Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Special Winter Break

How's winter break going for everyone? How do your kids do with two weeks of unstructured time off?

For us, it's not as bad as it used to be, but it still takes a concerted effort to make sure that there is some semblance of a schedule.

Click HERE to read all about my past winter break FAILS...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Downers Grove Christmas Tree Is...

Last year, I wrote a post called "The Downers Grove Christmas Tree Is Rubbish" which got me some attention in my hometown, led to my column at the Patch and a writeup on my blog in the Chicago Tribune Local, and garnered me riches and fame beyond my wildest dreams. Well, two out of three ain't bad.

I thought I should carry on with the tradition and say something equally inflammatory about my town's Christmas tree this year. I'm not nearly as famous as I need to be, so I figured that I had take it up a notch or five. So for the 2011 edition, I will say that The Downers Grove Christmas Tree Is...RACIST! Whaaaaat? Shut your mouth! Oh no you di-int.


Mrs. Claus or...Mrs. Butterworth?
You decide.
The white face isn't fooling anyone.

OK, so maybe I'm painting Mrs. Butterworth with the same brush as Aunt Jemima. Is Mrs. Butterworth as racist an image as Aunt Jemima? Is Mrs. Butterworth even black?

So I Googled it and found a blog called Yo, Is This Racist? I can't find anything on the site about the person running it, but I'm willing to accept him/her as the final arbiter of what is racist...I mean, he's got a blog right? And a submission box labeled "Yo, Ask Me If Something Is Racist". And when someone named Anonymous asked if the Mrs. Butterworth bottle was racist, he/she answered as follows:
"Holy shit, yo, that shit is astoundingly racist"
He said "shit" twice. Case almost closed. I have one more photo to submit into evidence, but first some-not-nearly-as-offensive-as-racism-but-still-offensive ornaments:

Cyclopean gingerbread man
with a scrotal piercing
Special needs parents could have supplied
enough materials for a treeful of these.

I'd like to think that I had something to do
with the abundance of plastic wrap this year.
Poor Mr. Bill.

Owen does not read my blog or he would
know that old AOL CD's with a couple of
Christmas stickers do not decor make.
I swear it was not me that pulled
back the tin foil on this one.

My annual dough-based-ornament-gone-bad
Rorschach test.

And finally EXHIBIT B proving definitively that the Downers Grove Christmas tree is racist:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Go Ahead, Pull My Beard

In my latest Patch article, I marvel at the quality of mall Santas in this day and age.

In my day, they were obviously fake and mostly drunk...and we'd still walk 10 miles through two feet of snow in our stocking feet just to see him.

Click HERE to hear more of this old woman yelling at clouds.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blue Christmas

Supposedly it's a myth that people get any more depressed during the holidays than any other time of the year, or that suicide rates are any higher. But I didn't let that stop me from basing my latest Patch article on that old saw. Have they not heard of one Charlie Brown???

Charlie Brown is snapped out of his depression at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas by realizing that Jesus is the reason for the season. In my case, I just like to remind myself that other people's lives are probably a whole lot shittier than they'd lead you to believe in their Christmas form letters. My Christmas special based on this premise is coming soon to the ABC Psycho network.

Click HERE to read more!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Audrey Is Thankful For

I wasn't able to get this entire work of art scanned in, so I will just have to relate to you what Audrey is thankful for this holiday season:

Chocolate because it is yummy.
Jack because he is a good friend.
Cartwheels because they are good.
Mom because she loves me.


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fright Night Gallery of School Pictures

A few weeks ago, I came out of the closet as a kiddie portrait addict, and pointed out that school pictures really have no chance at all of turning out well because mothers aren't present for them. And now I will present my evidence in the form of Audrey's and BFF Grace Anne's school pictures.

To the left is Exhibit A. Note the unfluffed hair and bad attitude that screams "I hate having my picture taken and no one is even trying to get me to smile. Where's the crazy lady that's usually here spazzing out and singing the Hot Dog Song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse like I'm fucking 18 months old?"

