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.


  1. My favorite advice was given by a psych tech at a hospital. I was forced to listen to his lecture so The Boy could be discharged.

    He talked about the importance of consistency, and asked me why it was a problem for me.

    "Because after working all day, I am tired and lazy. I just want a peaceful evening."

    He was stunned by my honesty, and reiterated his instructions.

    "How many children do you have?", I asked.


    "So all of your experience is from your eight-hour shift at this hospital that is filled with other staff members?"


    "Get back to me when you are a single parent of a child like The Boy, and tell me how it's going for you, okay?"

    Then The Boy and I gathered his belongings and left.

  2. so when you bump fists with Audrey, do you make the "splodey sound"? Because fist bumps are performed incorrectly if there is not explosion.

  3. I will say, I do take a certain satisfaction in hearing things from our therapist like my kid was the only one who knew how to play Candyland at preschool. But then it makes me sad because I'm willing to bet the "typical" kids didn't know how to play because their parents don't put in as much time playing games with them.

  4. I also enjoy hearing about/seeing firsthand NT kids being "giant pains in the ass." Ah,schadenfreude-- my favorite guilty pleasure.

    Congrats on the Parents piece, btw. I quit reading that magazine years ago (around the same time I gave my copy of What to Expect: The Toddler Years to Goodwill), but next time I'm in a waiting room somewhere, I'll be sure to look for it!

  5. @JFC: You're good. But seriously have you tried whispering in his ear when he's asleep?

    @Jim: We don't do fist bumps, splodey or otherwise. This little anecdote is a lot more disturbing now that you know that, right?

  6. Parents Magazine is equal to me as What to expect the toddler years I could never find the part in that book that told us what to do when my house was invaded by 200 my hot wheels (yeah my husband saved all of his from when he was a kid) lined around the walls perfectly parked and if you touched ANY of them.. the world would end lol

    They really should have a chapter about that.

    Congrats on the piece though!! I bet it was exciting for everyone :)

  7. My convo with GA about it is usually nearly as frustrating.

    GA: "Mom, why does Audrey like to copy me?!"
    ME: "Because she loves you. "
    GA: "Actually mom, it's because she thinks it's fun."

    We can both just look forward to that "soon the friend will seem too annoying to copy" part. I'm sure it will happen any day now!

  8. I found those parenting advice articles to be essentially useless with my NT child, let alone my other children.
    Now if someone could come up with a way to walk through a room with teeny tiny legos strewn all over the floor without stepping on one - then I'll listen ... lol

  9. I wonder if those tasty advice tidbits came from the same person who invented the Twinkie Towers?

  10. Oh I think I had a 1/2 million subscriptions to those NT mags years ago. They make good kindling...except for the October 2011 issue of course. This might be your calling..Editor of the monthly Autism Parenting mag. I offer my writing services, and you can pay me in booze.

  11. I haven't tried biomed yet, or changes in diet. But whispering in Moe's ear? That's something I could do! Maybe even consistently!

    I also offer my writing services. And will also take payment in booze and/or expensive cheeses.

  12. My new favorite comment has been: "You know all kids do that!" I have been getting it more and more recently. I really want to punch them in the throat. Maybe I should just see if they want to take him to the movies or the park......

  13. If I ever had enough energy to go to my kid's room at night and whisper in his ear, I think it would be like...

    "Stop grabbing/adjusting your 'junk' in front of people."

    "Remember to use soap in the shower."

    "Dishes don't walk to the kitchen by themselves."

    "There really IS a difference between scratching your nose and picking your nose. Trust me on this one."

    "Farting in the living room WILL be a turn-off when you start dating."

    I think I would be up all night.

  14. @Alisha: I love those. I think we should start small though so as not to be yacking in their ear all night. I'd start with the feet and pit smelling.

  15. This is a test. Had this been a true emergency...

  16. Shit, I forgot to whisper in Brian's ear last wonder he threw a stage five tantrum at the birthday party today.

    Seriously, I'll give it a shot...I'll try anything lol.

  17. Ellie: Helloha.
    Me: What does that mean?
    Ellie: It's Spanish for when you're late for a meeting and can't really get there.
    Me: Well, helloha.
    Ellie: Dictionary.

    Yep. You're right. Those magazines aren't for us. I honestly never looked at one. Until now. I do believe that aside from your poor disembodied arm, these articles will provide for lots of entertainment.


  18. "T, tell me about Jessica."
    "T, tell me about Jessica."
    "T, quit licking your hand!"

    "What makes Jessica fun to be with?"
    "Dodge Charger."

    (btw - she doesn't have a Dodge Charger".

    Yes, the Parent's Magazine. Answer to all our prayers (minus that one article, I keep hearing about of course.) :)

  19. Was never fond of Parents even when my kids were normal. We were definitely not living "typically"! lol!

  20. Holy crap, the comments are just as funny as your post! If I tried to whisper in my boys' ears they would wake up, wonder WTF I was doing, and then wouldn't go back to sleep for the rest of the night. So, I think I'll avoid that suggestion, thanks.

  21. OK, I have actually thought what you wrote about Parents, and that's why I almost threw out my October issue without even looking inside. So glad it was still on my bench!

    Now, as far as whispering in the ear. Wow. Maybe I'll share that w/the Special Needs Homeschooling group on Facebook and see what kind of reaction I get. ;)

    And as far as Autism Parenting magazine, I have no advice whatsoever because I'm still trying to figure it out, but I'd be happy to be part of the editorial team because I seem to be good at that (sounds kind of Aspie-ish to me), and you can pay me in chocolate. Dove Dark.