Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thank You for Your Concern

If you know much about me, you know that I tend to keep certain things out of what I post freely online. Not for any real reason, but, more for my own privacy. That, and I tend to think that most of what gets left on the cutting room floor either falls into the "That's Un-incredible!" and/or "Who Cares?" categories. But feel free to stop me on this one.

So, I'm breaking my own self-imposed rule.

I have a daughter. She's 8, soon to be 9 years old, who loves video games and My Little Pony. She's into girly things, like princesses and makeup, and puts rainbows on everything that can take marker or crayon. And boy, does she love to eat.

Oh, and, she has autism.

I know what you're thinking. "Oh, how horrible!" or, "My cousin's nephew has that!" or something else along those lines, right? Or maybe just some general sympathy towards my bad luck?

Please don't. It's because of things of the like that I keep it mostly to myself. I'm not embarrassed, nor am I in any sort of denial. But when she starts having one of those days where she gets very physical and a little out of hand, I feel obligated to tell the other parents at the playground this. She's not pushing those kids around to be a bully. She's not yelling because she's a problem child. She didn't mean to throw the ball in your child's face. She's not ignoring your child because she's rude. She has communication problems. She has social interaction problems. And every day, she gets a little better. Even if today doesn't show it.

Then, come either one of two things.

The first, is how they can relate. Or how they read something on it 2 years ago, and completely understand. This relative has it. Their neighbors' kid has it. X Y Z celebrity's kid has it. They use Mongolian rain water and peanuts for therapy. Have you tried it yet? I heard of this program that doesn't exist anymore that might help...would you like me to email it to you?

I understand what they're trying to do, but, really, it's completely unnecessary. Pretty much unwanted, if I can be perfectly honest. I know what she is, and I know what she has. I've been to the pools of resources and caves of information so many times that I feel I could write books on it. So the anecdotal tales of folks I've never met or the snippet of of information that isn't even relevant anymore just feels like treading water. I know they don't know this, so I try my best not to seem ungrateful or snooty in any way when it happens. Even if I'm secretly rolling my eyes at them.

There's a downgraded version of this I get from time to time too.

Do her brothers and sisters have it? Oh...she's an only child? How sad! It's so hard, isn't it? You can hardly tell she has it, though!

Again, I understand what they mean. They're trying to sympathize with something that most don't know a great deal about. Only, in this version, it always leaves me a little depressed. It's like getting a verbal effort ribbon from parents with 'regular' kids. She's all I've known in terms of raising a child, so, who can say how hard it is? Who can say how sad it's supposed to be? This is what normal is in our family. And I don't ever really think about it like that until things like these come up.

The second, is downright stupid.

She's retarded...so what? She still shouldn't be so rough! My kid is 'special' too, y'know! This area is for children! Keep her out!

To clarify, no, she's not retarded. But thanks for understanding. And I'm sure your drooling idiot is the unique little snowflake you think he is. She is tall, so she looks older. I'm 5'11" myself, so it's obviously hereditary. Mentally, though, she's still 5. So, she still likes to play with baby-ish stuff from time to time. I mostly try to discourage it, but, sometimes when she can't process things, the baby stuff acts like a safe zone. So, sorry your kid didn't get to play with the foam blocks instantly. I hear theres a nice pile of paint chips in the corner, though.

I wont lie. There is, sometimes, a lot to deal with. I have meetings with her teachers seemingly every month, and with it comes an avalanche of paper. She's a picky eater, so we wind up cycling through the same dinners all the time. And getting Medicaid and SSI was a small battle in and of itself. But these aren't everyday things. So, while it might be tough at times, it's never tough all the time.

So, really, thank you for your concern. But, I think I've got it covered.