It’s funny, now that Zachary is almost 14 and growing up to be a fine young man, I don’t really remember the difficulties of the early years. Well, I do but given how difficult it was at times, I don’t have terribly vivid memories of each and every year as it happened. It’s all become a bit of a fuzz (oh…Happy New Year BTW xx)
“I don’t know how you do it…” is a phrase I’ve heard more than once since 2006, the Year of the Diagnosis and I’ve never really had an answer because I don’t know how I did it either, I just did.
Zachary Christopher Rae was a much wanted second child. Dominic knows I was not planning to have children but he also knows that having him and his younger bro’ has been the most amazing thing ever to have happened to me (and I’ve sung with Barry Manilow at the Albert Hall so that’s saying something). When I visited my GP to discuss my dates, he laughed his head off. When I asked why, he explained Zachary was due on my 40th birthday. He very kindly popped out two weeks early but still, most people have teenagers or even grown up children by the time they are 40. Not me. I’m now almost 54 and still have a few years left on the school run.
The story of Zachary’s diagnosis is quite a long drawn out one so I won’t blog you to death about it all but suffice to say, between the delayed speech and language, hitting anyone who took his toys (because he simply didn’t have the vocal skills to tell them not to), lying down in the middle of the pavement, screaming at the top of his voice (still not quite sure why he did this), kicking me in the head if I bent over to pick up a toy from the car floor (probably just because he could), asking to watch the same programmes/films over and over and over again, wanting to eat the same foods over and over and over again (no change there then) and the endless explaining to other parents why Zachary had hogged the swing/ball pit/slide for an hour, it was an interesting few years. Two friends had spotted things about Zachary they felt should be investigated but I had pooh-poohed them; there was NO WAY ON EARTH my son was autistic, don’t be so daft.
But he is. And he always will be. He towers above me now, I am 5ft 2 ins and he is about 5ft 10ins. He weighs 12 stone and I can’t make him eat his peas/do his homework if he’s not in the mood. I used to be able to pick him up and fling him over my shoulder if things weren’t going well but now, I have to negotiate. Thankfully, his speech and language have come on in leaps and bounds and he recently won an award for his Halloween Poem in school. I am so proud of him, I’ve added it to this blog.
I love Zachary to the ends of the earth but that doesn’t mean life isn’t difficult with him at times. He likes what he likes and woe betide anyone trying to take him out of his comfort zone or make him go to a restaurant he doesn’t like because he once had a sub-standard pizza. Just as well he isn’t a food critic. Autism is a fascinating condition and increasingly, people know more about it but there are still times I notice people can’t quite fathom this enormous boy with the very loud voice who has a really rather charming and inimitable way of putting across his feelings and opinions. Those who do know him are usually very fond of Zachary and thankfully, he has always been popular in school. This is not always the case and my heart bleeds for my fellow parents whose children are bullied and ostracised. It must be so awful to know other children don’t understand your child and don’t include them in playground activities.
So, there you go. My first 2016 blog post and I’ve barely scratched the surface of ‘the A word’. I wish you all a happy, healthy 2016 and I hope to keep blogging at you for another year. Fiona xxx (don’t forget to read Zachary’s wonderful poem – here it is..)
Tongue of a rabid, grizzly bear
Ear of a ferocious, flea bitten hare
Twelve year old dusty alcohol
A sinful man’s black soul
Metal from an ancient, cursed blade
Bones from a murder that has just been made
A snake’s scaly head from Medusa herself
The burnt toe of a man born with wealth
A drop of water from the Tsunami of Japan
Seven drops of blood from an HIV man
The throat and teeth of a complete liar
The sinful man’s skull burned in his own fire
The oldest fang of a raging dragon
Ancient oak wood of an old man’s wagon
A thirty two year old filthy diaper
Venom from the corpse of a young viper
Fossilized egg of a baby wyvern
Piece of a ginormous, half chopped worm
Rib of a homeless man, died of starvation
The sinful thoughts of an entire nation
Evil, death, poison and sin
Let mankind’s dark times begin