Monday, April 29, 2013

Words Hurt

Words can be powerful.  Good, bad, funny, silly, mean; whatever, if they are used properly, even unknowingly, they can be stronger than muscle.  This I have known for a while.  Not just from being a mom of a kid that doesn't fit into the "normal" mold, but from just living life.  If someone makes a snide comment about you, life moves on.  When someone makes a snide comment about your partner, you get a little more upset but you brush it off.  You make a comment about my kid, its harder to get over, and if it happens to be the one with autism, yeah its that much harder. 

Today we had to take the baby to an ears, nose and throat (ent) doctor to see if he would need to have tubes put into his ears.  My husband and my aspie went along to support the baby and to hear what the doctor had to say.  It is at this point normal ends.

You see here is a little dirty secret that I can't remember if I have ever shared before.  My aspie still uses a bottle.  Yes, he is four.  Yes, I know it can hurt his teeth.  Yes, I know that there are probably a million other reasons why he shouldn't do it, but there are a few reasons we still let him use it.  One, it something that soothes him down during times of anxiety or meltdowns.  Nothing else works, but with this he can calm down by himself.  Another reason is if he does not get it during one of these times, he rubs his thumb nail into his palm so hard that he causes himself to bleed.  Although he will still do it when he has a bottle, it does lighter so that no bleeding occurs.  Yet another reason is because he has a tendency to bite, actually its a bad tendency.  Sometimes for no reason he bites and if other things do not take away that urge, he gets the bottle.  So there you have it, our life with a bottle.  Oh, and yes the baby (2 year old) still gets one too.  Monkey see monkey do.  My husband and I have settled into the fact that our sons will need braces and oh well.  Its better than plastic surgery for bite scars and injuries. 

Today then, when we went to the ent, my aspie had a bottle.  It was a new place with strange people but I wanted him to go to get used to new things thrown into our days.  Its our new goal for this summer.  Exposure and try new things.  When the doctor came in to see the baby, he didn't take two steps into the room and he said.  "How old are you?" to my aspie.  My aspie surprising answered back "4."  I was happily surprised my aspie talked to him, but then I heard the words, "Aren't you too old for that bottle?"  I saw my hubbies face turn instantly angry and I said calmly because it honestly happens all the time to us at the store that is not Walmart, "My son has Asperger's syndrome.  This helps."  Usually I say my son has autism but today with a doctor I figured he knew what the diagnosis of Asperger's entails.  He had the same face that most people get after you say that.  That foot in mouth face with a stuttering of words that come afterwards.  The rest of the appointment went on just fine with the news that on Thursday our little man will get tubes in. 

When we got to the car, my husband was upset with the doctor for what he said to our oldest.  His reasoning is that our aspie already has social issues.  Making him feel even more unusual or different or odd is not the goal, and it coming from someone in the medical field who most likely sees odd things everyday should know to hold his tongue, especially to a little kid.  And honestly I get that.  And if I think about it too much I get upset.  Do I not think about it, no, I still do but in an odd sort of way.  I have that Let'em Look tude.

We are a society that judges.  Its the truth.  See a person with a million tattoos, you look twice, or even stare uncontrollably.  See someone in a wheelchair, you look.  See someone with pink hair, ya look, I know you do.  See someone with enough jewelry on to be a Mr T impersonator you look.  Why?  It's not the norm.  The standard norm in today's society is that they get rid of the bottle at 1 year because that's what's right for kids that fit that cookie cutter mold.  Mine does not, so people stare and make comments.  With all this craze about bullying, you would think that people would be more aware to not say things but they are not.  How is bullying different from judging others?  It's not.  It's the same.  A grown man pointed out my son's differences today in a snide comment way.  Judging/bullying.  But I think.... do it.  I will be there to ensure my son knows that he is amazing. If you tear him down, I will build him back up and make him a better man for doing so.  I will ensure that he knows that he doesn't need other peoples approval to have self-confidence.  He just needs to love himself.  That's my ideal anyway.  Here's why I think that.

I see kids everyday that deal with so many issues and struggles, far more severe than drinking a bottle or being socially awkward.  Some that I know will not be on this earth to see there 16, 18, 21st birthday, and you know what...those are the kids that have the most confidence.  They let people stare, and don't care and you know why?  It's because they know what other people think is the small stuff.  That their tough life has taught them to let the small stuff like that roll off their backs and to concentrate on the good positive in life.  To live your life how you see ifit to live it and if other people don't approve or don't like it, too bad. 

Do I worry if my kids fit the "norm."  Oh yeah!  I do many times, especially before my aspie's diagnosis.  But then I started hearing other mom's dirty secrets of letting their kids sleep with them, of their ten year old still sleeping with a blankie ,of letting their kids not bathe for three to four days in a row and I think to myself, oh yeah no one is the "norm."  We have the what we tell others and what we actually do.  What we tell people fits and what we do might not.  So here's my advice.  Do what you can to be the best possible parent for your specific situation.  And if you see something different, go ahead and look, because hell if I can stop you.  And if you see the house of crazies coming your way....have some Silk milk ready to pour into my aspie's bottle....and maybe some margaritas for mine.  :)

**Jerry Update.  I posted on Bipolar, Asperger's and Margaritas Facebook page that Jerry the hamster had a accident and broke his leg.  He is still doing okay and is eating and drinking well today.  We are hoping he pulls through.  Aspie is very concerned and being a good nurse to his beloved patient!***

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