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The other day, Norrin asked who was going to pick him up from the school bus. He knows the pick-up schedule by now but he likes to ask because he likes having that reassurance. I told him that I would be picking him instead of our babysitter, Vanessa. He made a face and said, "Oh... but I like when Vanessa picks me up."
It was then I knew that my little boy — autism or not — was growing up. And while he may not be a typical 10-year-old boy in many ways, he's very much typical in no longer needing (or wanting) me for everything.
It was the mom heartbreak moment I wasn't prepared for. The moment when I realized my kid was just that into me anymore.
Unsure whether or not your kid is no longer that you? Let us count the ways...
1. Pulls his hand out of yours. Remember when you couldn't walk a few steps without a sticky little hand reaching for yours? Yeah. That's over. Even when crossing the street, your kid will begrudgingly hold on. Once they get to safety, they will wipe your mom sweat off on their jeans.
2. Wriggles out of your hug. You used to spend hours hugging and cuddling. Now you have to beg for a hug and it's all spaghetti arms.
3. Walks all the way up ahead. You have to run just to keep up with them. And trust me, they don't want you to keep up.
4. Declines help. You used to help them with every single little thing. You used to get annoyed hearing your name called every two seconds. Now when you try to help, they push you way.
5.Insists on doing things independently (even the things they can't really do). They want to do everything by themselves. You are no longer needed, you are a nuisance.
6. Your kid has ZERO time. How busy can kids be? Very busy. Too busy to sit and watch a movie with you on a Saturday night. They'd rather sit in their room staring at the ceiling than hang out with mom.
8. They don't laugh at your jokes. You used to be so funny. You used to make them snort milk out their nose with laughter. Now you're just corny. Nothing you say is funny.
9. Or worse, they roll their eyes. I'm not gonna lie, that eye roll more than hurts, it's infuriating.
10. It feels like your kid prefers other people to you. You used to be enough. You used to be the center of their world. But their world is growing and they want other people in it. That's OK. It only feels like they prefer other people to you.
Your kid knows that when they need love, comfort and security, YOU are the one they need.