Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A quick analogy...

I spend a lot of time trying to come up with anecdotal 'frames of reference' for the things I see in Billy that are clearly not in me... the 'autistic things' for want of a better phrase.

Yesterday, we took a return trip to Wizzy World, the scene of Billy's amazing breakthrough. It was truly the sort of place that I had just wiped off our radar - noisy, full of kids, intense and truly the sort of place that makes me sweat with fear.

Well, since his friend's birthday party he's been begging to go back, and yesterday (despite the fact that it's mid school holidays) was the day I caved. I did the usual autism mother algorithm:

time of day + possibility of huge numbers of kids - hours left in the day x what kind of a day is he having = just go and see what happens.

And so we went.

This time, we did not need our Wizzy World Angel. Billy led the way. This was his gig now. He was Wizzy World. Bizarrely (and wonderfully) he introduced himself to stranger (as in 'don't know them' not 'odder than him') kids. He played with kids (quietly, passively... but I'm taking it). He had a blast.

But one thing eluded him. The big slide.

He really wanted to go down one of the big slides (and when I say 'big' I'm talking about the sort of g forces that make little kids look like fighter pilots as they slide down).

So, right at the end of the session, when all the kids were putting their shoes on and freebasing restorative sugar, I agreed to climb up to the top of the structure with Billy, and slide down the big slide. I wasn't thinking about what my almost 42 year old face was going to do in all that wind resistance, or the kind of muscle usage I was going to require to get up there. I probably should have, but... in the light of what I discovered, I'm glad I didn't.

We made our way up squishy rock walls, around squishy rollers, through jungles of elastic, over perspex panels and freaky rope bridges... until we reached this strange part of the tower. The last stretch before the top of the temporary face-lift slide. It was vertical. It had little shelves at various levels. It needed me to enter, then twist and turn like a snake to get to the top (which, incidentally, I could not see).

Billy had already gone through, and was calling me. I had to get through it, because his only way down was on the big slide. And there was no way he was doing it alone.

I've never had a real panic attack, but yesterday, I believe I came close. I couldn't think straight. I couldn't see how to get from here to there. My brain was going all Dr Seuss, trying to bend itself in ways my body was thinking were not even remotely possible. But Billy was calling.

Hormones fought with Thinking and Hormones kicked butt - despite the fact that Thinking had made no plans at all.

I have no idea how I made it through but I did. And as I did, I had that Richard Dreyfus feeling again... I sat on the top of the slide, gripped Billy in a bear hug on my lap, and set off down the slide thinking 'This is important...'

Between the muscle twitching and the relief that we could finally go home, I couldn't put my finger on why it was important, until I talked it through with my friend this morning.

I think what I felt yesterday, when faced with something that I could understand, but not deconstruct was what Billy feels a lot.

  • I know what's expected (get to the freaking top, no matter what).
  • I can plan the first step (jam my middle aged body into a child sized hole).
  • Beyond that, I have no idea (get stuck, need to be extracted by a helicopter, feature on news that night)

I needed to be able to process clearly, plan logically, have full capacity of all my muscle based bodily functions... and let me tell you there was no hope of any of those things. It took a leap of faith, powered by mummy hormones. Thank Christ for those mummy hormones.

Thank you Billy for having the vision and the energy to make it through Wizzy World. And for making me a mummy so I had the hormones to un-wedge myself from the primary coloured corners of hell.


Jenni said...

LOL! I shouldn't laugh, but the image of you stuck in that tower is rather amusing. Beyond that, though, this is a brilliant analogy. It is not often that one gets a real clear idea of what life is like for our kids.

DQ said...

Thank you Valerie, I just laughed till tears came into my eyes. I have been in similar situations, and I think what helped was indeed those hormones. At least you both made it out of there without needing a helicopter to rescue you :)

Ro said...

Oh, gawd!
The tower of Doooooom!
Yay for the hormones ;)

carriemumof2withasd said...


i could picture up there sooo funny.

Super job by billy, what a big step for him.

Fi said...

I'm not sure which one of you I;m prouder of!
Well done!