Hunker down, I’m about to tell a story. By now all should know I am physically incapable of being short-winded on the internets.
About a year ago we were coming up on J’s first neurologist appointment. This was going to be the turning point in J’s care. This would be when he was given an initial diagnosis of autism. It was his Early Intervention coordinator along with his EI Occupational Therapist and his group leader who all saw the signs. They saw the struggles I saw and knew what they meant. These women were amazing to us, guiding us along the start of what will be a lifelong journey.
One appointment I was chatting with his coordinator about his attachment to his pacifier. A particularly horrible doctor in J’s primary care doc’s practice had been vile to me about it. Now, children tend to have self soothing things. Some have pacifiers, some have their thumbs, some have who knows what. J at this point had zero attachments to any item or ritual outside that pacifier. Two years of age is starting to get long in the tooth to keep using one but, it was his ‘thing’ and still is his thing. He accepted no other comfort, so in our discussions we noted that factor and left the pacifier alone with the thought that maybe seeing if he’d grow attached to a lovey would help him wean off it.
Now, J has roughly half a million stuffed animals. That’s what it feels like anyway. They’re everywhere in our house. There’s a mountain of them in the living room and another in his bedroom and a small heap where he sleeps… We have stuffed animals covered. Take your pick, we likely have it. I was only in my first trimester when I bought him his first stuffies, three beautiful JellyCat critters, and the collection just exploded from there. He liked some of them, for they were soft and some had been by his side since birth, but he wasn’t truly attached to them. I was of the mind that he never would get attached to them.
Then he found her, the stuffie of his dreams.
Miss Kitty came to us as a gift. She represented a fluffy member of the family who departed this world not too long ago, a fat black and white cat named Diesel. Despite the masculine name she was indeed a female cat and she purred like a poorly tuned up Mack truck. She had a mean streak if she didn’t like you but was tolerant and even hilarious if she did. In her old age she somehow always managed to be gentle and tolerant of J who did not understand that she was going blind and deaf. She allowed his pats and attention and generally made him giddy every time they met. One day J just took up with the fat stuffed animal that looked so like her and I’ll tell you… He hasn’t looked back.
This cat has been puked on, peed on, thrown in multiple water tables, dropped in puddles, traipsed across state lines, dragged through surgery, thrown through the washing machine many times… This cat has gone everywhere she possibly could with J. I even sought out duplicates from the same company but every time J rejects them as Inferior Cats! Miss Kitty and only Miss Kitty will do.
Now, sometimes, J will accept his little beanie Kai-Lan doll or one of his stuffed sheep, or his stuffed dog, or his monkey… but it’s always Miss Kitty he comes back to and Miss Kitty he truly misses when she is gone. She has sat on Santa’s lap with him while he screamed (Santa’s scary) and comes with us nigh everywhere like my errant other child that needs watching.
To finish this post, I’ll leave you with some pictures of Miss Kitty making Poor Life Choices: