OK, so it's an extremely antiquated reference. You young'uns out there will just have to Google it. But one of my fellow draftees into the autism army and I have so bestowed this name on the typically-developing children in our extended families that are painfully close in age to our ASD kids. You know the ones: the super-precocious kids that sing and tap-dance circles around our kids, making their behaviors seem even more aberrant at family get-togethers. In my friend's case, she and her sister-in-law were pregnant at the same time and were giving birth to the first grandchildren in the family. They both ended up having boys within months of each other, and everything was going swimmingly with them being raised like brothers...until it wasn't going so swimmingly.
My friend went on to have two more boys, both typically-developing, which I always thought would help somewhat, but I think it just eats at her even more because now her younger sons are off playing with the older cousin while her ASD son is off...you know, doing what our kids do.
I bring this up because Audrey has a typical cousin who is about 9 months younger than her, and Shirley has been involved in every second of my father's wake, funeral mass, luncheon, burial, post-burial interpretive dance of his life, and I believe that as I write this she is carving his headstone and notarizing the will. Fucking typical kids.
After exactly one nanosecond of hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing, I decided not to have Audrey attend any of the proceedings. The burial was the one thing that I actually would have had her attend, but it fell on a day when I had her signed up for a final camp field trip. EVERYONE asked me where she was at EVERY event. My rationalization to them was that Shirley's mother is an in-law and thus didn't know as many people and could afford to do nothing else than follow her little girl around making sure that her ringlets weren't drooping. There were many, many people in attendance that I hadn't seen in years, and I was so happy to be able to have more than a 10 second conversation with them without having to worry that Audrey was snatching cookies off of other people's plates or crashing the wake next door.
I'm lucky in the fact that I have an easier time avoiding my Shirley Temple than my friend does. She has a big ethnic, extended family that seemingly has a party every weekend for one reason or another. I don't know how she does it. But I do know that she calls me after a lot of these parties just to hear me tell her what I always do...that her typical nephew is the butt-ugliest kid I've ever seen. And we both laugh and laugh and forget that we were just crying out eyes out. Until the next time.