Friday, December 19, 2008

"Whatever comes our way we'll see it through..."

  So for at least a year I have been wondering which is easier:  having everyone be able to look at my child and know something is different, or no one knowing and have them wondering why I am always a wreck (emotionally, physically etc.).  Well the time seems to be upon us!  It seems to have been going on all week.
   I was doing some visiting teaching when suddenly the women turned on me.  "Does your son have Autism?"  Totally out of the blue.  They leaned in like a pack of wild dogs coming in for the kill.  I was totally blown away.  I have never had anyone come out and ask if there was something wrong before.  All I can figure is that last time I had told them what age he is and they got together and discussed why he is the way he is and autism is what they came up with.  They are also not very learned in this sort of area because although my son is certainly different from other kids, he doesn't display the signs of autism. 
   Then there was at the store the other day, JT was flirting shamelessly with the sales lady, wobbling around like a drunkard and giving her a drooling smile.  She of course was completely taken and asked if he was "a new walker".  Well, I suppose that most people don't consider 5 months walking a "new walker".  I stammered out a "Uh, not really, he is just very unbalanced..."  I suppose I should have told her the same as I told the old women.  Why didn't I?  Maybe I see the situation turning.  Some time in the too near future everyone will know I am in Holland, not Italy.  Maybe I enjoy pretending with strangers.  
   You know, I think I am okay with all of this still.  I wouldn't have been before but I am getting there.  I wasn't even hurt with the old ladies, just stunned.  We'll make it.


Happy in Holland said...

You're right, Katie, you'll make it. Even when it seems like we can't, we always do. That is just what we do. People can do some interesting things sometimes, and though what they say or do may stun us a little, I try not to dwell on anything--I just move past it. I did get to a point where I decided I'd rather have people know that something was different with Mason and that yes, I was aware of it. There were times I swear people would say something just to plant the idea in my head that Mason wasn't up to par for his age. It made me personally feel better to let them know that I was aware of this fact, and that indeed something was different about him-- Mason has autism. I would tell them how far he has come since having his early intervention services, and then suddenly they would go from judging me as a parent who was obviously not up to speed with developmental milestones to a parent who was so fabulous for being so patient and loving for my autistic child, and they were so proud of me for all I was doing for him. People are interesting. I don't hide the fact that Mason is different, I just use those "stop and stare" moments to teach other people about autism. Most of them think they know about it, but they really have no clue. If you are not ready to tell the world about JT, that is just fine. You need to have the time to completely accept it yourself before you can expect other people to completely accept it as well. Chances are, when you do share, you'll find that you'll relate with people on a whole new level, and they'll respect you just a bit more than they did before. Good luck!

Liz said...

I think no matter what, we will always find ourselves in the position of having to answer people's questions about our kids. And the way they ask or how it comes about seems to make a difference, doesn't it?

I was at walmart a few weeks ago w/ my little girl and had an interesting conversation w/ the cashier. I just needed to run in and get a few things so I just put her in her stroller b/c that is easier sometimes than carrying her all the way in, or having to get a cart and put in the cover that adds extra cushion for her back, etc.. you get the point. So, I put her in the stroller, and threw the things in the bottom of it that we needed, and headed to the check out.
The cashier was just a talker! We finally get up there and she looks at my daughter in her stroller, with the braces on her legs, the extra cushion in her stroller for her back, the open mouth and stare on her face....(when we go out, when strangers look at her and talk to her, she just does that! :)

The cashier stops, looks at her and says...
"oh she's so precious...what's wrong with her?"

I'm like rolling my eyes in my mind, but answered that she was born w/ spina bifida. I know she has no idea what that means, but it was just a quick answer.

Then she said, "oh I just feel so sorry for some of the kids that come thru here w/ problems."

Basically the way I have come to handle things like this, is to say what comes to my mind and not worry what they think. And then I don't regret later not doing that.

So, I said to her...
"oh, you don't have to feel sorry for her. She's a happy little girl, and she's doing well."

I guess I don't want pity, I just want caring and understanding, and for people to realize that the things that make my child different are also the things that make her so special. I want people to understand that we think our kids are really special.

Luke and Erin said...

This is somthing I think about all the time. Bree does not really seem like she has problems until they find out she is nearing 2 years and says 'Batman'. She walks with a DAFO, and that gets a lot of looks. Somedays I am more than happy to take the time to explain waht she has and why she can not talk and why she is a "new walker" of a year. Other days I wish people would just leave it alone. I have not had to face that kind of direct question before. I hope I am ready for it and not caught off gaurd.

Melissa said...

Katie! This is Melissa, Josh's mom from Group on Tuesday. I came across this blog a few weeks ago and have been following it and when you did your last post, I realized I knew you! I read your story and I learned alot about your little JT that I didn't know. He truly is a special little boy and you have done amazing with him. I know how hard it can be and I hope we can become better friends. It seems like we have alot in common. I'll see you next week at Group!