Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ladies Man

It’s far too often that I read of kids with autism being bullied by others. It makes everything inside me clench to know the victims of such unwarranted attacks could easily be my son and my friends’ children who are not neuro-typical.

Yet Kiddo thus far has led a charmed life. Sometimes I’ve noted children on the playground who don’t quite understand his behaviors. For the most part they’ll give him an odd look and leave him alone. However, there are a few occasions when a child is more fascinated than put off. They’ll go to lengths to break through and get J-man to play with them in some way. It’s nice to see kids that age can let their hearts lead.

It helps that Kiddo has his moments when he wants to reach out to people. He has a particular affinity for girls and women. Boy, does he have an affinity.

I think he was three years old that one day we went to the beach to soak in the warm March sun. Kiddo loves the ocean, jumping and splashing his heart out in the waves. This day was no different. With Hubs and I nearby in case our fearless adventurer decided to strike out for open water ... which is a big temptation for him ... he was soon soggy and sandy.

Spring break was in full swing. The Golden Isles of Georgia are certainly not ground zero for wild frat boys and drunken coeds. We’ll never be Ft. Lauderdale, thank the merciful heavens. But we do get a few Breakers in our area, looking for a place to quietly soak in sand and surf.

It was no surprise to see a line of about half a dozen bikini-clad coeds sauntering down the beach. Lovely young sun-bronzed goddesses, they chattered and laughed about whatever it is young people laugh about. (I’m too old to remember. Did we laugh in my day? Had laughter been invented yet?)

Kiddo spotted them as he wallowed in the water. His eyes lit up. I suppose he felt rather debonair in his Go Diego trunks, because he immediately jumped to his feet and took off running to greet the goddesses.

Zeroing in on the middle of the line, he held his arms up to be picked up by the startled lovely. She didn’t pick up his soaked, gritty little body, but she and her friends did cluster around him, oohing and aahing over the cute little tike. He won hearts that day.

He’s still winning hearts, but now it’s those of a more age-appropriate level. He’s less into snaring barely clad cougars now that he’s in the company of girls around his general height. At our last conference, his teacher chuckled over how Kiddo is always surrounded by the cream of the 2nd grade crop on the playground. “The girls love him,” she said.

I used to swear up and down no woman would be good enough for her precious son. Oh yes, I fully planned to be 'that mom', judging my adored progeny’s potential mates. I knew I would find them all wanting.


...and this.

It turns out I was wrong. When we joined Kiddo for his school’s Thanksgiving lunch, I met the daughter-in-law of my dreams. So what if she’s still only eight? Arranged marriages are still legal, right? 

Ah, there she sat with her slab of turkey-ish meat drowning in the second or third-finest gravy from a jar, a carton of white milk at hand. The little adorable redhead at my son’s side watched him carefully as he pushed aside the fluorescent orange round of yam in favor of the dinner roll. I learned Red always stuck with Kiddo for lunch and playground. She dotes on my boy. She cares for him. She looks out for him. She is perfect for him. 

But what is this? The teacher tells me that lately there is another little lady love giving Red some hefty competition for my son’s affections. Now he has two of them vying to be his grade school sweetheart. Romper Room Romeo is reeling them in, apparently. Hubby’s chest puffs out as he grins. “That’s my boy.” When I mention the girls’ names, Kiddo just smiles and ducks his head. He’s not talking about his conquests. “Stop it, Mommy,” I am warned. 

Far from being picked on for his differences, Kiddo is somehow charming himself a harem. It gives me real hope for his future ... no, not that he'll convert to some polygamous cult. I have hope that others will accept him for who he is. That they’ll even like him for who he is, rather than just tolerate him in spite of his challenges. He has a real chance for friends, allies, and defenders. 

Meanwhile, I need to discuss wedding plans with frontrunner Red’s mom. No sense in waiting until the last moment when you have a sure thing.

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