Today I’m trying out a new nanny. Here’s the thing: I haven’t told her that J&S are on the autism spectrum yet. I did say “oh yes, they have many delays, they are being seen by specialists to help them catch up.” But in the face of her utter confidence that SHE would be the one to teach them how to _____ (fill in the blank: feed themselves, dress themselves, play make-believe) I withered. I expressed doubt, of course, that it would be that easy. Every child develops at a different rate, she said. Wow, how many times have I heard that?
I know I should be upfront about it. I fear that if I tell her before she’s gotten to know their sweetness, the complete joy that spreads across John’s face when he sees Elmo on Sesame Street or the way Sam sways back and forth to the sound of Baby Einstein music, that she’ll only see the Autism. Even as I struggle to understand that autism is just a part of who my boys are, I feel protective and want the rest of the world to also just see their spectacular light.
I hope she comes back. She is impressed that Sam can do many of the puzzles she offers him. She admires John’s independence, how he can sit quietly for a long time and “read” his books, although I know he is really watching the light catch on the pages as he turns them. She is successful in reaching him though, in having him leave one book and look at a new one. So I do hope she comes back when I tell her.