Saturday, September 29, 2007


I'm still processing my feelings about Frankie's feelings.

Or the lack of them.

He was very happy to get to talk to his mom and his sisters. He wanted to tell them all about the animals and seemed to expect them to be happy for him. He was proud that he was finally in "a real home with a real mom and a real dad." Yep, they could call anytime they wanted and they could talk as long as they wanted. There were no restrictions on when he could have calls, because this was a real home. We even have dogs and a retarded cat.*

It bothered him that his sister was so sad. He wanted to cheer her up. It distressed him that he couldn't, and he really did try. In the end promising that he would come live with them when he was 18 seemed to work the best. He tried hard to explain to his sister why he couldn't home. He said it was all about choices that he, his dad, and their mother had made.

He was genuinely distressed when he warned his mother not to fight too hard for her rights because when his father did that he went to jail.

Hubby noticed that he was more relaxed with them. Hubby now wonders if some of "did you know..." conversations are partly anxiety about trying to impress us. Maybe. He did try to do a little of that with his family, but not as much. Mostly he asked them how they were and bragged about his real home.

After an hour he said he had to go because we were going to watch a family movie, but he would call them back. He hung up and told me laughing about telling his mother about wanting to be a girl. He said that his mother got back on the phone and said that she accepted it, but that his step dad was going to have to take some time to get used to it.

He was relaxed and happy and started telling me about the two glasses that he bought at the dollar store. "Do you know why Chinese glass is thin and American glass is heavy? It is because American floors are so hard. If you drop a Chinese glass" (he holds up the blue glass goblet he bought) "onto an American floor it will go crash" (He didn't say "crash" but I don't know how to spell the crashing sound) "but the Chinese have different floors and if you drop an American glass" (holding up the C*ke bottle glass) " on a Chinese floor the floor will break!"

And then he wanted to watch the movie. He had seen the movie before so he could give me useful information so that I didn't get confused "Those people are that guy's friends" and so I wouldn't get frightened, "It is going to be really spooky, so you might not want to watch this part, Yondalla. He doesn't die though."

And it seemed odd to me that he seemed to have so little to process. It was just the same ole Frankie, laughing at the scary parts of the movie.

And for some reason it was all so surreal to me. It was strange that it took him so long to figure out why his sister was upset. It was strange that he seemed to think they would be happy for him because he was in a real home with a real mom and a real dad. He used that description a dozen times. I know that he was proud to be out of institutions and group homes. He did not seem to get the implication that he was suggesting that I was more real than his real mother.

Of course that is not what he meant. I know that was not what he meant. He meant that he was out of institutions. Hubby and I are real parents, not paid employees. He did not mean to imply anything at all about his own, first, natural mother. He just wanted them to be proud of him. He worked hard and he got to leave the treatment center and the group home and live with a real family.

But that upset his sister, and it took him a while to figure it out. Actually, I am not sure that he did figure it out. Promising to move in with them when he was 18 seemed to help, so he said it.

And though Hubby insists that he does not have Asperger's, and I have completely agreed, suddenly I am not so sure. How could he be so clueless about the emotional states of others? How could he talk to the sisters and mother he has not spoken to for six weeks, rarely seen in years, and not seem to have any emotional response?

And I don't know why it is bothering me so much, except that he seemed so foreign to me tonight, so incomprehensible. I've been worried about him, and I guess the gap between him and the rest of us just seemed so much bigger tonight.

But he is still Frankie. As he settled down to the movie he said, "Do you notice there aren't many black people who are heroes in movies? We are still racists you know. We should be more like the Orcs or Trolls, they don't have any racism. So we should be like them.... Only not as dim-witted."

The cat is not retarded, but it is brain damaged. In some parts of the world they are called "spastic cats." Fortunately our kitty's condition is mild.


  1. If not autism, perhaps he has learned to lock his feelings away as a means of survival. It is always shocking to me when I see new things in a foster child that I realize come from such neglected backgrounds. Sad, and shocked, that any child had the life they have had.

  2. Mrs Butter B4:50 PM

    Aspergers does look more possible, doesn't it? Or something...


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