Alternatively titled: “Oh My God, How Cute Was Jack as a Toddler?!?!”
I’ve spent so much time thinking about Jack and when he might have first exhibited signs of his autism. I find it so difficult to remember when he did what and whether it was a sign of his autism. Part of that is because time has muddied the water and it’s hard for me to see all the way back.
Part of it is also that I had three children in the space of three and a half years (Jack being the middle), so there was a good chance that I was doing a little sleepwalking during the first few of Jack’s years.
I remember specific things. I remember that he always would play happily by himself, amusing himself with his toys, instead of needing my attention all the time. I remember that he didn’t try to show things to us; he didn’t seem to need to share experiences. I remember that he didn’t point, and when he finally started to, it was with his thumb.
I also remember some beautiful eye contact, super cuddles, and giggly tickling.
Today I was going through some old photos. When I was looking at photos from Jack’s early toddlerhood, I kept trying to remember if we had suspected the Jack in the picture of being autistic. I know all the dates of when we had him evaluated and when we got him diagnosed, but I look at early photos and wonder if that Jack’s mom had started to wonder about how quiet he was.
Now, when I look at the photos, I see things in very young Jack that I see in five-year-old Jack. I see things that very young Jack’s mom didn’t see.
I see an intense and prolonged interest in certain toys, books, and pictures that extended past what other kids his age had.
I see bits of his autism peeking out of the corners of these photos. But I also wonder how important seeing those bits is. I think that maybe it is more important to see my beautiful, loving, autistic, adorable little guy.
Cross posted at Trusera.