In a lot of ways, Dex is like every other almost four year old.
He is impulsive, can be loud, messy.
He has selective hearing.
He loves dinosaurs and cars.
He loves Peppa Pig (who fucking knows why omg I hate that show) and Octonauts.
He wants to be Ironman when he grows up.
He also gets ridiculously anxious in social situations and has stupidly high expectations of himself already.
Expectations which cause him so much stress and heartache.
The other day, he drew me a picture and instead of saying “Wow, can you tell me about it?”
I said: “Wow, what is it?”
And he looked me dead in the eyes, replied “Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t even matter.” screwed it up and put it in the bin.
He will throw things out if a square is not right. A circle is not right. A rectangle is not right.
He comes into my bed 4 – 5 times a night because he just wants a cuddle and wants me to tuck him back in.
He doesn’t like things that are noisy or people that run up to him if he hasn’t met them.
He was bullied recently at daycare with children calling him a baby and then pulling his pants down (the situation was well handled by his daycare!) but when he told me about it, he was so upset and humiliated by being called a baby.
He is adamant he is a big boy.
He is particular about the feelings of different things on his skin – buttons, how tight his shoes are laced, hoods.
We have meltdowns if his velcro is not in the right place it should be when we put his shoes on.
He loves helping with dinner and can confidently wield a steak knife to chop all manner of vegetables.
He washes up better than my 18 year old sister.
All of these things may be normal. They may just be what an almost 4 year old boy does.
But I don’t know. I’ve never had an almost four year old boy.
And the tears my little boy cries are not for the same things other children cry about.
Don’t get me wrong – there are still tantrums about wanting toys/food/things he can’t have, but middle of the night meltdowns because he just wants me to put him back into bed they just hurt my heart.
And the way he copes when any of these things happen, when he is stressed or sad or unsure – he puts his cheek against mine and rolls his against mine. Or he kisses me over and over. Or he puts his forehead against mine and his nose touching mine and stares into my eyes.
These make me sad because how does he cope when I’m not there?!
Finally, I found a doctor who listens.
He referred me (for Dexter) to an OT just to make sure.
And that’s all I want. Just to make sure.
I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can for my sensitive little boy.
I want to make sure that in this tough world, he has a source of comfort.
I want to make sure that he knows he is brilliant. That making mistakes are okay and that it is how we learn.
I just want him to be safe, happy and himself.