Audrey has a lot to learn about posing for the camera. And Grace Anne is just the gal to school her.  I present you my favorite school picture of all time....drum roll....BAM!

Grace Anne's mother would like me to point out that she did not know it was picture day that day. Else Grace Anne would have been sporting her finest tank top and scrunchie. She gave me the password to the website where you can order copies and play with different backgrounds, and I've been doing practically nothing else since. It's amazing how the context changes with various backgrounds....

The tank top is making total sense now.
Doin' the Funky Chicken.

Ground control to Major Tom.
Call the police! She's been
stuffed into a burlap sack!!!!
Dude, I'm hiking the Grand Canyon...
what did you expect me to wear???
This one's for the troops.

Audrey's personal favorite.
She calls this one "Under The Sea".
Christmas card...DONE!

The marvelous Dani G and I have created a Blog Hop, so if you've got any doozy school pics you'd like to share, link 'em up below!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sexual Abuse and The Developmentally Disabled

My latest article on Patch is not exactly a barrel of laughs. I'm writing about child sexual abuse in the wake of the Penn State scandal, and the astronomical rates at which the developmentally disabled are targeted by predators.

All I can say is...we'd better hope and pray that the statistics are wrong.

Click HERE to read.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cuckoo For Cartwheels

Over the life of this blog, I've shared many of Audrey's obsessions. Some of them were fleeting, while some will probably never fleet. I've always thought that this blog could be a sort of a journal for me to look back on, lest I forget any of the darling phases that we've passed through.

We've been through Canadian geese, texting cats, the iPhone, eating toiletries, sticking random things into hard drives, watching kids jump into pools, band-aids, cake smelling, feet smelling, marker smelling, department store mattresses, berating Minnie Mouse, YouTube cooking videos, and my pajamas...just to name a few.

Her latest obsession is cartwheels. She loves watching other people do tumbling moves, and her new opening line to perfect strangers -- replacing such classics as asking them their last name or telling them not to run with scissors -- is now "Can you do a round-off?"

I thought at first that the movements were a visual stim for her, but she seemed equally thrilled with the static scarecrow in the above photo who was frozen mid-cartwheel. I think she thought that if she attempted enough cartwheels in front of him that he'd animate himself and join her...

Now that Halloween is over and the scarecrow exhibit at the Arboretum has no doubt been taken down, she'll have to rely on her other source for a cartwheel fix...Dancing With The Stars. Every Monday and Tuesday, she begs to stay up and watch the show hoping that they will perform "fun dances". Meaning ix-nay on the Viennese waltz and up with the jive, quick-step, samba, etc.

When she is finally rewarded with a somersault, cartwheel, or flip, she commandeers the TiVo remote and rewinds over and over and over and over and over...

....until all I hear when I'm trying to fall asleep is:

"This is the most difficult choreography that I've ever attempted on Dancing With The Stars."
"Really? That's pretty intimidating. That means..."
"It means that I have faith in you and I think you can do it."
"I won't let you down."
"Elbows back! Elbows locked!"

Of course, this wasn't half as bad as the week that Nancy Grace did a cartwheel during practice, exposing her gut to God and country. Try watching that 984 times and getting to sleep...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Attack Of The Killer Should-Be's

I'm all for celebrating my kid's special-ness and standing up for diversity and fighting for acceptance of the differently-abled, but when it comes to being of a certain school age when conformity is king...

Well, let's just say I'm all for getting her a backpack with Hannah Montana or Justin Bieber or whoever-the-hell is en vogue with the queen bees of second grade if it means she's less likely to be swirlied.

Anyway, that's what my latest Patch article is about. I also talk about punching parents of NT kids in the throat, so there's that too.  CLICK HERE TO READ!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick-Or-Treating: A 673 Step Process

Audrey walks up to the door, tripping over unseen steps or uneven cobblestones.

