Friday, October 26, 2012

All normal at the zoo

Yesterday we took the boys out to the zoo.

Dusit Zoo may be dingy and pathetic, but it's our dingy and pathetic outing of choice for a day off that falls at the end of the month.  Even with train rides, souvenir splurges, and giraffe feeding, the whole day only puts us back a few dollars.
The kids used these 50 baht binoculars nonstop.
The kids were amazing.  This must be why people like taking their kids places.  They were interested, obedient, and happy.  They played all day: with each other, with other children at the park, climbing things and rolling down hills.  They were so normal.


These stairs provided at least 30 minutes of nonstop fun.
All day I was reminded of the last time we went to the zoo.  It was in January, just a few months before we changed the boys' diets.  It was so hard to go anywhere back then.  I can still remember how I used to plan outings  - desperately hoping that this time would somehow be different. 

M was so hard to control and L was still so little.  Though at that time I had no idea how diet came in to play, I knew he had more seizures on days he didn't get enough rest. So day trips and outings (with the inevitable junk food and missed naps) were never easy days for us.
At no point in yesterday's trip did the boys run in opposite directions
and make me fear simultaneous double-abuductions

We always had some fun moments, of course.  And we have many of those happy moments recorded in photos, thanks to Whim's skill as a photographer and his excellent timing.  But behind the photos was always a story of stress, and meltdowns, and disappointment.  I wish there wasn't so much pressure to appear to have it all together.  I wonder if any of my friends are hiding similar struggles behind their own beautiful photos and cleverly-worded facebook updates?

If you are, just trust me that you aren't alone.

But back for a minute to that word normal.  I've never come right out with a name for M's issues, but it's not because I'm trying to be mysterious or because we are above 'labels'.  It's because I really don't know what to call it.  I had wondered and worried about him for a while, but just at the time I started feeling legitimately concerned, we started the diet and things started changing. 

I think it's safe to say that if M had been evaluated last year, he would have been diagnosed with ADHD.  But if I am honest with myself, there was more than that going on.  He had compulsive habits, exhibited Tourette's-like behavior at times, and even the autism spectrum didn't always seem completely out of the question to me.  I have always loved and accepted M, but part of that acceptance was the awareness that he wasn't "normal".

Now, suddenly, unless he's reacting to a diet infraction, he is a typical four-year-old.  Maybe it's just because we've been watching the Back to the Future trilogy all weekend with the boys, but I can't help thinking about how differently things could have turned out for him. Heavy.

14 comments:

  1. Looks like you all had a wonderful day out. I love how you dress them in those adorable hats! And the curly hair peeking from under the cutest hats...perfect :)

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    1. Thanks!! The hats are usually Whim's doing, but I agree... they are pretty cute. :)

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  2. It's really amazing on how far you've come in such a short amount of time!I'm so glad you've found things that are working for you and your family is thriving!

    I agree with Xae...that picture of the boys holding hands is just precious!

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    1. I'm so grateful! I'm sure some people's struggles can't be so easily cured, but I'm so fortunate that it has worked out this way for us.

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  3. Love the hat and overalls look!

    Will you please please please do a blog post about making Thai food? I don't care what kind, any. I suck at making it, and since you're married to a Thai man and you live there I figure you owe it to us.....right? :)

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    1. Sure, Tara! Thanks for the fun idea. Stay tuned and I'll do some Thai cooking posts.

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  4. That's so awesome how much things are different now. I'm glad you had such a good day at the zoo. P.S. How much is 50 baht US? I'm always curious when you say how much stuff costs.

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    1. Right now 30 baht is a dollar, so 50 baht is just under two. Like 1.65 or something. The tickets were free for the kids and 50 for me and Whim. The train was 10 baht each, so around 35 cents each. Pretty cheap for a day out, huh? :)

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  5. Visiting from Honest Mom. What a difference a year can make. My son was diagnosed ASD and we hit the 2nd anniversary next month. This last year has been the most normal one I've ever experienced as a parent and it's WEIRD. Especially since now I don't know what's autism and what's kid stubbornness.

    Glad you guys had a nice day out, it's nice when you can put all that in perspective.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Jessica. I'm going to be looking at your blog later for sure- I had a peek already.

      Even though Miles hasn't been diagnosed with a spectrum disorder, I know what you mean about autism vs. stubbornness... We deal with that, too? Is this a reaction or just him being naughty!?

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  6. It's so amazing how much of an effect the food we eat has. I'm sure this must have been hard at first. We've done the allergy diet in this house and just that was not a picnic.

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  7. It can be a little depressing to look at facebook - but only if you believe all the perfection!

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    1. True- we just need something to filter what we see and translate it back to real life.

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