Belle at Target
Being Belle, Days with Belle

It’s not always autism

At this point it’s no secret: Belle has autism.

Things like communicating, expressing how she feels (except anger; she’s good at anger), and breaking her focus can be troublesome for her. She always has to have something in her hand, and a lot of times is trying to put something in her mouth that she shouldn’t. We don’t experience a lot of meltdowns, but she’s had them, and they f***ing suck. The worst one led to her putting her head through a window, shattering the glass, and cutting her forehead (story to come). We’ve since replaced all of them with windows that have tempered glass.

This isn’t everything that makes up her autistic characteristics, but it’s a generalization. The truth, though, is that everything she does isn’t always because of autism.

Just like most kids, Belle gets mad, fights sleep, wants tons of chocolate, and takes her sweet, sweet time to do what she’s told. I assume that a majority of parents out there experience these things. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to watch the same movie, or read the same book over and over because it’s their favorite? Even as an adult I do that (Nightmare Before Christmas, Harry Potter)!

A great example is throwing a fit. If we go to Target, and Belle can’t shop the toy section, she gets pissed. It used to be that I could pick her up, and carry her outside while mom paid for everything. Not anymore. Now I have to do battle with her. She hits the ground, flattens out, and plays dead for a bit before getting up to try and get around me. I’ll try to pick her up, but she has this move where she throws her arms all the way up in the air, and arches her back. It makes it difficult as hell to carry her anywhere! So, I usually have to put her over my shoulder, or carry her like a sleeping baby to get outside.

Or how about not eating breakfast, or dinner? Or only wanting to eat the ketchup on the plate? You always want your kid to eat (and eat healthy) because you’re afraid they’re going to starve, but somehow they manage without (same with sleep; what’s the deal?).

Belle also loves to dance to anything with a beat; enjoys looking at pictures of herself, and stopping at one of the many mirrors in the house to admire herself; loves the park; loves her dogs (Jack’s her favorite), and so much more. She’s the epitome of “she doesn’t look like she has autism.” And that’s because it’s not always autism. Most people don’t see the autism in Belle, because autism isn’t all that she is. She’s just like any other child out there–pushing boundaries, and learning all about life.

To me this is why we shoot for acceptance. It’s not about finding a “cure,” or “fixing” our children. It’s about understanding the differences. Children with autism enjoy, do, and feel the same things that every other kid does–just differently.




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