Lady of the Flies

The Fly in the Windex

So it's been a full week since Noah's appointment, since this relatively minor, unbelievably common little thing swept into our lives and just completely trashed the joint. We're still at least a week away from an evaluation and a plan of action, which makes me feel like we're standing still. Except that we're flies, and we're standing in a puddle of Windex, wondering how the fuck we got into this mess in the first place.

Not that I would know what that looks like, or anything.



*maniacal laughter*

Anyway. I've spent the past week analyzing and over-analyzing Noah, feeling incredibly guilty for over-analyzing Noah, and wishing I could just go back a week when it was all just a nagging worry (a nagging worry I was perfectly able to push away with a dollop of denial, as evidenced in this post, where I expertly masked the fear that prompted me to make the appointment in the first place by blaming "them" and the easily-scapegoated "they") instead of a nagging question mark of Is He Okay And Why Is He Doing That Weird Thing?

I've also spent the past week going on sangria-soaked playdates, making Thomas go round his wooden track a bazillion times (no, we don't have the killer lead-paint trains, I am sure of it, thanks), emailing with friends and strangers (if I haven't responded to your email yet, I apologize) and shyly wondering if any of those nice strangers would like to go on a sangria-soaked playdate with me, or if that's a Weird Thing, even if I promise not to rubberband a flyswatter to your toddler, unless you are okay with that.

I was tempted to leave comments open on a couple of last week's posts. (I close comments after I post something new since I've found that's the most effective way to keep the conversation from heading south once the Random Drive-by Googlers arrive or from later discovering that some extremely sensitive spambot also has a few suggestions for helping speech delays, all of which appear to involve ora1 s3x with h0t s1uts.) The stories and experiences described there are invaluable and anybody who is dealing with any sort of developmental delay, major or minor, should read them. We have doctors in this crowd, did you know that? Teachers? Speech pathologists? I should alert my ad people that hot damn, I think some of these people can read after all.

If I may poach and republish some of your brilliance for my own nefarious, run-on-sentence-loving reasons, I wanted to highlight this comment from Helen:

I started off reading this post and thinking just what you said some people would think. I have 2 autistic sons and find myself getting irrationally insulted every time I read of another parent who thinks this is the worst thing that can happen. Then, THEN I stopped and caught myself because hell, I cried BUCKETS for WEEKS and months when we first knew that my silent Isaac, with his obsession for neatness wasn't just the best baby in the world who tidied up after himself a lot but was autistic oh my hell.

Seth, with his aversion to food and don't put more than one kind of food on the same plate or the sky will fall in but hey chameleons should be primate because they have thumbs and why don't all 2 year olds think this way? Wasn't a genius with eccentricities but gasp autistic in his thinking.

Now? Now they are 5 and 6, they ARE just tidy and eccentric and genius and just the way they are.

You should cry if that is how you feel, throw things if it helps, hate the tidy lines of toys, wish he would talk in brilliant sentences...and then let it all sink in that he is glorious Noah, who is just as he is. The day you look at him and imagine how dull life would be if he were just like every other kid...then you'll read posts by other moms worried about these things and feel a bit insulted because who the hell wouldn't want a kid exactly like Noah? Who would want their kid to be 'ordinary'?

My Isaac is so different from other kids, he stands out like a sore thumb but everywhere we go he is adored, his classmates adore him, his teachers weep at the thought of him graduating, he is divine. I shudder at the idea of him being at all any other way. Seth (6) is hysterical in his professor like way of thinking, skinny little nerd boy who couldn't ever be like other 6 year olds. Wouldn't change a thing. Noah is perfect, whether he talks or not, whether he has 'issues' or not. Divine, funny, delicious boy. Lucky you.

(Don't you just want to soak all that mama-love up with a sponge? I just revel in the loveliness.)

New parents are afraid of autism, it's true. And anything remotely autism-like. Probably irrationally so. It's partly because we don't understand it -- I mean, hell, I'd say most of what I used to know about autism came from a Babysitter's Club book I read ages and ages ago, even though I'm not sure the author knew that much more about autism other than what she learned from Rain Man. The stuff I remember scared the crap out of me for years -- the brilliant, adorable baby girl who just shut down, practically overnight, around age 2. Who didn't talk at all, who flapped her hands and never made eye contact and who hated being touched but could play the piano beautifully and do that weird trick with knowing what day of the week any date fell on and never, ever got any better.

In short, autism = one-way ticket to freakhood, a bogeyman who came in the night and locked your baby's brain up in Rapunzel's tower, never to be released.

I obviously know a lot more now. Mostly from blogs. Autism is...well, it is what it is. It's not a death sentence, or some horrible, insurmountable killer of dreams...for many kids it's just a necessary label to get them the help they need, and with that help, a label that may one day fade back to "quirky."

As Karianna said, "a label is just a word. It doesn't need to be a whole sentence unless you make it so."

(By the way, I put this in the comments but I know I'm probably the only person who actually read all those comments [twice!], but our pediatrician actually has an autistic son. His son is grown now, and even attends community college. He [our doctor] is considered an expert in autism and autism-spectrum disorders, so no, I don't believe he's just jumping on the sensory-processing bandwagon because he got sent a brochure about it, and gee, this brochure sure does sound convincing-like.  He made it very clear that he is certain Noah is not autistic, but definitely exhibits signs that his delay is neurological in nature.)

(We're totally getting Noah's hearing checked anyway. I mean, I love our doctor and all, but still. We're in charge of things around these parts.)

(Also, I had tubes in my ears when I was five. I was practically deaf before, and my mom loves to tell the story about how she brought me home, turned on Sesame Street only to have me clap my hands over my ears and complain about how LOUD the television was.)

Jesus. What was I saying, before I went all parenthetical?

Right. The fear.

You know why I'm afraid of autism? Of delays and labels and illness and stuff that just ain't right with my kid?

Because I am afraid of myself. Of what I am capable of, of what I can handle, and that it won't be enough. There.

I woke up the other day with a fantastic idea. I could go back to work. At a real job, an office job. I could put Noah in a really good daycare center, where he could spend time with kids who talk and teachers who have a damn clue how to handle his tantrums and I could get dressed up and spend time with adults who talk and do things I have a damn clue about, like proper subject-verb agreement instead of teaching a stubborn-ass toddler the sign for milk.

