I think in general, most parents look for even the smallest things to be proud of in their children, and I guess I am no different. I am proud of almost everything Kaitlyn does, and so is Amber.
Recently, Kaitlyn has been doing more than just the usual small stuff that makes a parent proud. I’ve been driving her to school for about six weeks now, and every morning, it is the same routine (thank you, Asperger’s). When I have had to make adjustments to the routine, like parking in a different area because of rain, I have made sure that she was ok with the change so I did not destroy her day early on, and so far I have been successful. Every morning, we go to the early morning room at Kait’s school, and she throws her bags and it is off to play either with the bean bags or the empty boxes. Every morning that is, until this week. This week has brought a significant change and a great point of pride. This week, Kaitlyn has begun to insist that she sign herself in for both early morning and afternoon pickup. Not just her first name, but her whole name. She writes her first and last name by her teacher’s name, and is ready to go. Her early morning teacher, Mrs. Cindy, told me this week that in addition to Kaitlyn’s politeness and generosity, she was very impressed that she signs herself in; she had never had a child insist on signing themselves in before. We are very proud of her. I think part of why she has been able to pick up on the signing in thing is because she pays close attention to what we do, and she knows the details very well.
Another point of pride for us is her adherence to the rules we establish for her (for the most part. She is 4 after all!). In addition to having manners and being polite, we try to instill in Kaitlyn that she does not use ugly words or call names. And it seems to be working. She recognizes “stupid” as a very ugly word, and knows that she gets in trouble if we hear her saying it. Think about that word, stupid, for a second. Is there anything pretty about it? I don’t think so. Anyway, Kaitlyn is so used to understanding that we do not use that word, that she extends it to everything she hears or sees. For example, we will be in the car listening to the radio, and Carrie Underwood will come on singing her song Undo It, and in the song, she says about playing “stupid games,” and Kaitlyn will get upset with her and tell Carrie Underwood that it not nice to say “stupid.” So, here we have a four year old that recognizes the ugliness of a word, and is so adamant about not using it, that it bothers her to hear it in a song. We are very proud.
We do not know daily what challenges will be presented to us, and Kaitlyn still confuses us a lot. Asperger’s and autism are mysterious to us, and no matter how much we read, they will probably always have some mystique. What we do know is that there are certain times when Kaitlyn surprises us to no end that we are proud to the point of bragging more than the average parent. I think that is a right we earn as parents for working, and continuing to work, on instilling manners and good behavior in her. You will find her saying please and thank you, saying sir and ma’am, and being polite most of the time. You will also find her throwing fits over the smallest little thing, like our countdown to Easter not being changed for a few days. What you will always find when it comes to Kaitlyn are two parents that are very proud of their little girl, and will spare no cost, in money or in stress, to make sure that she is treated fairly and reaches her full potential.