I can not believe today's Manny's fifth birthday. 5. FIVE. Five years...he's starting school in September, I feel so old! It feels like it wasn't that lon ao I was giving him bottles and singing "Golden Slumbers" to him as I put him to bed...and Elton John's "Daniel"...and Fountains of Wayne's "Hey, Julie" but I changed the words to "Hey, Daniel" when I was feeding him because it was difficult to get him to eat unless he was distracted by something else.
I lived with Mick & Deb & Manny from the time Man was 9 months old to his first birthday.
Today he told me he was my #1 fan. And gave me a black eye.
I had picked him up to give him a birthday hug and my father started tickling him over my shoulder. Manny wiggled and accidentally slammed his head into my sunglasses, which pushed them hard into the side of my nose and under my eye. It's bruising nicely.
He doesn't really "get" birthdays and holidays. He knows exciting things happen, and he's excited other people are excited, but that's about the extent of it.
Like at Christmas, he'd be as happy with 1 present as he'd be with 100. My brother jokes he takes longer than any other kid in the world to open his presents because he opens one, and he's thrilled with it, and then you have to remind him there's more. Woe to you if the second-through-the-last presents aren't as interesting as the first, because that's the one he'll keep trying to go back to.
He doesn't understand games, either. I got him CandyLand a few years ago because every kid should have CandyLand. I shouldn't have even written "because" in there. So anyway, I got him CandyLand and he just doesn't...he doesn't get it. He doesn't understand following a set of rules to achieve a goal-- everything must be immediate gratification. His birthday last year was torture for him because he found out there would be cake and he couldn't think of anything else until he finally got the cake.
He's totally obsessed with cars. And I mean obsessed. He knows every car on the road, make and model. It's given him a few cool chances, like when fancy car owners hear him get all excited over their cars they invite him to sit in it, but then he sits like a lump because he doesn't care to pretend to drive or honk the horn or anything. Then it's awkward for a minute but the owners are gracious about it...I guess they see something's wrong. And, the other day actually, Deb took Manny with her to go get a pinata for his party on Saturday and when he picked it the store associate handed it to him and Manny said, "Whoa, look at that Dodge Charger!!" Or Challenger or... Charlemagne, I don't know, doesn't matter, and the associate gave them a 15% discount on their order because of Manny's awesomeness.
He's a sweet boy...I wonder what he'd be like if he weren't autistic/Asperger's. I wonder where he is under those layers of distance and detachment...I wonder who he is under it.
Either way, the Manny I have is better than the Manny I don't, and I adore the Manny I have.
Happy birthday, sweetheart. Aunt Joz loves you.