One Small Bite of the Cookie - Taking it one day at a time.

 One small bite of the....

Two good friends have asked me the same question recently;

"What are you going to do with Bratty, when she grows up?

This is because Bratty is the more severe of my two children and at the moment, the more challenging. But it was also because these friends both have girls, who are growing up.

Girls, because of their biology, approach puberty sooner and in a more obvious way. So as a mother of a girl, you have to take on another level of self care and self management. Something new to cope with.

Boys are a bit easier! Okay, they get a bit tackle happy but that happens with typical boys too, and I have to say, from the age of about 3 months (when they can find it) until, at the last check; 45 years (and counting) that doesn't change.
All that changes is where and when they decide to play pocket billiards, a simple case of "choose your environment." Or in my brother-in-law's words; "there are some things that is okay to do alone in your room; but not in front of other people".

But for girls there is a very obvious change in body shape quite early, followed by the other signs of puberty and then a monthly visitor.
Sorry guys if this offends you but when a little girl becomes a woman, it is very obvious.

My reaction the first time I heard a special needs assistant in the change rooms at the swimming pool, loudly directing a female pupil to attend to herself during her period was: "Agggggghhhh!!!!" and then I went and had a cry in the car.
I decided then and there that my daughter who was 4 or 5 at the time, was going to be "cured" of autism by the time she reached puberty. 

And I could hand over a bumper pack of surfies* with an expression of distaste (as my mother had done) and then forget about it.

Fast forward 3 years and as Bratty is approaching her first communion, some of my friend's girls have reached 6th class, confirmation and are awaiting the arrival of their first period.

Again I actually put my hands over my ears and said, "lalala la!" when asked how I was going to manage this change with The Brat.
And I still feel that way.
Sorry, but this is not going to be an informative piece about dealing with puberty in adolescents with autism**. I have not been there yet and have nothing practical to offer.

And I have no intention of researching the subject at this point, either.**

Nope, this is about taking one small bite of the cookie at a time.
In other words, only facing up to and preparing for each issue, as and when it arrives.

There is a popular allegory about having a child with special needs called
"Welcome to Holland".
It is very nice to read when you first get your diagnosis as it is comforting and explanatory at the same time.
You know you are having a baby, you get your baby books and you talk to your maternal friends and family and you begin to plan and envisage yourself as a mother.

The comparison is planning a trip to Italy.

Then when you do give birth and the child turns out to have special needs, the comparison is that the pilot has landed the plane and announced "Welcome to Holland", enjoy your stay.

So, instead of Pasta and Chianti, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Versace, Gucci, Prada and Armani,
You have Edam and Gouda, Heineken, Van Gogh, Windmills and - Clogs.

So you read up on Van Gogh, get to like Heineken and Edam and Gouda. You find out about Amsterdam, coffee shops and the rest of it. It isn't so bad.

The analogy breaks down with autism when you realise that the plane actually lands in Italy and you are there for a while, enjoying the spaghetti and gondolas, sometimes wandering past a windmill and ignoring it until someone hits you in the face with a block of Edam and says in a Goldmember accent: