Like many autistic people, Nigel’s always had a hard time being around babies. He just can’t filter the crying. It’s one of the only sounds that he still hasn’t been able to filter very well because of the unpredictable nature of it. That, and he just doesn’t understand why they can’t stop. It’s hard for him to be patient or understanding because his ears are killing him. “Can’t that baby stop crying?” he’ll say when he hears one in a store. Telling him that the baby can’t help it – or that he cried when he was a baby too – doesn’t help at all. It’s not about trying to develop understanding and patience. It’s about needing relief for his sensitive hearing.
And it started early on, too. Nigel was not yet two when Aidan was born, and Aidan had an even harder time with SPD than Nigel did. Poor Aidan spent about 80% of his waking life crying, and poor Nigel literally climbed the walls while Aidan did it. In fact, one of Nigel’s first words – “cying” – was said to describe his brother. Cying = crying without the “r”. He couldn’t say Mom or Dad, but he could say cying. “Yes, Aidan is crying,” I would say, and Nigel would run out of the room.
Nigel has no memory of those days, but he still can’t handle babies crying. He knows they can’t help it, he now understands that, but he wishes they didn’t have to do it. I told him that I’m sure their parents feel the same way!
But, despite how he feels about babies, Nigel is excited to have a baby cousin. He went to see Nolan shortly after he was born, and Nigel was a little nervous, but quite receptive. Now, Nolan is two months old, and we were very happy to have him (and his mom!) come to Nigel’s graduation party this week. Nolan was very willing to accommodate his cousin and only cried while his diaper was being changed. After Nolan was fed and happy, Nigel came over, smiled at him, and said, “Hi, Nolan. Hey, little guy.” Nolan broke into a sweet grin and Nigel exclaimed, “He likes me!” Then he said, “But I’m pretty sure he’s not ready for some Godzilla action.”
Just yawning, fortunately . . .