Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Autism is one of my greatest fears. It used to manifest in an appetite for reading about it, but since I went and had a baby it has become a deep-seated fear.

I still read all I can find about it. Sometimes, morbidly, I look for blogs written by parents of Autistics. I don't comment because I think that would be the ultimate self-indulgence.

Kids don't generally have symptoms for the first few years. Let that sink in. Kids are happily gazing into your eyes, enjoying play with you, laughing, reacting. The change must be wrenching, heart-breaking, horrible.

Tobias is a cool customer. He was sitting in my lap at a coffee shop today, a little tired, gazing at the lights overhead and sucking on his rock star hand (two middle fingers go in the maw). My friend says to her friend, "Can you believe how quiet he is? Can you imagine our kids just sitting in our laps like that? I hope my next one is like that."

And my first thought is not, Yeah, eat your heart out.

It's, No. No nononono.

I should be grateful, I should savor whoever Toby is. I think worry can be evil, and self-centered and obsessive. My Gramma has always called me a worry-wart, since I was tiny, and I think not only is she right, but that wart is an excellent descriptive. Ugly, sad, festery.

My mom-in-law says parent is spelled g-u-i-l-t, but w-o-r-r-y w-h-o-r-e seems just as appropriate.

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