On Saturday the Fokkers drove to the not-too-distant city where Sweet Babou and I used to live. The purpose was twofold. First, I would get to see Peter and Peony Parker, children I had babysit from the time they had still had a drying umbilical cord until I moved to Texas in their tweens. They had gotten into my heart very quickly as babies, and I still love them. Peter had recently graduated collage and Peony had graduated from high school, and I wanted to spend some time with them before the whirl of adulthood swept them away and I wouldn’t get to be with them again for months. Secondly, I wanted Sweet Babou and the girls to get to visit his mom and stepdad, who live in the same city.
We met Peter and Peony for lunch at a bookstore’s café/restaurant, so that they could see my girls. Lilo & Stitch idolize the Parkers, and love the fact that “collagers” (Lilo’s word for people old enough to be in collage) pay so much attention to them. Peter is also one of Spock’s Godfathers, and needed to gaze upon her toddler glory in approved Godfather fashion. After lunch, Sweet Babou took the girls to Nanny’s house for a visit, and I stayed to chat with my beloved adults-but-always-kids-to-me.
Peter is doing magnificently. I suspect that in a past life Peter died while rescuing orphans and puppies from Nazis, since I have seldom seen one human being so blessed. He is handsome, brilliant, charming, talented, and from a well-off family who loves him whole-heartedly. He is aware of his good fortune, and is both modest about his successes and concerned for the plight of people who aren’t as lucky. I can say, with absolutely no bias in his favor (of course!), that he might be perfect. Since the Parker parents were from England and Ireland, Peter has dual citizenship and has gotten an internship in London. His girlfriend has just matriculated from Oxford, and will be going on to medical school. All these things make me happy, because I want only great things for my sweet Peter.
Peony will be going to college here in the States, and I am worried for her. I am sure she has Asperger’s syndrome, and it makes her very vulnerable at this stage. She is lovely, both in her face and in her heart, and I want things to go smoothly for her. I tried, with every drop of persuasion I could bring to the topic, to convince her to get tested and diagnosed as an Aspie’s before she embarks on to higher education. With a diagnosis, there are resources available to her in most schools now, and she will need her school to help her in some areas.
When she was a baby and little girl, we didn’t have a clue about Asperger’s. In hindsight, it could not have been more obvious. She had sensory issues form birth. She would scream if held by anyone but her mother for the first year. Even when she got a little older she would still ‘meltdown’ if tired, hungry, overwhelmed or overstimulated. Peter was always, even when he was small, protective of her and learned how to help her get past her meltdowns. Her parents and her other caregivers called her “highly strung”. We tried to meet her needs, keep her out of trigger situations, and help her as much as possible. Even with the meltdowns it was always easy to love her. She has always been so pretty and sweet and giving and big-hearted that everyone liked her, at the very least. In school she showed amazing genius in some areas, and would struggle in others. Not much middle ground for my adored Peony, I’m afraid. In high school she was diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, and bi-polar/manic depression. They have her on various medications to modulate her symptoms, and that has been a lot of help to her. Nevertheless, I think they are not seeing the large umbrella diagnosis all her problems would fit under. Once they get that she is an Asper-Girl, they will have better ways of offering her cognitive therapy. It would also force her college to cut her some slack if she melted down during finals week, or any other such crisis.
She really needs to go to a specialist in female Asperger’s diagnosis. Professionals not specifically trained to look for it often miss it, because on the surface it looks different from the male form:
It would break my heart if Peony had to suffer or lose opportunities or face unfair set-backs simply because her Asperger’s was undiagnosed. Not just because I love her. Not just because it happened to me and my empathy for her is therefore immense. It is also because I see Lilo in her, and her in Lilo. When Lilo was a baby I started calling her Peony II because her behavior was such an echo of Peony’s infancy. Lilo still mirrors Peony. I need to see Peony get what she needs, so I can make sure I get Lilo what she needs as well. I am invested in Peony’s happiness, on so many levels.
In my heart, Peony will always be that tiny girl I used to watch, reaching up to me and trusting I would keep her safe and love her. I am still trying to do that.