Thursday, January 15, 2009

They say it's your birthday...

Yeah, that's the Beatles.

I'm coming out of blogging semi-retirement to pay tribute to someone special. Today, TFYO became TSYO, at 6:03 EST this morning. Yes, I remember the moment she was born, because it happened when Ray would normally be doing the news, and I would be getting ready to go on after him for the recap. It seems only fitting that my first child would be born during the first newscast of the day, and that it snowed, even though we were in Charleston, SC.

Last year, I did a little retrospective of TSYO as she had aged over five years. This year, I'd like to come up with a list of her greatest quotes, because honestly, there are a ton of them. Anybody who used to read here regularly knows that TSYO was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder a little over a year ago, and the interesting wiring in her brain lets TSYO see the world a little differently. It also means she lacks an internal editor for her thoughts, which can sometimes be a lot of fun. It can also be dreadfully embarrassing.

When TSYO was not quite two, not yet really speaking in sentences, she had a terrible cold. This was back in the days before doctors decided all over-the-counter cold medicine was bad for little ones, and TSYO's pediatrician told us to give her some Infant Tylenol Cold to help clear her nose and her cough. Now, TSYO has a lot of phobias and anxieties that spring from her autism. Taking medicine is one that's been around from the beginning. Trying to get her to take anything, be it pill, syrup, melty things or other is like trying to medicate a cat. There's usually much howling and a lot of scratching, fleeing and hiding that goes on. Our brilliant pediatrician suggested putting the Tylenol in the sippy cup after I had been thrown to the floor on my last attempt at treating my child. Have you ever tasted Infant Tylenol? It's disgusting. My only guess is that the manufacturers thought that babies weren't smart enough to understand that it tastes terrible, and therefore gulp it down like so much pablum.

I furtively dropped the required dose into her cup, and mixed it with milk. I thought it didn't smell too bad, but the colour was definitely pink. TSYO looked at me skeptically when I handed her the cup. I told her to go ahead, that it was cherry flavoured milk, something new to try.

She sniffed it cautiously. She put the cup to her lips, and slowly took a slurp. Her lovely blue eyes grew wide. They filled with tears. She slammed the cup down on the table and yelled:


And that was that. For two years afterward, she sniffed every piece of food and drink offered to her, and pulled apart every sandwich to make sure we weren't trying to slip her something.

Around the time of her second birthday, we went to the bookstore to pick out some new board books for her. It was around this time that the first Harry Potter movie had come out, and with it a bunch of stuffed toys in stores. TSYO wanted a toy to go with her books, and I let her pick one out of the bin. She chose the three-headed dog called Fluffy. Then, in her exuberance, she took off running towards the cash register waving it's three floppy heads about, shouting "Doggie! Pretty doggie! I love my pretty doggie!" Other parents were aghast. I paid for my Sandra Boynton books, and my three-headed doggie and slunk from the store.

When she was three and a half, TSYO decided that she liked being held. If you know anything about kids with autism or Asperger's, they often aren't really into showing physical affection. Try as we did, couldn't teach her how to give a hug. We'd place her arms around our necks, but she'd only draw them back and wrap them around herself, while giving us what became known as "the pointy chin". Instead of a hug, she'd push herself up against us, and dig her chin into our shoulders. So, when TSYO finally decided she liked hugging, I held her anytime she wanted to be.

We were sitting on the living room floor, her in my lap, her head against my chest, her little arms wrapped around me. She suddenly sat up, and grabbed my shirt and hauled the front of it down and said "Goodness Mommy! What've you got down there?"

Ray fell to the floor and had to crawl out of the room, strangling his laughter as he went. I tried to explain, with a straight face, that grown women had breasts, and when she got older, she'd grow some, too. She pondered it for a moment then said:

"Well, I hope they aren't as big as yours. They're humongous!"

TSYO often says things that sometimes sound mean, even though she doesn't intend to be.

When she was in pre-K last year, I drove her and a little boy on the way to a field-trip. The little boy, like so many little boys, kept asking "How much longer?" I told him it would take about an hour to get to where we were going, and that it was 9 a.m. at that moment.

"Well, when are we going to get there then?" he asked.

I was about to answer when I heard TSYO:

"Um, well, Mommy said it was nine o'clock, so if it takes us an hour, it will be ten o'clock when we get there. That's one hour. Ten is one more than nine, you know? Or maybe you don't know. How could you not know that?" She didn't mean to insult him, I think she really didn't understand how he couldn't know that.

Recently, Ray took TSYO and Baby J to the playground. When they got there, TSYO wanted to go on the swings, but two very large moms were sitting in the only two swings watching their children play. Ray re-learned that anything he says, even quietly will likely be repeated. TSYO asked why the grown-ups were sitting on swings meant for kids. Ray said under his breath that they were too lazy to get their fat butts off the swings and move to a bench. At least, he thought he said it under his breath. Twenty minutes later, when one of the women had vacated a swing, TSYO shouted:

"Hey, look, Dad! One of the lazy people moved their fat butts off the swing! I can go swing now!" Thankfully, Ray was not beaten to death with a snack cake.

Just this past Christmas, TSYO demonstrated her lack of tact yet again at Build a Bear Workshop. Her Nana and PawPaw thought it would be nice for her to get a doll for her birthday, and they took her through the process. TSYO decided to build a boy monkey, named Aaron, who had a guitar (like Elvis Aaron Presley, yes). Part of the process involves stuffing the shell of the doll and putting a heart inside. The sales rep took the half-stuffed monkey from TSYO over her protestations, and handed her a heart. He told her to rub the heart over her heart and make a wish, so that her monkey would have a little piece of her inside. TSYO's response?

"Well, for starters, I wish you'd give me my monkey back."

She did get her wish.

Happy Birthday, my Little Wonder. May your next six years be as interesting as the last.


Anonymous said...

TSYO rocks.

Anonymous said...

SHE's awesome - I can't wait to see her again and, of course, spoil her rotten!

Remember the presents from Auntie Jill I left on her door in NC?

LOL - that was great!
It was like Christmas every day.

Dumdad said...

Bon anniversaire, TSYO!

Kim said...

Happy birthday to your wonderful little girl. said...

Great stories and a big six year old Happy B-day to TSYO!

Sam said...

Happy B-Day, TSYO! Can you talk to mommy about posting more often? Please? We miss her.

the rotten correspondent said...

You know, you want them whip smart and verbal and then you get exactly what you wished for. And then some.

Happy Birthday to TSYO!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Ahhhhh, Happy Birthday to TSYO. Hope it was fun. Life will always be interesting with that one, but how could she be any different with you for a mum Miss Jen. (And that's a compliment.) Hugs.

Mya said...

I know this is unforgivably late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY TSYO! You do forgive me, don't you! I don't have one of those clever programmmes for telling me when my blog-mates have posted, so I wasn't to know there was a post up here!
Hope you are all well and happy and that life is treating you kindly.

Mya x

Andrea said...

Happy birthday to your wonderful little girl.

Acai said...

Happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

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