Over time Ota didn’t just become a favorite toy. It was more like a sensory comfort. He always liked rubbing it or banging it against his cheek, he stroked its tail every time he took a bottle and clasped on tight to it while he slept. Deep in his sleep his hand would move around until he found Ota’s tail and clasp on it and settle back into sleep, he didn’t wake up or open his eyes, he did this in his sleep.
Bilal holding Ota’s tail while taking a bottle
Because of my don’t go out with Ota rule, my mom bought a similar toy cat to be kept at their house so Bilal can play with it there and have it in case he naps or we stay over. That extra cat came along to the trip to the US when I was pregnant with baby brother. He had both cats by the tail on the plane with him and they came along for the our 12 hour car trip to Southern Florida to visit family.
Ota and Twin
Needless to say Ota has been through a lot, she’s been around longer than Bilal has, she’s been washed and dried countless times, she’s traveled continents. She’s an old little thing… the plastic glass eyes are scratched and chipped, her stuffing has long been unfluffed, her white fur has turned a shade of grey that doesn’t come out in the wash. A few months ago her back was ripped and I stitched it up. Last month her neck was torn and her head was held on by a small part. So I took to taking out all the unfluff, wash it, stuff it with new fluffy fluff, put in a few drops of lavender essential oil for calming effects, and stitch it back up.
New fluffy fluff
Stuffed clean lavender scented Ota
Still sleeping with Ota
Welcome to my blog. This blog is our story with autism, I’ll start from the very beginning, from pregnancy all the way to today, I’ll highlight the early warning signs that I missed, how we went about getting a diagnosis and the therapy and treatments we’re using. In doing so I hope it helps other families that feel something isn’t quiet right with their child and find some answers that may help them.
My name is Sarah, and I am an Egyptian, American, Muslim. I was born in North Carolina and lived my early childhood here in the US, my dad was studying for his PHD and my mom was a stay at home mother looking after me and my younger brother, you can say it was a pretty typical childhood. Once my dad completed his PHD we moved back to Egypt for 4 years, where he was teaching at a local university, my mom taught English as a second language at another university, my brother and I were adjusting to life and school and enjoying all the cousins and extended family that we hadn’t known till then. At this point my parents decided to move back to the US and try their luck so we moved to the little university town of Auburn, Alabama another 2 years here and my parents weren’t really successful and started applying for jobs abroad where my dad was hired at a technical college in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. My parents thought they’d give it a chance, at least they’ll be able to complete an umrah and hajj (pilgrimage) to the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah if nothing else. You can say the thought of moving to a desert country where women are forced to cover up scared me and I had myself a huge drama show claiming my parents were ruining my childhood, little did I know that those years in Riyadh were to be the best years of my life and the friends I made during those years are the closest and truest friends I’ve ever had and we’re still friends today, 15 years later. I completed high school between Riyadh and Jeddah and applied for college in Egypt where I studied Business Administration and graduated in 2004. A year later I got engaged and worked as a Business teacher at my old high school in Riyadh for 2 years, got married and pregnant.
That’s my childhood and background, does any of that affect my chances or increases my risk for having a child on the spectrum, who knows, all the forms we fill out ask for the education level of the parents, so to some degree it might, but I doubt it, as we’ve seen autism strike children of parents of different backgrounds, education levels, and social status, but I shared it because it might be helpful to someone out there and it makes me more normal and real to you, a typical person, typical childhood (sans all the moving) and a typical education and career.