Would that be bailing? Or just recognizing my limitations? I'm not even sure.

(God, I took a break to make Noah lunch and am already rolling my eyes as I reread this. I certainly have a knack for making every little thing into the end. of. the. freaking. world, don't I?)

I know things will get better. I know things are honestly not that bad now.  I know the worry will fade and I'll once again look at Noah as THE AMAZINGLY AWESOME NOAH, WHO ENJOYS ABALLS AND KISSES AND HAS THE BEST LAUGH IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE instead of this little ball of mystery quirks and frustrations and other things that I might be missing.

We all want our children to be perfect and beautiful and happy and brilliant and beloved by everyone they meet. (I'm projecting wildly here, yes, but bear with me, I've officially been an expert at this for a whole seven days now, har.) It hurts when you're told something different, be it a speech delay or ADHD or a heart problem or even just a bunch of mean kids at school who pretend to wash the slide for cooties after your child goes down it.

And it's scary when you're the grown-up, the one who needs to be strong and wise and tell them that everything is going to be okay, even when you don't feel strong or wise or know for sure if everything is going to be okay.

When the mean kids at my school pretended to wash the slide for cooties after I went down it and followed me to the swings with their invisible cans of cootiespray and then to the monkey bars and until I just stood in one spot by a tree for the rest of recess, I went home and I cried on my mom's lap for hours. I snuffled into her shoulder while we rocked in the same chair that I've always rocked Noah to sleep in. And she was strong and wise and told me that everything was going to be okay.

And it was.



And it will be OK for you and Noah. And yes, know your limitations, you would do a disservice to yourself and Noah if you did not. It's OK to cry about this, get mad about this, scream about this and also want to get away from this. Take a break when you can. Good luck Amy.


Amy - I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you and your family are going through this tough time. Especially the NOT knowing. It seems to me that you are strong, you just might not realize it. And it's obvious that you're Noah's biggest fan and advocate. That comes across loud and clear.


Delurking with tears. Helen? Where I can read your book 'cause you should be writing. Who knew that motherhood causes one to become such a good writer(s)? You too. Amy. Your posts amaze me.

Boyfriend has Asperger's. He's a nut and I love him. 43 yr old highly paid, highly functioning nutball. Love him.


Delurking with tears. Helen? Where I can read your book 'cause you should be writing. Who knew that motherhood causes one to become such a good writer(s)? You too. Amy. Your posts amaze me.

Boyfriend has Asperger's. He's a nut and I love him. 43 yr old highly paid, highly functioning nutball. Love him.


Amy, your story at the end of this post makes me want to give you a hug. You are handling this just exactly perfectly (is that poor grammar?) from where I sit. You keep on keepin' on. Lucky Noah, lucky you and Jason for having each other. And, I have to say it - I'm so sorry those kids were mean to you. As a mom, I can imagine it was as hard on your mother as it was on you - luckily she knew just how to handle that, as you do this situation! This is the most confusing comment ever left, probably. Sorry, and I hope you get what I am trying to say - hugs and good thoughts to you!




@ Helen: I would like to carry you around in my pocket.

Amy: You're priceless, so Noah is already ahead of the game and he will triumph.


Beautiful post. No matter what happens, Noah will be okay because he has parents that will do whatever is necessary to make it so. Love and hugs to you all.


Amy, your post breaks my heart at the end. I hate the mean kids, and now that I am a mom I hate it when the kids say hey I have good news and bad news you get to sit by me, bad news you have to sit by Aidan (my son) too. I want to slap them. Actually okay it was my nephew saying that and I did want to slap him and rip my kid out of the car and go far away with him on some great adventure for only us to enjoy. Not the best grown up thing to do, but I stood strong though. My son did not have a lot of words till he was 2.5 then all of a sudden he talks a mile a minute with tons of words. As a wise person said this to shall pass, and what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Keep you head up and we will all pray for you and Noah.



And never underestimate the therapeutic nature of zapping an insect with windex. Not that I would know what that looks like, or anything. (Come a little closer, you damn meal moth).

Yeah, anyway, keep staying strong!

Fraulein N

You all will be fine. Your obvious strength and candor, and the almost palpable love you have for your son convinces me of that.


My heart aches for the angst you're going through, and at the same time, reading this as an expectant mom-to-be, is a huge comfort. It's wonderful that you're sharing all this with us, because hey - my kid will come with a host of "issues" too, whether they are speech or cootie-related. Just so you know? (a) I now check your blog EVERY DAY for the Noah speech and flies update, and and (b) office jobs ain't so great - "adults" in said offices can throw tantrums too :) Take care of you during all this drama - administer sangrias as required.


Hi Amy, I occasionally lurk and just happened to be lurking today and read through some of your posts about what's going on with Noah. I was the lead Applied Behavior Analysis instructor for a little girl with an PDD for 3 years. I'm sure all of this is overwhelming to you, and at this point you don't have any kind of definite diagnosis. I just wanted to let you know that you may want to strongly consider looking into ABA therapy and get it started ASAP if your son happens to be diagnosed with autism. I really is a wonderful thing! The little girl I' worked with went from not being able to even say "mommy" or identify her own mother to going to a typical classroom and suceeding.


"Because I am afraid of myself. Of what I am capable of, of what I can handle, and that it won't be enough. There."

Amen, the reason for every fear ever. Your words speak more to me than what I can ever imagine having the guts to speak to myself.


I've gotta admit, your last paragraph made me tear up a wee bit. as you know, I've read your blog forever, love hearing about Noah and your lives in my awesome hometown, am a faithful Smackdown reader, loved meeting you, etc etc -- but as a non-parent, I can't always identify with a lot of your feelings toward parenthood.

but that last paragraph? killed me just a little bit. because I, too, have an amazing mom, and it blows my mind that you get to be that amazing mom to your fantastic little guy. I know you sometimes beat yourself up about over-thinking things, but hey, he's lucky to have a mom who cares enough to worry that much, you know?


It will be ok because you are loving enough parents who care and want help for your son.


