Is he okay??? Is he okay???
Seems like an innocent enough question.
Last Saturday, Little Man had a Cub Scout event. It was scheduled from noon until 6pm, it was designed to introduce new Tiger Cubs and their families to some of the events that Cub Scouts participate in. The flyer indicated that the families could arrive at any time and register between 11:30 am and 4:30 pm. We arrived around 2:30, figuring it should give Little Man plenty of time to experience what "Tiger Day" had to offer. We arrived, picked up our "guide map" and started having fun.
We first stopped at a Civil War reenactment. Little Man got to try on costumes, hold pretend guns (???) and every few minutes, an older man would light a "cannon" and shoot out "cannonballs" (really, tennis balls with the fuzz taken off and painted black). The boys had a blast chasing after the cannonballs...Little Man did not come out with any, but he had a blast all the same. We learned about "Leave No Trace" which is basically leaving the Earth cleaner than you found it. We also learned about hiking safety. Big Daddy and Little Man got to go on a small hike (I was wearing the wrong shoes...note to self...when attending Cub Scout events, how cute you look doesn't matter...comfort and safety does). Little Man (with the help of Momma with the glue gun...oh, how I love hot glue guns) made a neckerchief slide for his uniform, learned how to properly fold a flag and salute it. He also learned about Cub Scout safety and earned his Weeblo badge. All of this activity (and the walking around, it was a LARGE park) took about three hours!!!
The last activity we did was Archery. Little Man had been looking forward to the Archery and/or BB Guns all day. We only had time to do one activity, and Archery did not have a line. We loaded into the truck, and Big Daddy drove us to the area with Archery. For whatever reason (and I am not going to ask at this point) Big Daddy stayed in the truck (???). Little Man was getting more and more excited, jumping up and down, flapping his hands. We were let into the Archery area once the previous group had cleared out. It was set up with eight targets, two archers at each. Nobody came to Little Man's target, and I was kind of relieved. One of the Scout officials (not sure of "rank"...I can't keep them all straight...all I know, he was an adult and he was wearing a uniform with a lot of "decoration") was telling the Scouts how to pick up the bow. Okay, we were already lost at this point. I was trying to pay attention AND keep Little Man from wandering and for him to at least pay some sort of attention. The Scout Guy was zipping (and I do mean zipping...he was going really fast) along with instruction, and Little Man kept asking me if he could play on the playset. I was about on the verge of tears, when another Scout Guy came over and tried to help. After unsuccessfully trying to get Little Man to pay attention, Scout Guy 2 asked "Is he okay?"
What??? It took a minute to register.
"Is he okay?" He asked it a second time, rather quickly. He knew the answer, but just wanted to make sure.
"He has Autism", I said.
In that second, I realized I had never really said those words out loud.
He has Autism.
And I cried. In the three years that we have "officially" known, I had never uttered those three words.
Scout Guy 2 told me that he thought as much, and knew about "the rainbow" and had worked with a high functioning young man in his den for years. He knew just what to do. He gave me a hug and went to work with Little Man. At this point, Big Daddy came out of the truck, figuring "something was up"...really, your wife in tears and an overgrown Boy Scout comforting her??? You think??? It took awhile for Little Man to grasp it, but he did manage to hit the target. I couldn't have been prouder!!! Of course, Scout Guy 2 gave him a few extra arrows to work with, but nobody had to know.
This whole Cub Scout thing is going to take some work, and some patience. I don't know who Scout Guy 2 is, or if we will ever see him again...but I thank him from the bottom of my heart...for understanding.
This post has been brewing in me for more than a week now...it has been a difficult week for Little Man. He is putting more and more pressure on himself. We just wrapped up the first quarter of First Grade, and so far in math and spelling he has only missed two answers. All quarter. Two. That's it. Two. Silly spelling words. All I heard from him was "I'm sorry, Mommy. I will try harder. I'm sorry, Mommy. I will do better." And he made himself so sick, that he threw up. Really??? Am I putting pressure on you, Little Man??? He did not make the Gifted Program in school (he is book smart, not inquisitive enough, though)...and he made himself sick over it. Toys are another sore subject. He does not play anymore, he is afraid of ruining or losing his toys. He threw up in the middle of Costco just LOOKING at new Fisher-Price Imaginext toys. We can't even mention asking anything from Santa this year. Yes, there is a lot going on in his Little World.
And we're waiting to hear from a Child Psychologist.
Yes, Little Man will be seeing a professional.
Big Daddy took him to his annual check-up last week, and mentioned some of our concerns. Our pediatrician agreed, and thought it would be a good idea for Little Man to talk to someone.
I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree. Somehow, I feel responsible. I am sad, but happy. Sad that it has come to this, but happy that he will get the help he needs.
My heart is breaking, but I know...he is okay.
Love to All