Max is afraid of dogs. Two years ago, we holidayed on the beach, near Izmir. Early mornings, I would grab a book, a cup of tea, and a camera and leave our room to lay on the sand just outside. Max would join me and play in the sand quietly. But some mornings, the owners' dog would be out too. He would be sleeping by the shade of a palm tree. Occasionally walking past. Max would see it and shriek, jump on me, or - if he felt he was close enough - run back to the room to be protected by his Daddy. If we met the dog in the day time, Max would instantly climb on his father's shoulders.

The next summer, in England, Max spent a lot of time on his Daddy's shoulders. One day, when we visited his Grandfather in Wales, Max refused to enter the house because he knew there were dogs inside one the rooms. He ate his dinner in my father in law's car.

He's also afraid of balloons. So much so that for a long time we could not take him to birthday parties. When his best friend at school turned 7 this year, I called her parents and explained. They cleared all the balloons off the floor and left but a few stuck on the ceiling. Max loved it. Last month we took a very eager Max to another party in the same place, but forgot to call the parents. He so wanted to play, but he just could not make himself stay in a room filled with balloons. No matter how hard he tried.

Then there's planes. Last year we nearly had to cancel our month long vacation in Europe because he would not get inside the plane. Then we were nearly stranded there. This year we tried again - a shorter trip. On the way back, at first he refused to go in. But hey, we could catch a train or bus back. He lied down on a bench in the airport, covering his ears and said:
'Max is a little bit afraid of planes'. 
Autistic kids find it hard to talk of their emotions, so this was a big deal, being able to speak of his fear while in the midst of a pretty big outburst of it.

Max was afraid of my relatives. For a long time he would not even let me talk of his aunts or his grandmother, sweet as they've always been to him, and he refused to see them. But a couple of weeks ago, he was so happy to spend time with my sister and her family, and now rushes to the computer if they are on Skype. And yesterday, when I told him that not only his father would be going away for a week, but also that his grandmother would visit during that time, instead of freezing, denying, crying, he smiled, delighted and said:
'Will she bring Max a present of a plane?'

This is my entry for this week's mash up of The Gallery and The Writing Workshop

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Anonymous said...


@jencull (jen) said...

I love the present of a plane idea, he has it figured out :) A really big deal that he could say he was afraid.

Lovely for me to read this post, has tugged on many heartstrings:) Jen.

Sandrine said...

Thanks! Yes it is a big deal! It's the only emotion he's properly figured out, I think. He will admit to being happy, with a smile, but never volunteer it (which I suppoise not many people do!) Anger and sadness are still mixed up (which I get).

Deer Baby said...

That's really something - asking for a present of a plane when he was so scared of them before. He sounds like a lovely boy.

Anonymous said...

Bless him. My youngest stepson is autistic and he is getting better at expressing strong emotions - I'm sure your son will too, sounds like he is doing really well

Josie @Sleep is for the Weak said...

Loving your sensitive switched-on boy. He is such a star.

I am so curious to be able to hear Kai express his fears when the language finally kicks in. So often it seems so random but I know that there must reasons for why he gets scared and overwhelmed.

Max sounds like he expresses himself so well.


Sandrine said...

Thanks for coming Deer Baby! He's actually always rather liked to play with planes, and to watch them in the sky. It's the actual going inside that bothers him... But still, I think you're right that there's a connection!
MrsLJHall, thanks, I hope so too! How old is your step son?
Josie, maybe until he learns to speak Kai would be comfortable expressing his fears in pictures - afer all, he is his mother's son!

New Mummy said...

How lovely x

Imcombobulated said...

Imogen can only talk about happiness. If I broach other emotions in conversation or if she is feeling something, she launches into scripts, "I miss my friends," "I'm afraid of swans, lawnmowers, and geese," "I miss my daddy," and more recently, "Will you get Nanny and Grandad's lawnmower under control?"

It's tough.

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