We attended a baby shower over the weekend. They had one of these things.
I assumed we were supposed to write parenting advice or give a helpful tip. My first thought was to write: “When you want to kill her … Don’t !!! 🙂 ”
I mean … Every parent at some point has been driven crazy by their child and had the thought “Oooh, I am going to kill them”… Even for a minute.
I walked up to the frame – ready to drop my words of wisdom – only to see that everyone else had written something like “Love you so much” or “XOXO Baby H”.
I headed back to my seat to recalibrate my brain and come up with something else to say. Clearly we were not being honest – I mean, we all will love her and can’t wait to meet her etc so yes they were being honest but they weren’t being honest HONEST. You know what I mean. I went with something more tame: “We’re available to babysit. Love you!”.
I’ve actually been thinking about parenting advice a lot lately. Not because I am an expert, but I do think I am old enough and have been through enough that I have a pretty good perspective on a lot of topics.
The other day a friend expressed to me that she had some concerns about her daughters health. She wants to go see a specialist. The problem is that her daughters pediatrician is her mother-in-law who thinks everything is fine and that they should watch and wait and see. My friend doesn’t want to step on the MIL’s toes or upset the husband by making it seem as though she doesn’t trust Dr MIL’s judgment.
My advice: Eff that. Go see a specialist. And if you need a referral then get one from a different pediatrician.
Listen to me folks. If it was up to some people in our family, my son probably still wouldn’t have a diagnosis and he definitely would not have gotten the help he needed in the early years. Due to nothing but my persistence and insistence, Jay began getting therapy at 2 years old. I do believe it made a world of difference. Not all the therapists were great (we quit a few) and not everything that we tried suited him, (brushing therapy), but overall, early intervention absolutely gave him and us some valuable tools and introduced us to some remarkable people and helped us see things in a totally different way.
It was not easy financially and it was difficult figuring out the transportation to shuffle him from appointment to appointment. One of the hardest parts though was how isolating it was because it turned out that we couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I was told that I was being paranoid. I was told that Jay wasn’t talking because boys take longer to talk than girls do and because he had an older brother who was “talking for him”. I was told that teachers want to drug all the kids because it makes them easier to deal with and that pharmaceutical companies and doctors just want to make money off us. I was told that my son would be labeled and mis-treated just because of the label and that he would never get a high school diploma because they don’t give high school diplomas to kids who are “classified”. I was advised to give it time and watch and wait and see. I was told about the cousins neighbours hair dressers son who took a long time to talk but now was fine. I was told that instead of putting Jay in a self-contained special ed classroom where he would be stuck with other under-performing kids and not pushed to learn I should send him to a “regular” class so he would learn from higher performing peers. It was constantly pointed out to me all the reasons that Jay couldn’t possibly be autistic. After-all, he didn’t flap his hands or spin or line toys up. He had begun to sleep well and he wasn’t bothered by loud noises or the tags on his clothes. They pointed out all the money I was “wasting”. People suggested all kinds of herbal/natural remedies and actually told me that it was my fault that he wasn’t eating anything other than cheese doodles. They made me feel incredibly guilty about thinking that something was different about him and they made me feel inadequate for seeking help. I was too soft they said. I just needed to be stricter with him and he would snap out of it they assured me.
I heard it all. And then, I ignored it all.
In my mind, I had to just focus on what was best for my son in that moment. My sons well-being was more important that sparing someone elses feelings or worrying about how things looked. If I took him to specialists and they said I was over-reacting then all I had lost was $25 in copay; while gaining peace of mind. If I took him to specialists and they said I was justified in my concern then the sooner I got him help the better we all would be. Why make my child suffer longer than necessary; just because it strokes someone elses ego or because of someone elses fear/ignorance?
We’re a few days away from the start of Autism Awareness Month. You will see lots of posts and comments and blue lights and puzzle pieces and opinions on Autism Speaks. I really don’t want to add to the barrage just for the sake of it. I do however, want to take the time to say this one thing:
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR CHILDS HEALTH OR DEVELOPMENT IN ANY WAY – SEEK HELP! Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal, and it’s just kind of quietly nagging at you in the back of your mind. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE NAYSAYERS OR THE GRANDPARENTS OR EVEN THE OTHER PARENT. It doesn’t matter if your concern is about their physical, social or cognitive development. It doesn’t matter if you are worried about their constant throwing up or constipation. TRUST YOUR GUT. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. ASK QUESTIONS. TALK TO OTHER PARENTS OR YOUR TEACHER FRIENDS. All doctors don’t know all things. GET MULTIPLE OPINIONS FROM MULTIPLE DOCTORS. GET THE EVALUATIONS. TAKE THE TESTS. In the end, this is 100% about being your childs biggest cheer leader and best advocate and 0% about appearances.