Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.




Thursday, December 23, 2010

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

My son Weston has been crazy about Mercedes since the day he started second grade.

Now, they are both in the sixth grade and attend the middle school together. Mercedes is a bright, happy, enthusiastic young girl. She has a kind face with sparkling eyes. So of course, it is not surprising that all the sixth grade boys crave her attention.

She is also very tolerant. It is this quality above all that makes her irresistible to Weston. She is patient with his boundless energy, his sullen moments and his difficulty reading social cues. She knows the kind and warm heart that lies beneath Weston's more prickly outer layers. She overlooks many of his shortcomings. She is one of the special few.

Like most children diagnosed with ADHD, Weston has trouble reading people and their emotions. So, he has trouble understanding girls. Perhaps it is because he has no sisters. Perhaps he is just not ready yet. Perhaps it is simply because he is a boy.

But whatever the reason, lately, Weston has come home with many questions about girls.

"Mom, why don't any girls like Metallica?"

or

"Mom, why don't any of the girls like when the big snake in Ms Scarborough's class eats mice?"

I have tried to explain to him that girls are "sugar and spice and everything nice" and boys are "snakes and snails and puppy dog's tails."

But still he is confused...

"Mom, that just doesn't make any sense!"

So, since Weston doesn't understand girls and their behaviors.......he often doesn't understand Mercedes.

"She just ran by me and didn't say hello." Weston will explain to me, desperate for any input into the confusing mind of a preteen girl.

We've talked about shyness and moodiness, but these are concepts Weston flat out just doesn't get. So, he assumes, she just doesn't like him.

Yesterday, he decided he would be brave and put his confusion behind him. He decided he would buy Mercedes a Christmas present. He begged me to take him to the store and pick out a gift. After several minutes circumnavigating the Consumer Value Store, he picked out a very huggable Teddy Bear holding a small bottle of "Loves Baby Soft" perfume.

I was pleasantly surprised and thought perhaps I was getting somewhere with him in our discussions about girls. We wrapped the present in red and green tissue paper and placed it in a gift bag decorated with candy canes.

"I'm nervous" Weston exclaimed this morning as we prepared for school.

"Why are you nervous?" I asked.

'What if Mercedes doesn't want my present?" He asked.

"Well,"  I answered. "I don't think there are many people in this world who would not like to be given a present. I think there is a very good chance she will like it."

So, off to school he went with a bounce in his step and only a hint of hesitation.

I smiled to myself as I thought about my own difficulties in sixth grade. I thought about how I, too, had difficulty understanding the opposite sex. I thought about how horrible it is just getting through the middle school years. I felt for my son and his quest to learn about life. The lessons are difficult ones to learn.

"Welllll.....?" I asked as Weston got into the car after school.

"Well what?" he answered.

"How did Mercedes like her gift?"

"Ohhh," he said.

"She looked like she was in a bad mood so I chickened out and gave it to Olivia."

I shook my head as I realized.....it is not an easy task teaching boys about love.