Sunday, July 4, 2010

Autism Speaks

My normally sullen teen has been very chatty this weekend. Talking to him is so interesting. He is 15 in so many ways--what with all the grunting and eye-rolling and wanting to shut himself up in his room. But in other ways he is such a young boy, learning how to relate to people and approaching life with such an earnest innocence.

We were working in the garden Friday morning. As you can imagine, our children do not usually embrace this activity and can be somewhat reluctant to leave the house when invited to pick vegetables. Being told they get to eat them is not much of a motivator, either. So after some more traditional parental persuasion, Austin and I had the following conversation:

Austin: I'm exaggerated!
Me: I don't think that's the right word.
Austin (very grumpily): Yes it is!
Me: What's exaggerated mean?
Austin: I don't know.
Me: I think you mean exasperated.
Austin: Yes.

This exchange was followed by my husband and I sharing many examples of exaggeration that were so entertaining, my son was actually glad to be picking beans with us. Okay, I'm exaggerating.

What I love most about these conversations is that they are so ordinary. It has taken my son many years to achieve ordinary conversation. The fact that he would now rather make the effort to construct original thought than fall back on his old scripting method of speaking (in which he would recite whatever line from a book or movie seemed most applicable to the moment) makes even his grumpiness music to my ears.

The best one came the next day, though. Austin had taken a bad tumble in our driveway and was covered in nasty cuts and scrapes. I was giving him advice on how to best care for his injuries and he said to me, "I know I can trust you, because you are a righteous mother."

Some days it's just good to be me.


  1. I love some of the things that come out of children's mouths. After the lesson is all taught in Sunbeams on Sunday I love to just sit and listen to the kids interact. Cracks me up.