Hey, there's a pretty flower! Look, there's a jack-o-lantern! Oooh, a crazy, blinky-eyed skull!

Wait. What was I doing?

Oh yeah. Trick-or-treating.

She does reconnaissance on the front door situation.

Is there a doorbell?  If yes, ring it.

If no, knock imperceptibly on it.

Say "trick or treat" before anyone answers the door.

Someone answers the door.

Mom says "trick or treat".

Homeowner holds out bowl of candy for her to choose.

Audrey is frozen, staring at the bowl, hypnotized by its contents. At every house, she is re-gobsmacked at her luck to find strangers handing out candy.

Mom: "C'mon, pick a piece already!"

She is frozen with indecision and passes over the choice chocolate bars for the worst piece of shit in the bowl like some petrified Jolly Rancher from the early 70's.

Mom is just glad that another house is done and dusted, when homeowners says, "Go ahead, take another one!"

Are you shitting me?


If a dog lunges at the storm door, fall ass-over-teakettle back down the steps and tear-ass out of there screaming all the way.

Pressing her nose against a screen door that opens outwards. Mom jacks her back by the fairy wings.

Stretching out for a spell on strangers' porch swings or yard furniture. Ahhhh...

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fun With Mangled Baby Chicks and Racial Stereotypes: We're Pumpkin Patchin'!

We've been doing our annual tour of all the local pumpkin patches this month, including the one that I wrote about last year with the open trough of baby chicks that the kiddies can have at.

Every year I think that we will be greeted by PETA protesters, and every year the trough-o-chicks is back. Fine by me, because Audrey is obsessed with them.

This year, I think I actually did witness a strangulation. Audrey was doing her usual pick-em-up-throw-em-back and jumping up and down and flapping in between, when another mother suddenly handed her a chick. Audrey said, "Awwww...he's sleeping!" and put him back in the trough. Yeah, he was taking one big long dirt nap alright.

So, in other words, either this woman or her child squeezed the chick to death (what the PLEASE DON'T SQUEEZE THE CHICKS sign isn't clear enough for you?), and then they hand it off to Audrey and try to pin it on her. The old blame-the-dead-animal-on-the-autistic-kid move, eh?  Hey, I invented that move.  Wait.

Ssshhh, Werewolf Elvis.
Just ssssshhhhhh.

Performing a chicky gyno exam
Look Ma, a twofer!

Our pumpkin patch not only celebrates Halloween but
Hispanic Heritage Month with this Mexican jail jumpy house

Is Frito Bandido busting me out of here or what?
Muchas Buenos Felices Halloween-o!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mom Version 2.0

I crown you Audrey's new mother.
For the second time in as many months, Audrey has informed me that after she smooshes me with her feet until I'm gone she wants her new mom to be Aimee, the mother of BFF Grace Anne.

Hmph. Fine.

It so happens that Aimee has two special needs children already, so as a potential future guardian for Audrey she has her pluses and minuses. On one hand, her plate is already kinda full; on the other, she's a well-lubricated (*makes bottoms-up drunky thumb gesture*) special needs machine. What's one more IEP kid in the house...there's got to be some kind of economies of scale, right?

It does bring up the sticky question that I try not to think about but actually do think about almost every second of every day of who will take care of Audrey when I'm gone. I don't think that she can really smoosh me to death with her feet, but there are lots of satellites falling out of the sky lately and what if one has my name on it? And what if I happen to be standing next to my husband at the time and it picks up a spare?

Actually that's pretty unlikely because my husband and I operate very much like the President and Vice-President in that we are never in the same place at the same time just for this very reason. Yes. That is exactly why we are never in the same place at the same time. Uh huh.

I'm constantly running down the list in my head. Audrey has no siblings, so that's out. I have two sisters, but they're both older than me. Audrey has two cousins that are teenagers now, but, assuming I can hang on for a few more years, they could be candidates later in life. They're good girls now, but...and this is where my imagination runs wild...how do I know that after I'm gone they won't develop some kind of atrocious taste in men and end up marrying Diddly Pete here?

