So I just need a minute to vent. I read posts on here all the time and think ‘that is exactly my life, and exactly our reality’ and then I go back to the real world and notice how different everything is, and how I have no one to share it with.
I have a 3 yr old son diagnosed with mild/moderate autism and no one I know in my ‘real’ life has any idea what that means. I try my best not to burden everyone with how abnormal our lives are compared to theirs, and the result is it just stays bottled up inside me. And it’s slowly eating me alive. And so I just need to vent.
What drove me to this point was what I saw yesterday – my friend posted a picture of his son (who is 9 mo younger than mine) enjoying some ‘gelato’ at a restaurant. I should have thought ‘oh look at that, what a great pic,’ and ‘doesn’t he look grown up now!’ etc, etc, etc, but all I thought was ‘do they have any idea how lucky they are their kid can feed himself with a spoon?’ Immediately following that I thought, ‘or how lucky they are that they can even take their kid into an establishment that serves ‘gelato’?!’ Our life is filled with meltdowns, self-feeding issues, OT, PT, ABA, and all the miscellaneous joys of having a non-verbal 3 yr old who couldn’t care less about potty training. And that’s all before dinnertime on a weekday.
I mentioned one day about how traumatic it was cutting my son’s hair and one of my friends (who is a special needs teacher with a ‘non-special needs’ kid) asked ‘did you take him to a barber or did you cut it yourself?’ *sigh* No, we can’t take him to a barber. The screaming episode from entering the door ALONE would be enough to frighten anyone away. I explained how my husband has to give our boy a bear hug while both are standing outside, shirtless. I cut frantically with the clippers hurrying to minimize the amount of time they are near his ears or touch his head. Part of me wonders if my ‘special needs teacher friend’ realizes that kids still have special needs even though the school week is over.
My son’s good days are wonderful, but boy those bad days can be pretty bad. It’s a full-time job just preventing meltdowns and trying to get any food into a child who rejects most edible offerings because of their smell, texture or temperature. So I’m torn because I feel like educating people like my friend on how simple things like haircuts are HUGE episodes for us, but at the same time, almost everything these days seems like a huge episode to us…and maybe no one wants to hear me complain about it all the time. Especially when they don’t seem to have any episodes in their families at all.
My friend is currently expecting baby #2. I cry a little inside because I would love to have a second child, but I have my hands more than full with the 3 yr old bundle of SPD joy I already have. ‘Quality over quantity,’ my husband says, and he’s right. But I still wonder, ‘how easy is their life that they have a 2.5 yr old who is potty trained, can feed AND dress himself and did I mention CAN TALK?!’ I’ll tell you how easy – easy enough they’re able to expect another one. *sigh*
So here I am. Venting at the place where traumatic haircuts, meltdowns, self-feeding issues and more acronym-laden therapies than I care to think of fill our days o’pleanty. And for the first time in months it makes smile. I don’t have to explain what any of that means to *you* So thank you for not living ‘normal’ life like me, and for allowing me to talk about it, even if me ‘talking’ is just the sound of a keyboard clicking away…