Knox is now three-and-a-half years old. It’s almost impossible for me to believe that it’s been over a year since he was diagnosed with Autism. I remember the sting of those words like it happened five minutes ago. It was, by far, the most devastating moment of my life. I sat and wallowed in that for a day or two, and then I moved on. That day has passed, the pain is behind me and we are moving forward. There are days where I tear up thinking about it, where I feel like I will burst with frustration because I don’t understand why he’s upset and days where I just know that I will scream at the top of my voice if he strips down and pees on his sheets one. more. time.
Luckily for me, the good days outweigh the bad. Knox is such a joy to parent. Yes, a lot more has to go into parenting him than your average little boy- there are many more hours of therapy, more time spent trying to capture his attention and more time explaining your instructions. But there is also more time laughing at his silliness, more time cuddling and more time just watching him. He has come such a long way. He is the most genuinely happy child I have ever met. Everything is a new adventure for him. I love to watch the way that he plays. He loves the “Little People” toys and small things he can hold in his hands. Sometimes I’ll walk up on a scene he has set up and stepped away from- the other day there was a small Grover fire truck surrounded by a two toy sheep and two small rubber ducks. What were they talking about?? What do all of those little characters have to do with one another? Hopefully one day, I can ask him and he will be able to tell me. For now, when I see him holding his little toys and speaking gibberish to them, I just marvel at the fact that he is pretending- something he never used to do.
Sometimes he holds a toy in front of his eyes and squints at it. Or looks at the television through the spaces between his fingers. He likes to make things look differently than they normally do. I guess that’s what the world is to him, though, it’s a different and more exciting place than it is to me. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He is just himself. It’s me that worries what his peers will think of him or say to him- Knox doesn’t care at all. He is secure, comfortable and just so happy to be Knox. I love that. I wish I was that way, too, because God knows just how much I care about what other people think about me. If something seems like fun, he does it. There’s no regard for what’s appropriate or “normal.” If he sees a little pool filled with water, he’s going in- whether he’s dressed for it or not. Because swimming is fun- who cares if you’re wearing a polo shirt and plaid shorts? Not Knox. I’m glad for that. That he is so content and happy just on his own.
I am so glad that Brody is younger than Knox- he will never know anything differently than having a big brother that acts the way Knox does. Brody loves him unconditionally, just like we do. He thinks that Knox is the best and most exciting person on the planet, and his sweet, short legs move at full speed to keep up with him. Knox’s first smile of the morning is usually reserved for Brody when we walk into his room together. “Bwo-dee!” he says and gives him a hug and tickles his chubby cheek. Brody squeals with delight and plops down right on top of him. Brody loves for Knox to hold him, and Knox obliges, even though Brody is way too big for him to hold in his lap. Brody just wants to be with him.
In this short year, Knox has gone from saying single words to phrases, and now he even tells jokes. He has learned how to tell the difference between hot and cold, and loves to tell us if our drinks are cold or “too hot!” He has grown accustomed to seeing his parents with cups of coffee (our bridge to sanity) in the morning. He knows not to touch it because it’s hot (“fire, hot, owie!”). The other week we were all sitting squished together on the couch, and he looked at us and said “Cockey, hot!” We said “yes, Knox, coffee is hot!” Then, he got the silliest little smirk on his face, looked back and said “Cockey COLD!” and started giggling like crazy. We all laughed together at his joke, which has become his favorite one, and such a small, brief moment has become such a beacon of hope for me: Knox is in there. It’s hard for his personality to come out through words, sometimes, because words are so hard for him. But sometimes, he bursts forth in ways we can’t miss. I love to hear his sweet voice, and even if he can’t speak in full sentences yet, I know it will come. He’s on his own schedule, and he is his own little person. He likes himself, and so do we. I wouldn’t change him. Not one single thing. I love him more than the words he can’t say.
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