I really believe that you, Amy, will be able to deal with this. To overcome any heartache, any fear, any label. Because even though you may be weak, being a mom makes you incredibly strong. You will to be strong for Noah. You will be his voice to the doctors and specialists. On the days when you feel like you can't do this anymore, you will continue to do this because there is no other choice. And when all of this is just a memory and Noah has overcome and won his battle you will be so much wiser. Then one day you will meet someone just like yourself, dealing with a "label" and you can be her strength.


This is my first comment to you though I have been reading for a while now. I work at a children's shelter, for kids who have been abused or neglected in any number of ways, and nearly every single one of our kids have issues, delays, anger management problems, etc. I was afraid at first that I wouldn't know how to handle these kids, but as I started working, I realized that they are who they are, and they need love and to be listened to.
Amy, Noah is beautiful and he is who he is, and he has parents (and various other family members) who love and adore him and and who listen to him.
Don't get too discouraged, everything will be ok.


OMG! Me, on Amalah! I feel I need to rush over to my blog and tidy up a bit and stop whining about moving house 3 times in as few months, also I might sound like I hate my husband at the moment, he is also aspergerish and drives me mad with his eccentricities but wow he does the dishes EVERY tme because they MUST be done the right way. I am just so happy that maybe I made you feel a bit better. Did you pop over and see the divine Isaac? Did you? He is gorgeous isn't he? I posted his sports day pictures, he can't do P.E because it would mean getting changed and taking off socks and people seeing him, so he 'hung out' with Anne his classroom helper, she adores him. Just skip the whining posts and look at the deliciousness of the brown eyed boys. The older Isaac gets the easier it is to delight in his differences, Noah might well just be taking his sweet time to talk but whatever, he is every bit as perfect as my Isaac, I worry not about him, or you. Thankyou for making me feel a bit special and have people want to carry me around in their pockets. And the running sentences?
My speciality.


Thanks for making me cry at work. Excellent post. Letting your feelings out is the best thing you can be doing for yourself now. We all love you and wish you the best.


Hugs to you Amy. I ditto what everyone else has said above. Parenting is scary - even when all goes well, so just know that you are doing fine and are allowed to feel however you feel! Best of luck.


Amy, sending rafts of love your way. You are the best writer in the world. And a fab mother.
I know you may have caught this in a Dear Abby column, but Google "Welcome to Holland," by Emily Kingsley. I didn't think anyone could express sentiments better than she, but you came pretty damn close.
Bless you all.


I hope it doesn't make me sound shallow or heartless, but I am so much more afraid of the last scenario in your post than I am of about anything else. It's what had me in tears by the end. Everything else has a reason, an explanation, as vague or confusing or new as it may be. But how do you explain the meanness of other people? I am so afraid of having to rock my child,when the kids on the playground are mean to her, telling her everything will someday be okay. That scares me the most because there is just no excuse for that and well within peoples' control. Unlike so many other things, like this for you, that bite you in the ass out of nowhere.

I have only been reading for a while now, but just from what I've read of you - you'll be able to handle whatever is thrown at you. And your entire family will come out beautifully in the end from your strength. Good luck over the next few weeks trying to sort this out and get some meaning from it and figuring it all out.

"Because I am afraid of myself. Of what I am capable of, of what I can handle, and that it won't be enough. There. " A beautiful description of every single mother I know. Thanks for having the guts to put it out there for the rest of us to relate to.



I've got several friends and neighbors with children who have Autism, ASD, SID, SPD, Downs Syndrome, etc... My own son has food allergies. One thing I know for sure is that no matter what the diagnosis, our children are still the SAME lovable, huggable children after diagnosis as they were prior to it. A diagnosis, a label, does not define them. Take one day at a time. The future you worry about now will be here before you know it and it so rarely turns out to be as bad as we make it out to be in our minds. You'll all be fine.


Delurking to say how much I appreciate your honesty. I am an Early Childhood teacher and would pay big money to have a classroom full of children with parents like you! You noticed something was "different" -- took action and are willing to do anything possible to get Noah {who is quite possibly the cutest boy ever} support. You will be surprised how strong you are ... it is very scarry in the gray area without answers and with all the what if's ... but it will get better ~ promise!

hello insomnia

So much to love here--the raw honesty, mama-love and also a Babysitter's Club reference (especially since I was also a BBC book club member and remember that book)! Thanks for sharing, Amy.


Lurker here. I was going to send you an email but I thought that would be weird because who sends emails to someone they don't know? Apparently, everyone but me. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I've been thinking about what's going on with you (I have a 20 month old) and worrying. Anyway, I'm also a resident of the Montgomery County suburbia land who thinks sangria play dates are just what I might need to survive. And the part that you wrote about the bullies and your mom? That was me, too.

And now I've gone and shared way too much in the comments, and I probably should have just emailed you...


Noah is one lucky boy to have a mama like you.


Okay, you need to take that comment from Helen and print it out, frame it in a gold plated picture frame and hang it up in your front hallway where you can read it each and every time you walk past it. It's THAT GOOD. And so so SO true. Noah is perfect the way he is because he's Noah. You wouldn't change it. You can handle it, you've handled it (fabulously) so far. God never gives us more than we can handle, right? *hugs*

Oh, and bullies totally suck. Amen.


I never comment (sorry!), but I was so moved by your post. Everything is going to be okay. You are wonderful parents who are going to do what's best for your beautiful son and your family. You are an amazing woman who will make it through this an even stronger person.


I'll delurk on this for knowing all to well the freak out mode. My son is 2 1/2 and we adopted him almost a year ago from Russia. We recently took him to the University of Washington adoption medicine center for an evaluation. We too were concerned about sensory processing disorder. The doctor reassured us that his behaviors were not indicative of SPD, however she wanted me to have some photographs taken of him for a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome eval. Oh my hell! My child... FAS? No way. I have yet to take the photos because I am that afraid. I know in the end we will have the tools necessary to help him if the need should ever arise, but at the moment I am trying to get past the whole she mentioned FAS and my son in the same sentence.

I am so freaked about it that I don't mention it on my blog. I haven't even told my mother. I am trying my damndest to spare my child from a label that, while I could handle, others would classify him as "that kid."

As moms we have the right to be concerned for our children, but at the same time we need to know so that we can have the tools to help our kids shirk the labels.

Jennifer Stiens

I never comment, but my friend went through much the same thing with her son. If you want, check out her website, She hasn't been writing much lately, but she's great.


