I was talking with a very close friend about a crisis* G had in school last week and, after I’d been blabbing for some time, she said, “Well, you’re so focused on his autism what with the blog and everything, and, you know, all kids have struggles…”
Oh dear…Is that what people think, that for us it’s all blog and/or autism? To clarify, I have three jobs now. So it’s a privilege to think about this darling blog for even a fraction of a moment. Second, this conversation had nothing to do with the blog [until now, anyway] or G’s having asperger’s. Did I mention autism during my diarrhea of the mouth**? No. This – all this I had been sharing with her about what happened at school, which incident was very painful -- was
This was, maybe, partly, also, being a child of a tough divorce. But autism? Not so much. The main crisis-inducer here was, again: being 12. Luckily, we are good enough friends that we were able to clarify our respective perspectives well and move on, but it sure got me thinking…
Is 12 the hardest age? My vote is yes. You are still so young, but bravely trying to be “grown-up.” You are sullen, self-loathing, monosyllabic; while also still wanting and needing to be taken care of and adored. You are still extremely cute and squeezable, yet you are, at times, a jerk. Other times, you are sweet as sunshine. Then: jerk! Sunshine. Sunshine. Jerk.
It’s SO moody at 12.
Your peers are starting to have serious interest in whoever they might be interested in romantically; and, although you might not be quite there yet, you feel it stirring. And it’s confusing. Watching G sometimes, one can almost see the new feelings and hormones moving inside him, moving him, like the sap running in trees this time of year.
At 12, most kids won’t admit to still liking to play…and yet they do still like to play, in private or at home with younger siblings.
Sure, maybe for G, he’s a bit developmentally behind his peers, but being 12 is something that happens to most people at some point, whether they are 11 or 13 or…
Being 12 is, for G, about knowing soon you will have to put away your stuffies.
Figure I – G has a LOT of stuffies. His treasured seals [one is a manatee, oops!] are in front.***
Being 12, for G, also means still being enough of a little one to offer your best stuffies to your mom when she is sick.
Figure II – Healing Stuffies, Blanco and Blancli, on Mama’s Pillow****
Being both of these is tender, and raw, and HUGE.
Sometimes things in the Full Spectrum household are pretty near idyllic, and sometimes they are decidedly not. Sometimes that non-idyllic situation has to do with autism or an attachment disorder or something else entirely…Sometimes, for pure awfulness as well as the occasional marvel, being 12 is enough.
Full Spectrum Mama
* Yes, I do use this word advisedly.
** I know I promised less diarrhea-focused writing; this is diarrhea of the mouth.
*** Please, those of you for whom this blog is not anonymous, DO NOT SHOW THESE PHOTOS TO YOUR 12 YEAR OLDS!
**** None of these stuffies will be gotten rid of. It’s possible they will “belong” to G’s younger sister in future, or move to FSM’s bed (shh, pardner doesn’t know about this), or be given to deserving, saintly little ones in great need.