I had my heart broken today. I realize that my younger children are going to ask questions about Chandler and autism. And I am very matter of fact, and I try to explain it in a way they can understand. I was mortified a few weeks ago when my 3 and 4 year old were watching old home movies with my mom (who is in a wheelchair from MS), and he pointed out to her "Hey Grandma, that's when you could walk!" She just smiled and said "Yep, it was." I pulled him into the other room and calmly explained how that might make her feel. I thought I did a pretty decent job.
Tonight, Chandler had a massive meltdown, complete with kicking and screaming, pinching and crying. I was on my very last nerve and I sent him downstairs to his room to calm down. Elliott thoughtfully ate his peanut butter toast, and he frowned and turned to me "Mom. Why does Chandler have autism?" Me: He was born with it, it does things to his brain. Ell: Can you take it out? Me: No, sweetie. Ell: Can you fix it? Me: No, honey, I can't. Ell: Can Jerot fix it? He fixes a lot of stuff. Me: No he can't. I wish he could. Ell: Well, can we get rid of him? Me: (choking back tears) Elliott, he's your brother and we could never get rid of him. Why would you say that? Ell: He pinches. And he gets so mad. Me: That's part of his autism, but we still love him. Ell: Is that why you cry in your room? Me: Sometimes. Ell: Do you cry because he does this? (imitates flapping and rocking) Me: (full out crying now) Yeah, sometimes.
Elliott got up and hugged me, and said "I'm going to watch Adventures of Tin Tin! I think Chandler's done with his meltdown. You can be happy now."