Divine, funny, delicious boy. Lucky you. - Amen to that, sister!

It is scary. Seems like everything having to do with children these days is scary. We've been trying for a baby - this will be our 5th month. No luck yet (Yeah, fuck you plan!). Seems like once you get past the infertility issues...there is always something else to stress over...

Noah is perfect. And hey, he can ask for a beer and a ball so far, right? What else does a fella need these days ;)


I'm sure your e-mail address is somewhere on this site, but Lord help me because I cannot find it anywhere, but I wanted to say this:

When my Katie was diagnosed with a serious speech delay AND a Lord-only-knows-how-long hearing loss, I blamed myself to the nth degree. How did I fail her?

I had gestational diabetes. Yes, I followed my diet, but GOD! I had GD!

I didn't breastfeed. I had a horrific experience with her older brother (no milk production, yes it happens no matter what the LLL people say), so I skipped that three weeks o'hell with Katie.

I worked outside the home. I worked an opposite shift from my husband, so my children were in the care of one set of grandparents for about 90 minutes every day and the rest of the time they were with me or their dad or both of us. But GOD! I suck.

I beat myself up a lot. I was depressed for an entire year. I gained a TON OF WEIGHT.

Now that Katie can indeed talk, I find myself telling her to be quiet and then I want to slap myself because didn't I just spend two years praying every day that she would say one word?

Speech delays/disorders are difficult because everyone has a story about their nephew or their cousin or their best friend's sister's baby who never spoke until he/she was 8 and then they recited the Preamble to the Constitution. People don't want to believe that there are some children who just cannot talk.

My own husband thought Katie was just stubborn, that she was playing us. No, that child wanted to talk more than anything in the world. She just couldn't.

I don't know if I have a point to this, but I wanted you to know that I do know EXACTLY what you're feeling. I do.

Big Mama

You know how some kids seem to turn out okay in spite of their parents? I have no doubt Noah will turn out okay BECAUSE of his parents. Love covers all.

You'll do great. And so will he.


I don't have any kids and I live hundreds of miles away from Montgomery County, but when I read what you wrote about being afraid--being HUMAN--I wanted to drive right over with the biggest pitcher of sangria I could get my hands on.

And aballs aplenty.


I can't help but think, upon reading these posts, if all mothers loved their sons as much as you love yours, oh what a world this would be.

Don't apologize for loving him enough to worry and want for him.


I don't have anything helpful to add, but that last paragraph pulled so hard at my heart, and it pretty much sums up the kind of mother I feel you already are just from reading your blog. That's just my opinion.

And I'm pretty sure you're wonderful at "situation handling," even if you don't feel it right now.


Sometimes when I'm especially annoyed with everyone around me, I wish I was born normal instead of autistic. Mostly I don't care. I strongly suspect there are many times my mother wished for a more normal kid, but she likes me exactly the way I am now and wouldn't change a thing.

I'm not naturally a comfort-er, but I've done a lot of shit. I have a double degree from a good college, I have a good job, I live by myself, I am a generally all around kick ass kind of person, and damnit, people like me!

Whatever the outcome is, there's just no way it's the end of the world.

Good luck to you, though.


Delurking to say, this post is so amazingly true. Your courage to say that you're afraid of yourself inspires me. I know that feeling well.

But, more than anything, I wanted to fill you in on a little something I've figured out...your mom, when she was holding you and rocking you and loving you...she had the same crazy thoughts going through her mind about how to be enough for you and how to make people be nice and how to let you know that no matter what the world said, you don't have cooties and all that jazz.

It's easy to forget that our parents were human once too. Because to us, they have always been amazing knowers and healers of all things.

You are that to Noah and you will always be that to him.


XOXOXOXO to all of you.

Helen seems incredible, keep her close.

Everything will be ok in the end BUT the end isn't right now, and it may not be next week or even next month. Who cares if it isn't the end of the world. Right now it is happening and waiting sucks! If you need to hit, scream, rant, and write 500 posts about how hard this is then do it. Share with us!

Maxine Dangerous

Man, you have to stop writing so well. I'm totally developing a girl crush on you and I have no kids (oh and I, um, live in another state) so we can't go on Sangria-soaked play dates and I have a full-time job and I might be going back to school so I have NO time to stalk you and your family, so stop being so flippin' talented and poignant and breaking-my-heart-and-making-me-smile-simultaneously because, well, your posts are awesome and I totally want to be you when I grow up. :D Be scared all you want, grrlfriend. Noah is your baboo and I think most of us would react the same way with the fear and the eye rolling at self and all that. Big love! :)


I want you to know that I've been reading your blog for a couple years now & today, more than ever before, you make me want a child of my hopes that one day I could be the kind of mother you are.


When my sister was 15 she was diagnosed w/ thyroid cancer. My parents didn't think whe would live to see 16. She's fine now, with a husband and 6 year old.

Years later I asked my mom how she got through that. She said, "you get through in life what you have to. There is no other choice."

I think this is like that. You don't think you can do this, but you can. Because you love Noah. Becuase you have to. Because there is no other choice.


Please, please, will you be my friend? I could really use a sangria-soaked playdate, especially after hearing the third clinician in the last two months tell me they are concerned my son might have bipolar disorder.


Amy, I know we don't know each other, but I feel like I know you and Noah. I am tearing up at the thought of what an amazing wonderful Noah he is and how you WILL make it ok. I will be.


Good God Jesus Almighty. Helen made me cry. She is so absolutely right that its scary. Noah is Noah, and he's special and sweet and beautiful. And he's yours. I always heard that God doesn't give us more than we can handle, so ... there. You can handle this!

Oh. And I don't care if you blog about this every hour, every day. I'll still read it and I'll still care.


I have nothing cool or profound to say, but I know you guys are going to be perfectly fine. That's what mama's do. They grit their teeth, hug their baby close and go and do the impossible. You do it because it must be done, and your baby needs it.

I have read this blog for a few years, and while that doesn't make me an expert on all thing Amalah, I feel comfortable in saying that you are a "mama" through and through. Rock on.


