When middle child was born, I knew she was different than my older child. He had been easy from his first day on the earth. He never cried, he always held my hand, and he always wanted to cuddle. Middle child was different. From the time she was a baby, she never wanted to be near me. I would feed her, and she would scream to be put down when she was full. I would sit next to her on the floor, so she could see me, but I would not touch her. As she grew, it did not get better. Middle child never wanted hugs, and would never give kisses. Even today, she will only offer the top of her head if someone wishes to give her a kiss. I couldn't take her in public all the time, too many things would set off her fits of screaming. Once a fit started, she would claw at her face and bite herself. I would go to bed at night crying because I had no idea what I was doing so wrong. I couldn't turn on a fan in the house, it would make her scream. Any flying bug would cause her to take a fit. Things I couldn't predict would send middle child into a rage.
Middle child taught me to accept everything as it is. I believed that parenting was easy after my son was born. When my daughter came, she taught me patience. I learned to accept the stares of strangers and not care what they thought. I quickly accepted that my little girl's well being was my priority, not some stranger's acceptance. I didn't have the time to learn patience with her, it happened the moment I knew she needed it. The very second I saw she needed more from me that I had to give.
Over time, I talked to her doctor and we got her diagnosed. Middle child is autistic. She is very high functioning, but has her own set of issues to deal with. We have been dealing with those issues together, for the past six years. Middle child works hard, at school and at home. She has therapy in our home two times a week and at school almost daily. She tries so hard to be "normal". It is heartbreaking. This year has been so difficult for middle child. The other children have started to realize she is different, and they shun her. She tries to bribe people to play with her. She insists she is not pretty enough or cool enough. All middle child wants, is to be accepted.
It makes me so sad, because as a parent you want to fight all of your children's battles. At some point, that becomes just as bad for the child as the torment they are facing in the first place. All I can do is be here for my children when they get home from the cold world. I listen to their problems, and give them the best advice I can. Sometimes, there is none to give, all I can do is listen and be sad too. It is all part of being patient and being a parent.