what I see

The first two weeks of Noah's life were pure bliss. I had an easy and pretty fast delivery with zero complications. Except for Noah having slight jaundice, he was {and still is} perfect in every way. During his hospital newborn photo session, he was so awake and his eyes danced around the whole time. I remember the photographer saying she normally doesn't see babies so alert at two days old! I knew then I had a pretty special little guy:) And then just like that we were home, with a newborn. And oddly enough everything was so easy, and effortless. My mom had said, 'this is a sign. he's going to be a laid back, easy kid." And I distinctly remember feeling not so convinced..

And by his first month, everything had changed. Noah was crying more than he wasn't. He had silent reflux and was chronically constipated. He also developed a rash/ chicken skin all over the backs of his arms, legs and cheeks. At the time, I didn't understand that this wasn't normal. I was new mom, and I myself have always had digestive issues. Now looking back, I know none of these things were okay. And these were the first signs to lead to Noah's diagnosis.

As the months went by, the milestones were fewer and further apart. I actually can only recall Noah rolling over twice, maybe three times? That was it. He started crawling at twelve months, and once he was on the move he was the clumsiest kid I'd ever seen. He would run into the walls, and trip over everything. Then I realized, he must not be able to see! That's why he's so clumsy, and holds books right up to his face, and doesn't point or imitate us. I thought this is it. We'll get his vision checked, get him little glasses, and everything will be fine.. Turns out he had perfect vision, I was wrong.

And really it was more than just his clumsiness and delays. I remember how reserved Noah was. He was totally content watching everyone, and taking it all in. But he would never want in on the action. Nor would he try to take things or food away from people. I always thought that was odd because from what I've heard & seen, babies were into everything.. not mine.

Noah also didn't like when we gave him any direction. This was one of the hardest things for us, and still is. He didn't like us showing him anything new. Or teaching him things. And he still really doesn't. Right before his second birthday is when it had gotten the worst. My parents could barely talk to Noah or even really look at him without him getting upset. It was a pretty scary time. And I mentioned all of these things that were happening to our pediatrician, and he brushed it off as, "he's just behind, he'll catch up, and less than 2% of the population truly has a milk allergy.." {Noah was a whole new kid once we removed dairy from his diet}

But there was a time when I was asking every single professional person we came in contact with if they thought Noah had autism. And everyone said they didn't see it. Because Noah loved to be around people. He smiled at strangers. He noticed every time someone entered a room. He loved nursery rhymes. He loved when his dad would carry him around, and being ticked. These were all the reasons he didn't have autism. But deep down I knew.. and by his second birthday, I stopped askin everyone around me the question. I had known the answer all along, now I just had to accept it. Fast forward a year later and I have. We've come so far, and sometimes I'll admit that I forget that. I focus on all that we are not doing, instead of all that Noah has accomplished. I'm working on it though.

Autism doesn't discriminate. And it's not just kids lining up toys, flapping, and having meltdowns.. the spectrum is vast my friends. And for the longest time, me and the people around me didn't believe Noah fell on it. He was too happy. Too social. Too cute.. but guess what? He is all those things, and he has autism too. It doesn't define him. It's just something he has. It took me some time to realize that, but I truly have. And I know all of you see what I see.. just Noah.

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