While walking home from the bus, Kirsten and I were having the same conversation we have every day. All was normal until… well… maybe I should just start at the beginning… It went something like this:
Me: “I’m sooo happy to see you!” K: no response. Me: “How was school today?” K: “Good.” Me: “What was your favorite part of today?” K: “Math” (actually her least part of the day. She HATES those worksheets. Funny girl!) Me: “What did you do in math?” K: “Numbers.” Even though these are the same words spoken every day, I treasure each response. We’ve worked so hard for language – neeever going to take it for granted! You know exactly what I mean. However, today we are celebrating something else. It was during this beloved daily conversation that I first noticed…
Little bits of hair on her shirt, glistening in the sun. I should fill you in – Kirsten has a looong history of cutting her hair. Scissors are concealed and hiding locations rotated in my home. Now I have to worry about scissors at school too?! I ask: “Kirsten, what is this? Did you cut your hair?” Kirsten’s rapid response, “Miss Emily did it.” Me: “Miss Emily cut your hair?” K: “Yes.” Me: “Did Miss Emily cut your hair or did Kirsten do it?” (eliminating her ‘just-select-the-last-item’ default response). K: “Miss Emily cut it.”
Incredulous, I asked for clarification a couple more times and Kirsten stuck to her story. No signs of deception. And she NEVER lied! Her teacher must have cut her hair. Not that I’m upset. I mean, if her amazing teacher wants to work hair maintenance into the curriculum, who am I to question?
That night while sitting around the dinner table with her grandparents, I share the story. Kirsten defends her position. And then it happens. I turn to Kirsten and say:
“Kirsten, you know I am going to ask about this in the note to your teacher tomorrow.” What? What?!! Her expression said it all. She had been EXPOSED! She was absolutely horrified that her teacher might be notified. So typical! I hadn’t even finished my sentence when Kirsten blurted out, “Kirsten cut it!!!” Priceless, priceless!! It was a proud moment.
Some might take this for granted… the first lie. Not us autism folks. Developmental milestones! It’s odd, the things we celebrate. First steps, first words, first birthdays, first day of school… but first lies?! Definitely, absolutely, without-a-doubt, yes we do!!! When the first lie occurs at the age of 17, we celebrate big time. Not that I’m going to be assisting her in improving this developmental skill. Now that would be crazy.
Your turn! What have you found yourself celebrating?!!