Thursday, August 3, 2017

Conversations with my Son

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Nico July 16, 2017. The Eye, Atlanta, Georgia.

August 3, 2017

He is amazing. My son Nico is a great kid. I was relieved when he was born because he had his ten fingers and ten toes. I cried before I even laid eyes on his 4 dimensional soul because the nurse discovered his heartbeat on the monitor moments before he was born via c-section. Unfortunately I can’t say that for my twin daughters, who I lost on their birthday. Once my anxiety subsided after hearing those sweet sounds of his beating heart amplify on the Doppler the pediatric nurse held, his mom and I cried, hard. I was finally going to be a dad.

When Nico was born at 6:45 P.M. I studied him and wondered, did he look like his mother or me? Actually, he looked like larva wrapped in a blanket.  Holding him in my arms is a moment I will never forget. Even now at his age of 9 years old he is forever the larva in my arms.

The one thing I long for is conversations with my son. I’m not ungrateful for his miracle life but as a father I want those types of conversations with him about his goals, and dreams in this life. I understand my son, completely. I know his personality through and through. Understanding his inner layers isn’t the problem because he and I can communicate on a level we both understand but verbal expression is difficult. Nico is on the low end of the spectrum where his brain doesn’t process the information the same as we "normal" people do. On the outside he is every bit a 9-year-old kid who is enjoying his long summer days away from school. But his brain neurons take time to grasp his fluid and dynamic environments and he may not fully grasp a situation he's in. As a parent I can feel as if I failed him. 

I have learned through trial and error that routines help him understand but I am fully aware he won't have a conversation about why we make changes. He has learned to go with the flow.  But his routines stabilize his environment but, not always his emotional understanding. Routines help him cope but not necessarily understand a stranger’s empathic tone. Routines can stabilize his life when uncertainty looms and he is frightened. And even if I think he's getting better he may be forever lost in a world that is a puzzle to him

Th great news is that Nico does have his own personality, which I know intimately. And everyday he gets better with growth and age. But I understand that a simple "no" can change his emotions and he won’t understand the explanation I give him as to why he or we can't do it. Or why we need to wait 15 minutes. Giving him a different meal can alter his attitude because he has his routine of food schedules. Cookies at 2 P.M. and cereal at 7 P.M. But on vacation he doesn't rely on those times. And we won't get those types of food all the time. Parents have to make those food decisions outside his normal routine so that his meals are healthy and balanced.

All this can lead to added stress for both parent and child.  But as his parent(s) I have to force him to learn due to him being in a society that won’t be so forgiving towards his lack of understanding. Children will find him weird and parents will secretly call him odd behind or back or think I'm a terrible parent when he loses his patience. Life is fast and he may not catch on quick enough in mainstream life even though he has been attending school at the age of 2 years old. I have to get him to think independently so that he can be successful in life. 

"I don't know if Nico will ever function on his own when his older," his teacher told me a few years ago. Those chilling words haunt me till this very day.

I removed him from his year round school routine and placed him and his little brother Christopher in winter, spring and summer camp. That forced Nico into the mainstream with other kids. So far he has assimilated and has learned to adapt with other kids who are "normal."

Nico excels in sports because I chose for him to learn in a group setting. And he reads really well due to the constant reading we do for him every night. And his little brother Christopher doesn’t go easy on him. He challenges him at every turn of this life. He's getting stronger and is a way above average swimmer. His vocabulary had really grown. Hard work by all is paying off.

Our conversations may be limited. But I have a silver lining, There is this legacy blog my boys can read when they’re older. There’s over 300,000 words in this blog based mainly on both their lives, adventures and dad's stories. We my be limited now but someday they will read these blogs and  forever have a conversation with me over their lifetime. Long after I'm gone.

Christopher and Captain Imperfecto chilling in dads police car. July 27, 2017.

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