Yup. I'm having one of them days. I love my friends, I really, really do, but the friends that are not autism parents tend to drive me nuts sometimes. It's not their fault, really. They're not faced with autism the way I am every day. They don't understand, nor do they need to. But there are times where I really wish they'd keep their freaking opinions to themselves, know what I mean?
"What Dayton really needs a good swift kick in the butt."
Yeah... I felt like shoving my foot up this victim's butt, but unfortunately I got whiplash from whipping my head to face her.
"He's not autistic, he looks fine."
"He's a little hyper, you medicate him for that, right?" While in the same sentence she asks me if I forgot to give him his meds this morning.
"Oh well... I've heard of kids not really speaking until they hit five, cause they have nothing to say. Wasn't it Einstein that didn't talk till he was five? He made out well, didn't he?"
"Dayton's a lot smarter than you give him credit for. He's a bright kid, you just need to stop using the "autism card."
"You baby Dayton way too much. You should let him play outside without you sitting there watching him like a hawk. How is he suppose to become self sufficient when you won't let him fight his own battles?" (This coming from the same mom that told me that Dayton's not allowed to play with her son because Dayton always ends up hurting him).
After Dayton gets into a fight with another child: "What that boy needs is a good spank." Then I turn around and tell the parent: "If you could teach your kid some manners and have him stop calling my child a retard, Dayton wouldn't have had to defend himself."
"Dayton's not autistic Lou, he's just like any other kid." Really? Is that why he rings your door bell and laughs when you answer it? Most children would say "hey, can I play with little Joey?" Not Dayton... He rings the door bell and laughs when the person answers it, not knowing what to say, or what his purpose is.
My all time favorite comes from Dayton's school... "what Dayton needs is some DISCIPLINE." Hmmmm, yes, I can see how his autism would go away, he just needs some discipline.
Let's take a look at an example, shall we? It's summer!!! On our way to the beach, just a short distance away, how many of us have walked on gravel because we're just to lazy to lace up our shoes... It's only a few steps, no biggy, right? All the way, you're thinking "ouch, ouch, ouch, should have put my damn shoes on. In what moment of insanity did I think walking bare foot on hot coals from hell was a brilliant idea?" Well, autism is kind of like that, in that it keeps a parent on their toes, but for children like Dayton who are undersensative and need more stimulation that others, he can run through that same hot gravel. His pain threshold is super high, and sometimes scary. For instance, last year's May long weekend's camping trip ended up with Dayton breaking his foot in three different places by jumping from the top of the play structure to the ground. In tears (which rarely happens), he tells me his foot hurts. I brush the tears away, examine his foot which looks just fine, comfort as much as he will allow me, and ask him "babe, would you feel better and stop crying if I get you some ice cream?" He nodded a brave yes, and wiped the rest of his tears away. He stopped crying immediately! I sat beside him and watch him lick his ice cream, smiling away. He seemed happy and carefree, confirming my suspicion that he was 'just fine.'
He limped all the way back to our campsite, but by evening, he was running around in circles! Holly cow! We went home the next day, and at bed time I saw his foot was swollen a tiny bit, but Dayton didn't complain. He went to school the next day, limping a little, and I felt guilty going to work, but figured he was OK. After work, I decided it wouldn't hurt to have his foot examined by a doctor. Sure enough, it was broken in three places... Had it been me, I'd have been crying, screaming, raging in pain, writhing on the floor and refusing to get up, in essence, having a melt down. There's no way I'd be able to put my shoe on, never mind run around with a busted foot.
Today, I left Dayton with a babysitter and went out with a girlfriend for a little me time. About an hour into me time, I get a call from the babysitter... Dayton got sick and vomit all over her sofa... He then walked across to the love seat, and tried wiping the vomit onto the love seat, trying to hide the fact that he got sick because he wanted to go swimming. Just thinking that a neurotypical kid of nine years old would probably get a cloth to wipe up the vomit... He then told his babysitter that the "cat puked." I asked to speak to Dayton, who told me he was feeling fantastic: "Momma, please tell Amy to take me swimming!!! I wanna swim!!! I'm feeling good momma. I don't know what happened."
He was fine all day, running around like the mad little monkey only my son can imitate. After talking to Amy, she said my man was typical Dayton, running around, stopped long enough to get sick (less than a minute), then started running again! Hmmmmm... Really shouldn't be surprising to me. I can't even count how many times I was called by Dayton's school to come and pick him up early because he wasn't feeling well, sometimes as early as half an hour into his first class! By the time I got him home, he was back to normal. How many neurotypical kids can do that?
So, today, when my friend tried to convince me that Dayton doesn't have autism, that I need to stop treating him differently and stop using the "autism card" for everything he does, I had some chocolate. It didn't work, I wanted a cigarette so badly, but I've been trying to quit smoking, so I turned to the next best thing. As soon as my friends hear the blender going, they know I'm having a margarita, which means whatever they've just told me has not been appreciated. I made two, brought it out to the patio, but my friend ran off. Maybe she thought I'd dump a margarita over her head? She knows me so well! Oh well, more for me!!!
Consider yourselves hugged,