Yes I hate small talk. How many kids (finally got that answer down, I'm not obligated to explain which are here with me, so I leave it at two). And if I just explain names and sex most people won't go to ages.
Thus large social functions are minefields at times for me.
Last year I felt knocked down when a Mom was grouching about her new baby and lugging everything around.
Fast forward to this year, same location, same Mom. "I hate when my 18 month old son cries all the time...".
18months. Perry's age, the one he grows to sometimes in my mind and I see him sitting with his siter in the floor playing with little people together. He'd be this exact age now, just old enough to be more than just a foot connection on the floor when my daughter colors. It's part of the sad regret because even if we have another haelthy child I worry the age gap will be so big there will not be a child that can play remotely near her level. And she wants that so badly- why I wind up sitting awkwardly on the ground playing candy land.
Chris tensed. Did he hear it too?
So I asked why. She mentions she thinks her kid is autistic and she finds it frustrating because he gets mad and crys. He's not talking yet or is very far behind at the least.
I think what let me get over the comment, was the thought of that little boy being so frustrated at not being able to communicate. And Mom responding in turn with frustration. I'd cry too if I were that child! I've followed one of my online friends with a child with autism, and it isn't easy for her little guy and I imagine for her.
I remember buying videos and checking out books on sign language before Emily was even crawling. I didn't want her to be frustrated. As it turns out, Emily was an active little girl and took the track developementally that most boys do- focusing on the physical and letting the verbal stuff wait a bit. The sign language really removed most of her communication frustration and it seemed to help her learn language better. When the word was paired with the symbol, she got reinforcement and when I couldn't understand her words exactly, they were made more clear by her motions. My husband jokes that sometimes Emily speaks in Swahili and I am the only one who understands it- that is primarily because I could also learn to pair the words that she uttered with her symbols.
Sign language was something I was starting to do with Perry. I always start with I love you, and I think I can remember him wiggling on his changing pad in delight and kicking his diapers on the floor in response. I have to give myself credit as a parent here, because while my first instinct was to move the diapers, he liked kicking them off so much I'd just pick them back up and set it in range of his feet again. So I can tell myself I loved him and didn't always parent out of convienence. Easiest, no. Great memories in the making- sometimes.
To this day, I'll make the I love you symbol with my hands, and Emily smiles or shoots me I love you back. If she is close enough, she makes the symbol with the alternate hand and presses the three upright fingers against mine. I have vague memories of her flashing the symbol to Perry as well. We would have been great teachers together, Emily and I.
So instead of saying to be thankful or running to hide, I suggested sign language.