Owen is obsessed with cars. He runs out to grab them up the moment his eyes open. I hear his feet slapping on the hardwood floor and then him running to our bed once he has them.

I’m awoken by him launching himself headfirst into my neck, rubbing his forehead on me in his version of kissing. I feel him backing into me and pulling my arm around himself so he can reach my upper arm to scratch at his favorite skin oddity of mine at the moment. The upshot is I’m no longer afraid of getting a tattoo since I understand what it might feel like. I might even get one to memorialize his favorite scratching spot since it’s scarred now. It’s the price you pay to get him to fall asleep sometimes.

Kisses elicit “ouch!”, he finds them upsetting. High praise is when he calls you “dude”. When he’s telling you off he jabbers out the side of his face like Adam Sandler’s character in “Little Nicky”. Other people’s pain or anger is hilarious unless I prompt him to give the appropriate response and then he furrows his brow to coo “aaaw” in reassurance. He’ll even share a car if he really is concerned for you.

Whether our possibly reincarnated dog/racecar driver has a neurological disorder or impairment doesn’t make him any less or more weird than the next kid and it doesn’t change our love for him.

His fascination with cars isn’t the stereotypical boy fascination that evolves into weekend tinkering and attending car shows. (Jesus, I hope not.) No, we’re talking about a reverence that borders on spiritual. He caresses them, studies them, steals them, and hoards them. He rarely is without one in his hand and gasps in horror when one is dropped. He even tries to steer food like he’s driving.

As an infant, he would rub his head against Simone to mimic her affection. He was more likely to lick you than kiss you and we still have to trim his “claws” often. At night, they snuggle together and it’s hard to tell if Simone is purring or if he his since he mimics her so well. Even the smacking noise she makes to swallow her drool and the growling moan as she works her jaw. It’s like trying to sleep next to a BBQ rib eating contest around them.
He’s also still trying to perfect the vomit-out-the-taste-in-my-mouth approach but it’s just not working out. He’s moved onto eat-my-shirt when that fails. I have to brush his teeth at least three times a day.

His reflection confuses and angers him. It breaks my heart. He’ll run headlong into a glass door if you don’t stop him. He screams in annoyance if he sees his face in the glass unexpectedly.

You might be wondering at this point if we’re getting him tested and we are. For some reason that makes people uncomfortable to discuss. Like most topics people want to deem taboo, it makes me that much more determined to speak about them. Yes, our son probably has autism or a sensory processing disorder but I’m not scared of hearing those words. I’m adjusting to a new vernacular.

Whether our possibly reincarnated dog/racecar driver has a neurological disorder or impairment doesn’t make him any less or more weird than the next kid and it doesn’t change our love for him. If they diagnose him then we have a starting point for understanding how to help him cope with the world. A label won’t help lessen his frustration or ours but what it does is open an entire realm of services that he could benefit from. I would love a decoder ring for riddling out his behavior but I don’t own one and none exists. Not that it doesn’t stop people from quizzing me or judging his behavior.

“I’m SURE it’s a phase…”

You have a magic ball?! Are you laying bets? Does a “phase” last two plus years? How about you cover our next ER trip when he won’t let go of his cars and decides to jump off a ladder.

“My kid used to do that…”

Seeing that our kids are roughly the same age and my child is clearly still doing “that”… yeah, awkward yet?

“Have you tried____? Have you thought about____?”

It’s amazing, I know, but I can’t hear $#!+ when my child is screaming in my face. You want to be “helpful”, I get it, you and everybody else wants him to stop shrieking but peppering me with questions like an attacking bird isn’t helping matters. Also, I have opposable thumbs and internet access, I can Google with the best of them.

“Well, you know how kids are…”

Breathe, breathe, exhale…no, just %$#@ing, NO. My kid won’t make eye contact with your kid or speak to him so that excuses your “normal” child’s behavior of shoving my kid out of the way, calling him names, or hitting him? Take your lazy ass parenting and your future bully elsewhere unless you want me parenting him since you can’t bother to do so.

I get that his behavior is upsetting to some, or elicits concern from others, but if you don’t approve then do as we all are expected to do with adults that annoy us, walk away. Show him kindness and respect as we all deserve or deal with my behavior. Besides, you’re keeping us from very important business that requires us. We have airplanes to hoot at, traffic to analyze, dogs and cats to lick and hug, and cars that need chasing.

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