Everyday I look at my 7 month old daughter and I hope and pray that she will grow up healthy and happy. I try to do the best job I can with the things that I can control...and that's just it, I can't control everything. This week, what I can't seem to get off my mind is the couple in Reno who didn't have time to feed their children because they were playing video games. Have you read the story? Looking at the mother's My Space page , it is breaking my heart to see the pictures she had posted of her 22 and 11 month old children. THOSE dear children had parents that didn't do the best they could. I'm going to hug my baby a little longer tonight before I put her to bed.


So I've been reading your blog for over a year now and this is my first comment!! YAY! anyways... I just wanted to say that I know that Noah will be the same amazing and beautiful little boy no matter if he is mildly autistic or has a speech delay or anything like that. As a sister of two younger twin sisters that had speech problems when they were younger and are soon starting their sophomore years in pre-med programs at an Ivy League school you should no that no matter what I WILL BE OK!
I also used to baby-sit for an autistic little boy from a few weeks after he was born, thru his diagnosis, and until he was seven and his family moved away. Of all the children I have baby-sat for over the years he was my favorite (not that I had favorites or anything) he was the sweetest, most polite, most intelligent, and most caring child I have ever met.

p.s. I know exactly which babysitters club book you are talking about. I remember crying because I was so angry at the kids who were charging other kids to see that autistic little girl "perform" like she was some sort of circus freak.

p.p.s you might also find it amusing that I actually started a baby-sitters club with 2 of my friends when I was 12 or 13 that was modeled after the club in the books.

wow thats long...I guess it makes up for over a year of lurking!

Jolie Steele

you are an excellent mama.

it's funny how every stage of life you get to, you look around and think, "how the hell did I get here already? aren't I still in middle school?" at lesat that's how I feel. (except, I kind of am still in middle school. well, college. hah.) everyone else that you've seen at your age seemed so much more mature and capable. but I think the truth is that everyone is scared and kind of winging it, and the ones that are honest about it are the best kind.


So I've been reading your blog for over a year now and this is my first comment!! YAY! anyways... I just wanted to say that I know that Noah will be the same amazing and beautiful little boy no matter if he is mildly autistic or has a speech delay or anything like that. As a sister of two younger twin sisters that had speech problems when they were younger and are soon starting their sophomore years in pre-med programs at an Ivy League school you should know that no matter what It WILL BE OK!
I also used to baby-sit for an autistic little boy from a few weeks after he was born, thru his diagnosis, and until he was seven and his family moved away. Of all the children I have baby-sat for over the years he was my favorite (not that I had favorites or anything) he was the sweetest, most polite, most intelligent, and most caring child I have ever met.

p.s. I know exactly which babysitters club book you are talking about. I remember crying because I was so angry at the kids who were charging other kids to see that autistic little girl "perform" like she was some sort of circus freak.

p.p.s you might also find it amusing that I actually started a baby-sitters club with 2 of my friends when I was 12 or 13 that was modeled after the club in the books.

wow thats long...I guess it makes up for over a year of lurking!


This one just got saved into my "Posts to Keep" folder.


Amy, have you read "A Girl Named Zippy" by Haven Kimmel? It's a brilliant and hilarious autobiography about her childhood. She didn't start speaking until later on, but when she did! Watch out! And what a brilliant little girl. This book is so funny and real. I think you would love it. I'm cry from laughing every time I read it. Maybe it would be good in this tricky time. (Best of luck!)


I'm all weepy now.....


your mother sounds like she was wonderful, just as you are and no doubt will continue to be with Noah.

Have faith in your ability to handle this and anything else thrown your way in the most loving, capable and gracious way ... because we certainly do!


oops ... I made it sound as though your mother has passed. I didn't mean to. Unless she has? Oh, sweet jesus, that's too much stress. just know I meant "your mother sounds wonderful!" I need a snack!


I actually got tears in my eyes at the last part of this post. I had not realized that you're not really afraid of Noah being different, you're afraid of what the other kids will do about his difference.

I know how that feels, and it hurts my heart.

But it goes on.

I grew up afraid of dogs. I had been bitten at age 5, and while I didn't run screaming at the sight of them, I didn't want to get close to them either. For some reason this was something so extraordinary that half the school devoted itself to teasing me about it - chasing me home from school barking at me, making fun of me...

But that wasn't as hard as seeing the kids pick on my geeky 15 year old grandson. Can't they see this kid is really an angel? I love him to death, and he sucks books in like they were food, and knows more about computers than I do now, but he's tall, gangly and geeky, and he suffers from it every day. And that hurts my heart.

But it goes on. Noah will survive whatever teasing there is, just as you did. He's still one of the most delicious kids I have ever seen, I would just love to nuzzle his neck, and he's going to be just fine. So are you.


I know a couple of other people have said things similar to this, but what so many children wouldn't give to have parents like you all.

I have a 2.5 year old in my class that stands on top of tables, repeating the words "Put your feet on the floor" over and over and over. (This is what we tell them when they get on tables, etc.) When you say "Hello, Christopher" he walks around repeating "Hello, Christopher" for at least 20 minutes. In random spouts, he will echo what he has heard. This Echolalia is a huge sign of autism. Not only this, bit many other signs point straight to autism (Not letting anyone touch him, will not look you in the eye, will focus on one task all day long, etc.) His parents won't even take him to have him evaluated. They won't even TRY.

There are several kids, ranging from ages 6 months-5 years that I have come into contact with that their parents do nothing about their quite obvious symptoms. Although I am fairly certain sweet Noah does not have Autism, it is so admirable of you to be taking all of the right steps. Good luck!

PS- Your story broke. my. heart.


We went through a whole 3 day autism screening process when our son was three and not talking and being all quirky like. When they told us after the 3rd day that our son was not autistic, I was actually a bit sad (one would think I'd have been overjoyed), because I still knew something was wrong and two years later we learned it was his hearing that was the cause. Follow your instincts and remember that what ever it is that Noah's going through, it doesn't change who he is one bit. He'll always be your perfect little boy and with time and therapy, he'll catch up and be fine. Thankfully, you're catching it early and he should be all caught up by the time he starts school. It's amazing how fast these little ones can catch up. Good job!


Excellent that your doctor has personal experience with spectrum disorders and all that. Hooray for reality, not big-pharma-vulnerability!

And hooray for all your wisdom displayed in this post. You are TOTALLY on the aball.


