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Living with Luke 5

May 1, 2013


Something rather lovely happened between me and Tiddles the other night.  It WAS a complete accident but it did make me feel like a proper dad. 

Let me explain…

Tiddles, as you may recall from previous posts, doesn’t actually ‘care’ about me, at least not in the sense that we know it.  ‘Tolerates’ is probably a better word.  I’ll say ‘good morning’, he’ll reply ‘good night’.  I’ll say ‘Have you hurt yourself?’ to which he’ll shout ‘Have you hurt your sois?’  I did change it slightly one day, when I walked into his room and simply said, ‘Morning!’

His reply?


We have a routine when I put him to bed – eventually.  Lights off, and I’ll kiss him and say,

“Goodnight Luke, love you.  Sleep well, sweet dreams.  See you in the morning.”

He’ll repeat it back, most of the time.  Understand though that he’s merely repeating.  He doesn’t understand the meaning behind my little routine.  To him it’s something he does before bed, like cleaning his teeth, or putting his PJ’s on.  And as I say, most of the time he’ll repeat it.  If he’s in a bad mood however, which is something he is a lot these days (which could be puberty or something else going on in his world), then he’ll simply shout at me, ‘No love you!’

As any parent will tell you, to have your child say that to you at any time hurts like a bugger.  To have your autistic child shout this at you seems to hurt that little bit more.  I tell myself he doesn’t mean it, that he doesn’t understand, and that it’s just his way of dealing with stuff to say the opposite of what’s been said to him.  I’m not stupid, I know he doesn’t realise what he is saying some of the time.  But sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

BUT, the other night, this happened.

Lights off.  “Goodnight Luke…”

“Love you…”


“I love you too Luke.”

“Love you too Luke.” He replied and then realising his mistake, “Daddy.”

I realised that he had thought I had already said it and just repeated what he thought I had said, but just for a second, one second, he was in my world.  And I loved it.

He didn’t stay; he just popped over for a visit, and then went back to Narnia.  But I hugged him and kissed him for that brief visit before he phased out from my world again. 

Moments like that are few and far between.  But they are all the more special when they do happen.

Tiddles has a way of looking through me, rather than at me.  It’s a common trait of autistic children not to make eye contact, which makes it all the more difficult to know if he has actually heard what you are saying.  He briefly and I mean briefly, looked at me before his eyes flicked away again, and I knew the moment had passed.

 We have fun in our own way, and we count ourselves lucky that we at least get some affection from Tiddles.  There are autistic children who cannot bear to touch or be touched.  I have that at least with Tiddles.  He wants to sit with me, play with me in his own idea of playing and I’ll even take the thwacking as a sign of affection.  But sometimes, I wish…

You know what I mean…? 


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One Comment
  1. I know exactly what you mean…

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