Sea Dragon drawing by Tristan VanCise

My best friend, sister in heart has a son the same age as mine. Our babies are going to be to become teenagers this year. During our chats we talk about our kids and what their doing.

So many times Rose would mention something about Matthew and I would reply. Just like Tristan. Tristan does that too. So often we began to wonder if they were supposed to have been twins.

I also began to wonder something else. Matthew is autistic. His mom would share their struggles, successes, and daily life of dealing with autism. I can’t even count how many times Rose would share with me and I would reply, “Just like Tristan.”

There are so many things that I noticed over the years with my boy that made him different. Not in a bad way. Tristan just never really seemed on the same social level as kids his age.

He gets along with almost everyone but a lot of the time other kids just don’t get him. He has a hard time getting them sometimes too. One thing is the repetitiveness that he has. If he says or does something that makes you smile or laugh he’ll continue to do it. Maybe not right in a row but I and guarantee that you’ll know it well enough to see it coming by the 50th pass.

He’s not trying to be annoying. Tristan just wants to make you happy again. One of his favorite things is helping someone. Whenever he asks if he can have something from the kitchen he never fails to ask if I would like anything too. Tristan is my sweetheart.

As I began to learn more about autism though my conversations with Rose the more I understood some of Tristan’s extreme behaviors. I call them extreme because they are more acute reactions than is considered “normal”.

Loud or sudden noises give him distress. When we got to the movie theater for example. Sometimes the action sequences of a film can get pretty loud. Tristan will cover his ears and sometimes get so upset he wants to leave. I mean tears in his eyes upset.

Rain and storms terrify him. I mean full blown panic attack, crying, have to go tinkle terrified. He’ll run in and out of the bathroom every 5 or 10 minutes because he’s so upset he has to go again.

At first I thought he was just being over dramatic. He’s a bit of a drama king, I tease he should be on stage doing Shakespeare. He always replies with a line from one of the plays, silly boy. But talking to Rose and sharing about our boys I’ve begun to see that these actions could be something else.

Thanks to my best friend, Rose and her willingness to share and put up with all my inquiries. I’ve learned new ways to see and deal with some of Tristan’s behaviors that I believe are autistic. Our lives have become less flustered. I think my son is just like Rose’s sweetie Matthew, autistic. I’m not worried like oh God there’s something wrong with my baby. It’s more like ohhhh that explains it.

We’re making appointments with his doctor to talk about having him evaluated for autism. I’m pretty sure it will confirm my suspicions and wonders and I’m okay with that. Because now instead of wondering we can say okay this is what it is and work on it together. Tristan and I can have a better relationship as mother and son and he can get more of what he needs to be all he can be in his life.

I’ll post again about our progress/findings/adventures on this path. And I’m sure it’s not the last time I’m going to say, “Hey, that’s just like Tristan.”

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