Oh My hell. Blogs need to stop making me cry today. Because while I am all writing ridiculousness about the Emmys and stupid shit like that, everyone else is making me cry. Like a nutjob.

Thanks for making me cry!

Suzy Q

Ok, I was all fine until you got to the part about being the Cootie Girl. That part, even as sad as it was, didn't even make me sniffle so much as the fact that you had a mom you could snuggle up with and cry on. I didn't have that kind of mom.

Lucky you. Lucky Noah.


I read today's post and got sappy. I wept not because of the worry that you are naturally feeling or out of sympathy as a mother or for the story that you told about the horrible playground children...BUT I wept about what a FINE mother you are and how all children should be so lucky to have a mother as loving as you. You were given the gift of Noah and all of his noahness because YOU were the MOST capable person for the job. Who more could Noah possibly want by his side during every difficult patch in his life, but you? And no your not totally perfect, but neither are the doctors, or the daycare providers, or any of us mothers for that matter...BUT you ARE totally perfect to him (Noah).


beautiful, wise, honest post. i will come back to this one over and over once i become a mama.


Sangria-soaked playdates? Yes please. Why do you live so damn far away? :)

Amy, these things take time to please don't feel the need to censor yourself because of the Internet's small window of compassion. You're going to have to work some things out, and since this is your space to do so, allow yourself that freedom. That's my 2 cents worth of assvice. Let yourself go through this, because it is genuinely difficult.

But you are doing a good job. And I promise, you ARE enough for Noah. Again, if there is anything I can help with, let me know. I'm afraid I'm an old hand at all of this now.


Seriously? You need to post a Hanky Alert Index at the beginning of your entries so we know to have them on hand.

I love The Wonderful Noah and wish I could hug him and you.


Having never had Sangria before [!] maybe this is the perfect opportunity.
Best wishes


Sangria is AWESOME - just get some crappy red wine, soak fruit chunks in it, refrigerate and YUM. Cold sweet girly drunken goodness that will complete your life.


Amy, just a quick note to say I'm so sorry you were picked on in school... makes me want to bitch slap those kids and the teachers who weren't paying attention to a sad little girl.

Heather B.

Alrighty. We're getting drinks. Monday or Tuesday. Pick one. And I can't drink so you can drink and I'll listen and cry and drive you home but WE ARE GOING OUT.

Love, HB


Wow, that is really all I can say. I've been reading this blog for awhile now, but this is my first comment. I know the fear you are talking about. I have 2 boys myself, and secretly, in the back of my mind I watch for every milestone they are "supposed" to reach...and do a silent happy dance when they actually get there.
I think we could all take your advice to just sit back and enjoy our kids for what they are, not what they are supposed to be. The time goes by so damn fast, why waste it worrying about things that in the long run certainly aren't the most important? Noah will be fine, because he has you as his mom and you will be strong enough to get both of you through this. My thoughts will be with you - best of luck!


"just a necessary label to get them the help they need" - YES. I work with special needs kids and we have had parents not tell us their kids diagnoses for fear that we will treat them differently. Which is insane since a) we're going to figure it out for ourselves and b) the more we know, the better we can help the child. Labels can even be quite freeing. A speech delay is nobody's fault, it just is. And since you're doing the very best thing you can for your child, which is addressing it and getting him the help he needs, it probably won't be for long.


Dearest Amy -

First of all, sangria is nectar of the gods. It's all kinds of awesome and you must, must try it. I promise, you won't regret it. The hangover after gallons and gallons well, maybe, but, the sangria itself - you will LOVE.

Noah is awesome and special and we all know that. Readers of your blogs also know that you and Jason will deal with this "whatever" it turns out to be. I can't say anything to make you feel better, but know that all of us out here in the blog-o-sphere care about you and your family. You will make this work.

And I'm not going to give you stories. You've read enough. But, after reading your blog for over two years, I feel like I KNOW you. And we could be bestest friends (STALKER, STALKER). Anywho - my youngest son just turned four. And one night about a month ago, I'm brushing his teeth like I normally do (otherwise known as: as best as a four year old lets you). I see an ominous-oh-my-god-brown-spot. It's a cavity. A crater. How could I have not noticed this before? Am the worst mother EVAH. I, no lie, agonized ALL NIGHT LONG. I cried. I did not sleep. Seriously. All night. I get him in to see a highly recommended pediatric dentist. Boy will not leave my side. Will not let anyone look in his mouth, much less clean or x-ray the teeth. Finally, after one hour of crying (his and MINE), the dentist gets in there, takes a look and decrees that yes, he has two cavities. AT LEAST. Send home with brushing instructions and a fluoride gel. Come back in three months and we'll try again. In the meantime, the cavities are still there, mocking me, dancing away, having a big, mo-fo party in my son's mouth. So, yeah. I'm a wreck. I'm convinced that his teeth are going to fall out of his mouth. AM THE WORST MOTHER EVAH.

So, I guess, what I took five thousand words to say is, we are here for you. All will be well.


Amy - I wish I could add some great internet words of wisdom, but I think Helen has said it the best. So, all I can offer is my interweb shoulder and a big internet hug. My thoughts are with you and I know that no matter have the strength to deal with it. I believe that even though at times we feel tested, we are never given more than we can handle.

Oh, and if you had been coming to Chicago...we could have totally had a Sangria soaked playdate! :)


My son is speech delayed. I know it. The doctors know it. He's two and says a lot of stuff I don't understand and mostly drags me around the house by my wrist and points at what he wants. And he used to say "kitty", "what's that?" and "outside" when he was 10 months old. No shit. Now he says none of those. It is concerning and thus, I understand every feeling you have written and shared here. All I can say, in my very finite wisdom, is that it's all gonna be alright. You & Jason have insane amounts of love for your son and no matter what you end up finding out, it's going to be okay.


Hi. Coming late to chime in and say, something. I'm not sure exactly what yet.

My husband didn't talk until he was three and then started talking in full sentences, non-stop. He did have a learning disability, but went on to get his doctorate and makes a very good living now running his own business.

My nephew learned some words before two, but then stopped saying them for his third year when he discovered the word "dis" (this) which basically covered everything. At six, he now has read all the Harry Potter books but #7.

I never associated talking late with autism. Of course, autistic kids talk late, but so do a lot of other kids.

