Two weeks back Sweet M was looking particularly lovely, and so I commented, in that offhanded way parents can comment, "You know, I think you may just be the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world."
"Uh-humph, you know, Mom, that there are millions of moms all around the world who think their girl is the most beautiful girl in the world."
Touché, Sweet M.
Not only is this a fine example of perspective taking — a skill that is supposedly outside of her cognitive repertoire — but I think that this may mark the formal start of adolescence. Of course there are the physiological changes . . . hormones carving out a waist, hips, bust, and provoking the occasional acne. But the real change of adolescence — a least among neurotypical folks — is that shift from caring about what your parents think to caring about what your friends think.
I'm wondering how that's going to work for our girl, who has yet to find her way into the world of friendships. What will her version of cool look like when she continues to be interested in Arthur while her classmates have moved far beyond Hannah Montana?
We have, more or less, stopped wondering when she'll catch-up. Her developmental trajectory is so far from being linear that we've stepped off the development milestones straight and narrow. But I still wonder when she's catch-on — find her own way to some version of cool and some kind of friendship. Is this a reasonable goal, or a parental delusion, something like the (mis)perception that she's the most beautiful girl in the world?
This photograph is of Sweet M's class workbook from spring 2007. Three years ago. We're still working on "I want a friend." And still wondering why something that is supposed to be fun feels so much like work.
Spectrum-girl-readers, what have you done to cross the hurdle to friendship? What did it look like? How did it unfold? Over here at Autism's Edges we'd love hear from the other most beautiful girls in the world.