Seems the only good answer is living forever. Which means I should probably put down this bag of Halloween candy and whip myself up a turnip-carrot-kale-beet-garlic-celery-cucumber-ginger juice. This one's for you, Audrey.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Social Media and The Interwebs: It's Not Just For Porn!

Here is how social media can work:

A few months back, reader and friend Alisha posted this link to my Facebook blog page. This New York Times article is about a Danish company that employs people with autism to do software testing, but it also mentions an American company called Aspiritech that does much the same thing and actually based their business model on the Danish company.

It turns out that Aspiritech is based in Highland Park, IL, a suburb of Chicago that's about 40 miles away from me.  I contacted Aspiritech about volunteer opportunities, had some back and forth with the founder, but nothing ever came together.

Enter my friend, fellow autism parent, and blogger Yuji, who blogs at Hanabi Boy.  Yuji actually lives in Highland Park and, like me, freelances for his local Patch.  I asked Yuji if he'd ever heard of Aspiritech and suggested that he write a Patch feature on the company.  Yuji was already on the case, and had contacted the founder to schedule an interview.  I told Yuji that, if he didn't mind, I would love to tag along when he got it scheduled.

Yuji and I (after a makeover,
cleavage reduction, and liposuction
courtesy of Microsoft Paint)
Which he did.  We were able to spend quite a bit of time there, meeting the founder Moshe Weitzberg, autism specialist Marc Lazar, and a few of the employees.  We happened to be there on a day when a big AP story about them hit the wires, and many other media outlets were contacting him for interviews.  

It was fascinating and encouraging to see all of the interest that the company is generating, but what they really need is BUSINESS.  The company is based on taking in outsourced QA testing from outside companies and providing gainful employment for adults with autism.  As you can imagine, they have plenty of autistic adults interested in working for them, but not enough business to support all of them.

I'm hoping to use my hi-tech background and contacts within the industry to help them with that.  Because how AWESOME would it be to have companies like this around when our kids come of age?  If anyone happens to have any business leads...doesn't matter the industry or location...please contact me or Aspiritech directly.  

Presently, Aspiritech is the only company of its kind in the U.S.  I can't help but feel that there is a lot riding on their success, and that theirs is a business model that could be a template for the future when the rest of the autism army reaches adulthood.

Here is a link to Yuji's fabulous Patch article that was the result of the wonderful day that we spent at Aspiritech: Highland Park Company Employs Adults With Autism

Please give it a read...and prepare to be inspired.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Photo Finished

Not Audrey, but
might as well be

'Tis the season for school pictures 
and holiday portraits. 
I try to get to the bottom of my obsession with getting the perfect picture in my latest Patch article.

Click HERE to read all about it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 10 Things Overheard On the Special Needs Hot Line

I just came across an article about a special needs help line that, in addition to giving out service referrals and resource recommendations, also provides general support to parents of special needs children.

I can only imagine the types of inquiries and conversations that go on, and in fact I think I will do just that. So here are the Top 10 Things Overheard On The Special Needs Hot Line if I was staffing it...

10) I think I know what the problem is. Did you by any chance replace your original Baby Mozart DVD with the newer 10th anniversary edition? Because it's just ever-so-slightly different from the original and instead of teddy bears banging on drums there's a new scene with slightly different teddy bears banging on slightly different drums, and I'm pretty sure that's why he took a baseball bat to the TV screen.

9) Sounds like your husband is King of da Nile, if you know what I mean. He needs to get out of that shame spiral, own his truth, and be his best self for the benefit of his child. Damn, I miss Oprah.

8) Don't worry, it's a common rookie mistake. Next time you elbow a precocious typically-developing kid in the head, you'll know to make sure that his parents aren't watching. 

7) No, that thing where you can drop your kid off at the fire station ends at 6 weeks not 6 years.

