear was busy licking things. But I loved him like crazy! He was my much wished for child.
Over the years, I've learned that Little Bear does indeed have Autism. And Sensory Processing Disorder. Yes, he's a complicated kiddo. He has tantrums that would make a sailor wither. He picks the prettiest dandelion for me. So yes, he doesn't understand social rules. He knows the names of all the trees in our woods. He has his own little garden. He presents me with many challenges. And he gives me so many wonderful opportunities to learn and grow.
Would I rather have a "normal" child? Would I rather have an easier kiddo to raise? Not at all. I am head over heels in love with my son. And I wouldn't have him any other way in the world. He shows me love. He shows me God. He shows me life. Little Bear has been such a gift to me. I am so lucky that he chose me to be one of his mamas.
Happy Birthday, Little Bear!