role model

Dirt and Kiki's kid, Ava, is severely autistic. At a year and a half, she was a normal, happy-go-lucky kid. Alert, chatty, bright, engaging. At two, she entered the fog of autism. She withdrew. She spoke no more. She wouldn't make eye contact, let alone interact with anyone. If you made a loud noise, she wouldn't even react. It was devastating to witness.

Now three, she's slowly starting to respond to changes in her diet and treatment. She's still vastly less engaged than she was at half this age, but it's an improvement nonetheless. First she started interacting with Mom. Then Dad. Then Uncle John. That's pretty much the list for now, but hey, at least there's a list. You wouldn't believe how thrilled everyone is that she high-fives me on request 30% of the time.

This week, there's something new. I suddenly enjoy a unique status in Ava's life: she tries to imitate the words she hears me say. "Fire," "Dex," "cracker," and "tardwit" have all made appearances on her lips this week. Does she imitate her parents? Not yet. Just me.

"Not my first choice," moans Dirt. "Not anyone's first choice for their kid's linguistic role model."

"Fuck you. Fuck your mother. Fuck your mother's horse."

"I stand corrected."