And then suddenly

Those odds are that almost all kids with high functioning autism improve as they get older. But it doesn't feel that way sometimes. Sometimes it feels like train has pulled right up to the station but no one's getting on.

Some times, I get worried that she isn't improving, that she isn't going to improve, and there I will be in 12 years, a grumpy old dad, with a teenage daughter, listening to her iPod, secretly resenting us in her room, and still won't wipe her ass.

The odds are that she will come around to doing those things naturally. She's almost seven, and it's a nightly struggle: wash yourself, dry yourself, brush your teeth, put on your pajamas, put on your pajamas to Oh For the LOVE OF PETE. WILL. YOU. PUT. ON. YOURRRpajamas.

Putting her to bed isn't so bad, I suppose. She likes her downtime, and we share a common sense of understanding. Rather than reading her a book, I let her read it herself. In return, she lets me doze off beside her.

(She's not like the Little General down the hall, who demands his regimen of Put My Blue Blanket On The Bed, Sit Down And Read Me Three Stories, and Cuddle. In that order. For Mother's Day, my gift to my wife was that I put him to bed for a week. Ironically, he's the - quote - normal  one. Another story on another day, though)

She's coming along fine, and growing a personality of a little girl. But sometimes I let slip of my control, and wallow in irrational panic. What if she never learns to do math? What if she never  learns to brush her teeth? What if she never learns to keep herself clean?

But then I remember that I was worried she would never walk. After she started walking, I was worried that she'd never talk. Now that she won't shut up, I worry that she'll never shut up. So I see how my life so far has just been a progression from one anxious phase to the next. So the logical part of my brain tells me that eventually, she is going to be able to tie her shoes, and eventually she is going to know her times tables. And, eventually, she is going to remember to wipe, every single time.

Who ever would have thought that you could look forward to the day when your daughter stomps out of the room in a huff because she's realised that (a) you're totally uncool and (b) she knows everything.  Who ever would have thought that there are those things about a daughter turning into a teenager which annoy the parents to no end; that those would be the things that you are hoping for.

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