So... just to say up front, I'm not competing for who's got it worst or easiest! That seems to be kind of pointless. But today was the first time that it occurred to me that it might actually be an advantage to have Aspergers if you have kids who are aspies too.
I know every mum gets that feeling sometimes that only they truly understand their child, and nobody else will really 'get' them in the same way. It's why mothers in law have such a bad reputation! I was just thinking today about the ways in which I empathise with Lucas and Pippi. My daughter is 6, but she has significant language delays, and since she started school it's been really hard to know what's going on there, and how she is dealing with it. She doesn't have anything like the language to tell us anything about what happens during the day. We might hear a sentence about one or other child, rarely the same one twice.
She's started wetting the bed lately, despite being dry for the last 3 years, and she's been getting really upset over small things, and then telling us tantalisingly incoherent stories about things that have upset her in school. I feel for her, it's so hard to see her suffering and not to know exactly what's affecting her.
I remember my own experiences of primary school. I'm sure that I was happy a lot of the time, but I remember clearly being different from the other kids, and not understanding what it was about me that was causing problems. Even at that age, the other girls had comparatively sophisticated social understanding that I was completely lacking. I spent most of the time back then either reading, thinking about my favourite books, or imagining myself in my favourite books. I did the academic work in double quick time, with the aim of being allowed to read for the rest of the lesson. I was very quiet, and nervous of the other kids.
But Pippi isn't like that. When I see her around her school friends, she is boisterous, and full of life, jumping around, talking nonsense. She seems to fit in just fine, but then I hear one of them calling her a 'baby', and I know that they have noticed that she doesn't talk like they do, or understand the complexities of their game playing. I suspect that she is starting to feel different from them.
But does my own experience make it easier? Can I find a way to use it to help her? I suppose the answer right now is, I don't know. I think that the emotional side of things is key. I want her to grow up to be a well-adjusted, happy aspie, with a grounded knowledge of what she is capable of, given the right support. Realistically, all I can do at the moment, is to keep the school posted about things at home, keep those lines of communication open. And prioritise Pippi's emotional wellbeing, make her feel safe, listen to her when she's upset, convey to her that her feelings are important, and she is valued, loved and understood.
Extra cuddles. That I can do.