6) Oof. Sounds like you jacked your nephew just a little too hard if he claimed to be seeing "tinglies" for the rest of the day.

5) Yes, this help line is confidential, but I am required to report any plans to "take out" your school administrators to the authorities.

4) I think your only hope at this point is to get your sister-in-law to drop the charges.

3) You're embarrassed because your kid had a meltdown in Target? You. are. ADORABLE.

2) I've heard that hydrogen peroxide does a great job on poop stains and smells in your carpet, but burning your house down is a sound option as well.

And the #1 thing overheard on the special needs help line:
1) No, I'm not authorized to prescribe meds, but I know a guy...

Do you think I have the job?  I joke, but if you seriously need support that reading this blog somehow does not give you (WHAT?), please go to http://www.mom2mom.us.com/ or give them a call at 877-914-MOM2.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Urge to Purge

No, I'm not following up a post about swamp ass with one about vomit.  Although this picture does make it look like Party City just threw up all over my carpet.

My latest article on the Patch discusses the mysterious accumulation of crap in my house.  What is it?  How did it get in my house?  What do I do with it now? 

Click HERE to find out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Bad Case of Swamp Ass

No kidding, my ass smells like ass.
You know those writer's memes that give you a topic, question, or device as a prompt to get your creative juices flowing?  They always seem to be things like "tell me about a fond childhood memory" or "a time that you made your parents proud" or "write a letter to your 10 year old self telling her how much you love her".  I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm always somehow unable to come up with anything. *choking sob*

Anyway, the title of this post came to me in a dream, and I'm going to treat it just like one of those prompts and write a post around it.  Feel free to join in with me if you have a blog.  Or even if you don't.  Cuz who doesn't have a good swamp ass story?

Hmmmm...I could go with that double-header that I sat through on a 100 degree day with my Aunt Flo.  Or that 12-hour bus ride that I took from Izmir to Istanbul, Turkey when suffering from traveler's GI distress and not one of the "rest rooms" we stopped at had toilet paper.  Or really anything that I would call a toilet for that matter.

I would write about those, but this blog really isn't about me, is it?  Audrey's posterior is far cuter, teensier, dimplier, but no less swampy.  To put it bluntly, she does not know how to wipe her butt for #2.  There, I said it.

It's a skill that I have not really pushed her on because her fine motor skills aren't the best, and I'm afraid that she'll just get it all over her hands and then realize how freaking AWESOME that is.

So I'm still actually monitoring her in the bathroom to see if she's going #2, then laying her down on the floor like a newborn when she goes, and busting out baby wipes like I've been doing every day for the past 7 1/2 years.  Is that weird?  Don't answer that.

She does go on her own, like at school for instance.  And that is where the title of this post comes in.  Sometimes it's so bad I can smell it on her when she gets in the car.  Crap.

*Snort* Europeans are dum.
This phenomena, together with our mutual hatred of bath time, makes for a potentially lethal combination.  But I've come up with the perfect solution, the ultimate cure for swamp ass.  And it's name is "bidet".  You know, that butt-wash thing that Americans love to make fun of/store their beer in when they're vacationing in Europe...and take the requisite picture like the one at right.

Think about it...it's the perfect invention for autistic kids.  They love running water, especially fountains.  They don't need the motor skills to wipe, and they don't have to get their hands near the stinky stuff.  OK, they may need some quad strength to squat.  But even if they fall in, it just gets their butt cleaner right?

Another problem solved.  Alls you have to do is find a place in the U.S. that carries and installs bidets, tear apart your bathroom to fit it in, teach your kid to use it, and watch your water bills skyrocket when they become obsessed with it.

You're welcome.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Book of Revelations

Psst.  Guess what? I've got a book out. Well, I shouldn't say "I", as "I" only wrote approximately 1.1% of it.

You see, my friend Big Daddy and I gathered together 48 of our closest bloggy friends, and put together a compilation of never-before-published essays.