And even if he has autism, which seems unlikely, he won't have changed at all. He will still be perfect Noah. An adjustment/mourning period is perfectly understandable, but in the end he will still be there for you just as before.

Somehow, though, I think it won't be autism. I"ve known toddlers with autism and there are many other signs other than late-talking, that set them apart.

I loved the comment that you've posted in your latest post, though. It really puts things in perspective. Sometimes the fear of something is worse that the thing itself, which often turns out to be quite lovely.


For the record amy I generally do go back and read your comments so I was happy (well not happy like that) to hear that your ped has an autistic son - I hope that reads right because I think maybe that can help you a little. I want to take the time to say thank you for sharing so much of your life with us I can only imagine how hard it is to be going through what you go through right now. My heart broke and I cried as if I was crying with you when you shared the beginning of this journey with us. I just started reading your blog maybe six months ago but I went back and read your archives to catch up. As I was reading this post today my mind went back to a post you did where you talked about how awesome a person Noah was and how much fun he was and I thought because of that you,him and jason will be ok and I smiled.


I'm so glad that we are back to Noah. Also glad to read that you will get his hearing checked. Since he is so young, he may not respond properly to a normal hearing test. My son didn't. He was finally given an ABR test (automatic brainstem response) and voila..we had answers. So, so grateful for the answers because at least we could make plans (once the shock wore off).
Best wishes to you.
By the way..Helen rocks!


Hi Amy!
Ok, like I said, I am a speech pathologist. I only work with kids birth to three (early intervention) and I love it! I have read your blog for almost a year now. I am in love with Noah and I can't help but give you some possibly unwanted advice (until Noah's speech therapist starts).
First, I recommend that all of my kids get hearing tests just to rule that out. Whisper Noah's name when he isn't looking and see if he responds. If he does, it means that he hears enough for speech. Also, try to get Noah to imitate the "s" sound while playing with a toy snake. That is usually the first sound that hearing impaired kids lose because it is high frequency.
Try to get Noah to imitate animal and environmental sounds (beep beep, choo choo, vroom). That is usually more successful than words and more fun for the kids.
Try to get him to sign "please" or "more". You can blow bubbles and take his hand and make him sign it (hand over hand). The key is repetition---do it over and over again until he understands that he can use signs to communicate.
The good thing about signs is that you can make the child sign (with hand over hand) but you can't MAKE them talk. Also, so many parents get frustrated when children learn new words and later lose them. Kids don't "lose" signs because they are meaningful to them. Always use the word with the sign and eventually children add words to the signs.
Label everything that Noah touches and try to pair actions with words. For some reason, kids are more likely to imitate words when they are paired with an action (like hop hop hop, pop, pop, pop, kick, kick etc...)
Sorry for the long post. If you need any more possibly unwanted advice, I'm your girl!
And...all of your feelings about this are totally natural. Noah is your little angel. Of course you want to know what he is thinking. You don't want him to be frustrated because he can't communicate with you. Good luck!


..."and it was"....


don't beat yourself up in the meantime...give your luscious boy a kiss and hug...


What you wrote in your last paragraph made me cry. It's amazing how we remember those moments like if it was yesterday. I was also one that would go to my mom and she would always asure me that everything was going to be just fine.
Noah is such a precious little boy, he will be alright. And so are you and Jason.


You can totally rubber-band a flyswatter to my toddler. We'll add it to his list of stupid human tricks...

I have no sage advice to offer. But, if you want to come visit the wilds of Charles Town, we can get liquored up on some good Pinot Noir and curse all pediatricians who make parents paranoid about their kids.

Bonus points if you bring the hubcap and his recipe book. He and my other half can do a (very-manly-totally-macho) recipe exchange while I giggle like a fan-girl and resist the compulsion to braid your hair.

I mean, if ever there was an offer impossible to refuse... *cough*


Beautiful post Amy, keep your spirits up, it'r be ok! Promise!


I LOVE sangria soaked playdates! That sounds wonderful to me! Can I have an invite?

Amy, Karianna is so right, you are totally on the aball. It is also good that your pediatrician has experience with ASD. It will be much easier for you to get assitance with your insurance and services because his office will know how to "write it up" for maximum benefit.

Spiff had tubes in his ears too, and it worked a treat! He did have fluid, and more than they thought from the scans. I highly recommend testing and tubes if necessary.

Like another poster, I feel bad that you had such a traumatic playground experience. Kids will be mean, but I know for a fact that cute kids, especially boys tend to get the little girls in the class to help them out without asking a thing, and what guy DOESN'T want a bunch of women doing his bidding?

Trust me on this. It amazes me every time. Spiff, my little studmuffin.



Oh, yes, Autism Spectrum Disorders. How do I love/loathe thee?
Honey, having a child with a label is a Loss.
It's a Loss of a dream.
That my child would be perfect!
That My life will be great when I'm a Mom!
That kids will make our marriage even stronger!
It's all a crock, as
Either speech delays, Autism Spectrum stuff, Emotional disorders, motor delays, congenital disorders; you name it, every kid has something.
So, as a parent, you go through the stages of grief that all loss entails. Then you get your child the best help you can find. And the coolest thing is you'll find the greatest support group of parents you ever imagined. Tolerant, fun, supportive; they know what you are feeling and will feel.
And as for Master Noah? I think he'll get those little eardrums tubed, and possibly get some speech therapy. And in 2 years you'll be wondering what in the heck you were so worried about.
And if they do assign a Label to him, well then I just bet you've got yourself an Engineer!


Amalah- depending on how things go in the next few weeks, i did want to let you konw my brother is on the autism sepctrum and happens to be a patient with the top psychologist and Psychiatrist for austim spectrum in Montgomery County. They can get your kid anything you need with the MC education & health deptments. If you every need thier names/a referal i'm sure i can get you one. Niehter are offically excepting new patients.

On the 'different' thing. All i can say is that by brother is the joy in my life. Even when his quirks get annoying, he's still the most wonderful kid (well teenager) ever.


Amy, I'm a long-time reader of your site (I found it through my friend Aleigh who used to have a site called "Confessions of a Nobody" but she's handling two jobs and just organized a wedding, so she hasn't posted in, I don't know, four hundred years?) and I'm a single, childless woman of 38 living in Manhattan who reads you all the damn time because you make me laugh my ass off.

