Today The Boy is unwell.
It started in the night, a barbaric yelp in the dark at 2 in the morning. I rushed into his bedroom, standing on the obligatory piece of Lego en-route just to ensure I was in full sympathetic mode by the time I reached his bedside. He was all scrunched up in bed, pulling his knees into his chest.
"My waist", he howled. "My waist really hurts a little bit".
Now, I'm no medical expert, but I'm guessing if I phoned NHS Direct with the symptoms "it really hurts a little bit" they too might well be stumped. However, the screams into the night suggest the pain might be closer aligned to the 'really' part of the sentence than the 'little bit'. Never fear son, Dr Kildare is here. I shall investigate further.
I know from past experience I only have three questions to get to the root of the problem. Any more and the additional pressure of having to answer questions he doesn't know the answer to will cause a meltdown to accompany the deathly screams we are currently experiencing. I break it down into simple, easy to manage sentences. Once again this boy who can speak so well about subjects that mean so little can't find the words to express himself when it really matters.
"Show Daddy where it hurts"
"Everywhere!", he screams, clutching himself tighter.
"is it inside or outside?"
"Both!", his voice going up an octave to remind me I only have one more question left before we go to that place we don't want to go.
I offer the solution I always offer. The only thing I know.
"Let's try to go to the toilet".
And off we hobble to the bathroom, the change of scenery, the cold tiles under bare feet helping to calm him. The pain still comes in waves, but quieter now. He's going to live.
So we're off school today. He still has pains in his stomach. I think. And that's just it - I think. It's just guesswork. I'm still none the wiser as to what's wrong. Everything manifests itself as pain in the stomach for him. Anxiety, stress, depression, appendicitis - all have the same symptoms. And they just serve as a reminder that despite his fluency, the words just won't come when it really matters. This boy who can talk until the end of time itself about how to make a diamond pick-axe in Minecraft can't find the words to tell someone he's hurting.
And that makes me really sad a little bit.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.