I will let the Amazon description speak for itself..."These parents cover the gamut of experiences -- from initially receiving the diagnosis for their child and reconsidering their expectations for the future to learning how to let go of children as young adults – as well as an emotional spectrum from sadness and loss, to the frustrations of assimilating not-so-typical children into the typical world, to the joy of living amongst their often hilarious quirks and obsessions."

Man, that is one awesome description. Seriously, who wrote that?

I really want to list all of the contributors and link you to all of their awesome blogs, but I realize that a list of 48 blogs can get unwieldy. I will try to break it up by revealing some fun facts about the process of putting this compilation together.

And if you don't see one of your favorite bloggers listed here, it doesn't mean that they weren't invited to participate. Some people were just way too lame busy to participate. Really, I could go on about those people but I really shouldn't embarrass them any further.

You  really learn a lot about people with a project like this. Who doesn't know that that little squiggly red line under a word is trying to tell them something. Who can't copy html code onto their blog.  Who are the overachievers who give you 10 different things to choose from, and who always needs just a few more days to finish.

Here's our first dirty dozen bloggers. Remember in school how you would do all of your reading assignments and write all of your term papers during the first week of the semester as soon as you got the syllabus? Me neither. But one of these bloggers is that person, and was the first to turn in her essay on the very same day that the invitation to participate was sent out:
And So It Goes...
Four Plus an Angel
Yeah. Good Times.
The A-Word
Pancakes Gone Awry

Try Defying Gravity
Apples and Autobots
Living Life, With a Side of Autism

Many Hats Mommy
Floortime Lite Mama
Anybody Want a Peanut?
Stinker Babies

One of these hilarious bloggers did not know that anyone actually used the email address posted on her blog, or that there was such a thing as direct messaging on Twitter, or that you should probably check your email more than once a quarter:
Special Happens
One Autism Mom's Notes
Living and Learning on the Spectrum
Life as the Mother of 4
Fickle Feline
The Crack and the Light
Life with a Severely Disabled Child
Life Is a Spectrum
Hanabi Boy
Spectrummy Mummy

Two of these bloggers broke the no-profanity clause of our contract, and stop looking for Jillsmo because she is somehow not on this list:
Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles
Butler Way
Unplanned Trip to Holland
A Sugar and Spice Life
Our Life With Diego
a moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Autism Rocks
Seven Yuckmouths and Autism
Both Sides of the Coin
Butterfly Moments

Some people suffer from a little-known malady that causes complete paralysis above the neck and excruciating brain flatulence when it comes to providing a title for their work. At least two of these bloggers are in the grips of this horrifying disease:
Four Sea Stars
This Side of Typical
Little Bit Quirky
Confessions From HouseholdSix
Teen Autism
Going Insane, Wanna Come?
Autism From the Lighter Side
Not a Real Princess (Except to my Boys)
The Story of C...
Raising Butterfly
Living With Logan
Mommy to Two Boys

There were bound to be a few typos that went uncaught. I do need to mention one unfortunate one that I just noticed. My friend Meredith from And So It Goes... has a rather lengthy url for her blog that includes a dash -- http://andsoitgoes-louisandhenry.blogspot.com/ In the book, the dash appears as an underscore and will therefore not take you to her blog if you type it in as it appears. So just use these links here and give her a big hi-dee-ho!

Finally and most importantly, click HERE and go buy the dang book already! And if you find anymore typos, keep it to yourself.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Breaking Board

My friend Jen recently had this awesome post featured on BlogHer in which she wrestles with whether to go with "typical" or "special needs" dance classes for her daughter.

My rule of thumb has been to go with typical settings as much as possible when it comes to camps or more social extracurricular activities.  But when it comes to anything athletically-oriented, it's very difficult for Audrey to keep up.

Back in January, we tried a regular martial arts class but it just moved along way too fast, and Audrey needed a lot of one-on-one support that they weren't really equipped to give her.  Then I discovered that the local Easter Seals where Audrey was doing OT offered a martial arts class, so we gave that a try and it's been so much better for her.