I can't identify with you and the things you're going through with Noah, but I CAN identify with you as a smart, funny woman who can turn even the most tumultuous situations into entertaining and intelligent reading.

I feel for you in this situation you're going through and I hope that, if I actually ever HAVE a child, I'll be able to deal with something like this with as much humor and love as you have.

Who's to say what's normal? I started reading when I was barely one and I was the tidiest child on the planet. I also didn't have hair until I was four. I was a freak. If there'd been testing at that point, maybe someone would have raised a red flag. As it was, I just placed out of most reading levels, had to get glasses earlier than any child known to man, became a web developer and grew a head of red hair that draws looks from every New Yorker I pass.

Noah isn't defective -- he's different. And that is fucking awesome.

You rock, your husband rocks, and that little bebeh you're raising rocks. So hard.

You'll get through this just fine.


I'd like to be one more voice saying, "I've been there too." Actually, I'm still there. My daughter who will be 8 in less then a month had a speech delay. And no one could satisfactorily figure out why. She went to therapy for 9 months. She now is speaking fine. My youngest son, now 4 has a delay as well. And will be tested next month sometime to determine what maybe causing it. But, I have such hope, cause I watched my daughter slowly begin to integrate "our" language in with "hers". So all that to say, hang in there, and honestly, as much as you can, follow your gut instincts.


i'm not a lurker, but i'm teared up too.

XO from NJ

Kate Taylor

Oh my God!! Break my heart! I had two Bell's beers and read your blog--Now I am sobbing like a fool. You are so gifted with your writng talents.


You are right, it is so, so hard to be the one who tells them that everything is going to be ok when you can see the forces arrayed against them.

My stepson (my fiance and I have full custody) is fortunate enough to have no neurological or personality disorders, at least that have developed yet. But his mother is a drug addict. (Now you know why we have custody.) He's only eight years old and he has already had to deal with betrayal and rejection from his mother, who he loves dearly. We've already had to tell him that he has half siblings, born after him, that his mother hid from him and gave up for adoption; as he gets older and begins to comprehend some of the things he went through as a child he's going to experience the rejection all over again.

Right now she's in rehab, and seeing him--supervised--a little more frequently. I don't know what the future is going to bring. She's not made it a year yet, and the odds are against her--and even if she makes it she'll always be at risk. And I have to sit there and tell him that it's ok, that his mom loves him and wishes she could be with him, that his dad and I love him more than anything in the world. That it is going to be ok.

You can't control what Noah is going to have to struggle with in his life. You can love him, you can support him But ultimately, he is going to have to fight his battles himself. You're just learning that earlier than most.

Everything will be alright. You love him. That's the most important thing he needs.


This was an amazing post. And you know what? You are acting like any normal parent. Something happens when you have babies that turns on the worry gene. And you need it because you have so much love for that little human being that you want nothing bad to happen to them. Ever. After 29 years, my mom still makes me call when I get home from out of town, etc.

I obviously only know you through the internet and not personally, but I've read every single post (nerd alert) and I think you are a fantastic parent! The love you have for Noah is so off the charts. Which is why I know you all are going to be fine.

And I'm glad that it is something you do keep talking about. Like your friend said last week, you are allowed to have really strong feelings about this. No matter what they are. It's perfectly natural.

Good luck and keep us posted and lots of hugs your way.


I don't usually comment, but I feel like I need to. Yet I've tried to comment or email 3 different times and I couldn't do it. And I know why, this is my greatest fear as a parent. My daughter will be one next week and I've always been terrified that something could be wrong. She doesn't say a thing besides babbling,she won't drink her milk/formula, she's not "normal". I know it's okay, I know she's okay. But that back of my mind fear is awful. I am glad you are still talking about it because I think it's important that you do. And know that Noah is a wonderful loved little boy. One day you will look back and this will be but a memory, but until then, thanks for letting us in your family's life.


Hey Amy- my Mom (who has a doctorate in early childhood education) insisted something was wrong with my Annie. Her tantrums were EPIC, and she didn't make a lot of eye contact, and repeated a lot of what was said to her. She is now 3.5, and a total ball buster. She talks so much it's insane. Her sister, Lucy- had tubes put in at 18 months- she had so much fluid in her ear, the surgeon said it looked like sticky glue. (Nice visual on ear goo). Anywhoo- Lucy didn't talk much- but I knew she understood. After the tubes- she's a lean, mean talking machine.

Keep trusting your instincts, keep being grateful for this charming little boy, and utilize the hell out of any and all resources available-- for nothing else than to give YOU some peace.
Take care-


Hey Amy- my Mom (who has a doctorate in early childhood education) insisted something was wrong with my Annie. Her tantrums were EPIC, and she didn't make a lot of eye contact, and repeated a lot of what was said to her. She is now 3.5, and a total ball buster. She talks so much it's insane. Her sister, Lucy- had tubes put in at 18 months- she had so much fluid in her ear, the surgeon said it looked like sticky glue. (Nice visual on ear goo). Anywhoo- Lucy didn't talk much- but I knew she understood. After the tubes- she's a lean, mean talking machine.

Keep trusting your instincts, keep being grateful for this charming little boy, and utilize the hell out of any and all resources available-- for nothing else than to give YOU some peace.
Take care-


Perfect. It took me months to get to where you are in a week. You guys are going to be awesome. You are an inspiration, just for your honesty alone. Not to mention the other good mom, good writer, funny as hell stuff.


I've been reading your blog for quite a while, but have never commented until today. I wanted to echo what so many other posters have said: you are an incredible writer and a wonderful, loving mother to your son. He really is a lucky, and absolutely beautiful little guy. I'm sure everything will be all right, because he's got you on his side. You can handle anything that comes your way. Thanks for this post, and sharing your life with us.

Mediocre Housewife

I'm sure you have enough on your plate already, but if you ever want to read another blog, there's one by a gal named Ali Edwards (for you scrapbooking fans, she has a monthly column in Creating Keepsakes - woot!)

Anyway, Ali has a 5 year old son with Aspergers and she blogs frequently about the challenges and the joys (mostly the joys) of raising him. It's a wonderful, uplifting blog and might be useful to you.


You are the best mother for Noah, no matter what you think are your limitations.

The comments to this entry are closed.