Friday, April 29, 2011

Guest Blogger: Special Needs Supermom Aimee!

Today guest post is brought to you by super-commenter and mother to not one but two special needs children, Aimee.

Aimee is mother to Audrey's BFF, Grace Anne, and was our travel companion for our recent trip to Disney.  Grace Anne is on the spectrum, and her older sister Charlotte has got the Downtism...that would be a dual Down syndrome and autism diagnosis.  Like the way I Brangelina'd that up?  Sounds much more glamorous that way, doesn't it?

Anyhow, Aimee was inspired to write this post after listening to our latest BlogTalkRadio show about parties.  Take it away Aimee!

“Parties” is a great topic for your show!  Our kids all react so differently to the idea of them.  Even my two girls who are biological sisters, both on the autism spectrum, could not be more different in their feelings about celebrating in groups.

Grace Anne pretty much sets her internal calendar by when the next party will be.  Each day is a countdown to that party, and each day there needs to be a clarification that there WILL BE cake at this particular party. (Ever since the Baskin Robins party incident of 09 – “But ice-cream is not cake! THIS IS NOT CAKE!!”)

To fully understand how much Grace Anne likes parties, if I were Big Daddy or a caveman, and I could only draw an explanation of how much she loves to par-taay, I would draw her strutting into each gathering carrying a boom box on her shoulder that is blasting that 90’s dance mix song that begins  “YA’LL READY FOR DIS?!”  I think it’s the same song that the little old man is dancing to in the Six Flags commercials. Freaky as that guy is, Grace Anne’s levels of excitement about parties is comparable.

My oldest, on the other hand, is far less enthusiastic about parties. Charlotte usually has to be carried in, and not the good Lady Gaga kind of “carried in”.  She then immediately puts the pointer fingers firmly into both ears and they DO NOT come out the entire time. If flies flew into her nose AND eyes, someone tickled her chin with a feather, AND simultaneously her hair caught on fire, you could not get those fingers out of her ears. It’s really quite impressive.  I think her vocation coach needs to enquire about Buckingham Palace Guard training.  All they have to know how to do is ignore people right?

Charlotte also folds herself into this amazingly flat and compact human notebook. This almost always prompts some little busy body to ask the closest adult, "What is wrong with her? Is she sick?”  To which I say, “No, she is just nervous and shy. Can you think of anything that might help her feel better?”  This weeds out the ones who really care about her well-being (they usually toss some toys in front of her) and the ones who are just nosey (they move on to their next inquisition).  However, if the party has been serving me alcoholic beverages, I have been known to say something like, “Sick? What do you mean sick? If you were sick could you do that? Have you ever seen such a skilled contortionist with that kind of concentration? Go ahead, try it. I SAID TRY!!”

Since she usually gets so stressed out that she becomes constipated for the entire week after the party, we have pretty much stopped forcing Charlotte to go to parties and we will get a sitter whenever we can for these occasions.  There are plenty of up-sides to this.  I NEVER have to throw her a kiddy party (sweet!),  I can go to the party and NOT have to patrol the virtual private biosphere she needs around her folded body.  And I can stick to fielding the questions from the normies about why Grace Anne keeps sniffing the cake.  The best part of leaving Charlotte at home is coming home to happy Charlotte…unstressed, unfolded and unplugged.


  1. @Lynn: I'm so jealous. 11 years and I never thought of the word Downtism. How long have you had that one stashed away? Darn you and your creative wordsmithing!

  2. I agree about the cake! Finally, someone else gets it. Ice cream cake is not cake, and is a feeble cop-out in the cake department.

  3. Stressed, folded, and plugged? That sounds like Mrs. BD on our wedding night!! Talk about a party!

    Oooooh. I'm gonna pay for that one.

  4. Jeez BD, you are so playing with fire buddy. Aimee, brilliant as usual. You need to guest post at least once a week, if you are insistent on not starting your own blog.

  5. OK, first I laughed at Lynn's intro, drunk Aimee telling off nosy party kids, and BD's comment. Then I got all sappy thinking about how lucky Lynn is to have a special needs mom friend like Aimee. What I would give!! OK, sap over. Great post!

  6. @Grace: You are so right...I am so lucky to have a friend in Aimee!!

  7. @y'all, YOU are ssooooo lucky to have each other! This blogosphere thing is quite amazing and I agree, Amiee needs to guest post ALL the time. You can come post with me if you like (hint, hint)!

    OK, now that I feel socially inept I WANT that ice cream cake!

  8. Good job. I know it's hard to leave them back because to us going to a party is, well, a treat. But it's not for everyone.

  9. I would love to see some more vlogs of Grace Ann and Audrey dancing! (Disney World was not enough.) What a contrast between Grace Ann and Charlotte. It's great you have a sitter so she does not have to sit through it anymore. And I love how you are guest posting for Lynn - hope you do it more often! Your stories are great!