Even at Easter Seals, well I don't want to use the word "worst", but let's just say that she's the most challenged kid in class.  But she gets tremendous support, and the class is just right for her.  She has kids with some pretty kick-ass motor skills to model, and even though it's all pretty difficult for her she tries really hard and seems to love it.

At the end of the summer session, they had the parents come in to watch them break boards.  Since the force behind Audrey's movements is akin to a light breeze, I had no faith that she would be able to do it.

First, here is how it's supposed to be done...

And here is Audrey...

OK, that board must have been made out of saltines for it to have broken.  This is a perfect example of the motor planning stuff that she finds so hard.  She just couldn't get that choombee and eye-yah together with her kumbaya and her foie gras.  Or whatever the hell.

But she did it!  So what have we learned?  That I should have more faith in my child's abilities?  That you don't have to be great at something to still enjoy it and get something out of it?  Yes, all of that...and also that when I think I'm not at all giggling when I take videos like this, somehow I actually am.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Little Snark Goes a Long Way

Today in my latest Patch article, I discuss the Culture of Snark and how the internet, blogosphere, and social media contribute to it.  

Not that I would know anything about this.  I clearly do not approve of such base forms of humor.  *Sniff*

Click here to check it out!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Other Side of the Parent 'Hood

Since buying out all of the issues of Parents magazine within a 50-mile radius, I've actually made my way off of page 161and our 15 minutes of fame and flipped through some other stories.  And while I'm happy for the autism coverage, I'm reminded how difficult it is for special needs parents to relate to the rest of the magazine.

Recipes for foods that our kids won't/can't eat, ideas for crafts that they won't/can't make, advice that is so inapplicable as to be laughable -- right there on the cover is "The 1-Week Fix For Your Child's Worst Behavior".  Easy peasy mac and cheesy!

I'm not really that bothered by it anymore.  Sometimes I even read parenting advice columns as a gauge for where typical kids are at.  I never tire of hearing about what giant pains in the ass typical kids can be and the gnarly problems that drive their parents around the bend.

Once in a blue moon there is even some advice that I can use.  Even that "1-Week Fix" article contains some advice (don't react, be consistent) that isn't totally scoff-at-able.  But the "1-Week" and "stay positive" stuff they can suck on.

In my local paper, there's a weekly column called The Parent 'Hood where a problem is posed and a panel of parents weigh in, followed by an "expert" that tells you what you are really supposed to do.  Sometimes the headline will catch my eye because it's something Audrey does like a recent one about coping with "copycat syndrome" where a kid is becoming a clone of their BFF.

Who wore it best?
Audrey is obsessed with copying her BFF Grace Anne, and Grace Anne is obsessed with being irritated that Audrey is copying her.  But it's not the usual wanting to dress exactly like her...unless you count the fact that Audrey now refuses to wear turtlenecks because Grace Anne won't wear them for sensory reasons.

Mostly Audrey just likes to draw exact replicas of whatever Grace Anne is drawing, and play the same DSi games that she's playing.  To which Grace Anne will agitatedly say "Audrey, be your own person!", to which Audrey will agitatedly reply "OH NO, I'VE GOT TO BE MY OWN PERSON!!!" and so on and so forth.

Here's an excerpt of some of the advice in the article:
"Your child may soon find the BFF's really annoying phrases or clothing as annoying as you do."
Who said that the BFF was annoying?  Certainly not a person who writes a blog that the mother of her BFF reads.

"Whispering in the ear of a sleeping child has been proven to cure all quirks."
What the what?

"Ask them to tell you about so-and-so, what they like about her, and what makes her fun to be with."
Here is a transcript of the actual conversation that I had with Audrey....
"Audrey, why do you copy Grace Anne?"
"Because it's fun!"
"Why is it fun?"
"Mom, fist me!"

See, it's just that easy.