On Why Having Typical Children Is Not Necessarily Easier

29 Sep

Life with a child with autism is not easy. I won’t sugar-coat it. There are days when I wish she could talk and tell me what’s wrong. There are days I think, really God, you trusted me with THIS? For all the blessings and rewards, there are some very difficult times too.

But raising normally developing children isn’t a walk in the park either. There are days when it seems like The Princess is the easier one! Like when one of the boys is talking back. Or when they pick the loudest, least sensory friendly toy in the entire Big Box Mart (I’ve noticed I get auditory overload VERY easily). And the first child to walk out our front door and out into the world by himself, wasn’t The Princess…no it was The Duke. We got a latch on the door after that! And at Surfers Healing, the child who couldn’t behave and had the thermal-nuclear meltdown wasn’t The Princess…it was The Earl.

But let me give a much more specific example. The Princess is unable to do the normal vision and hearing screens at the pediatrician. She can’t speak so she can’t tell them what she sees and she won’t wear headphones. So we had to be referred to specialists for both. Specialists in our area for this type of testing are few and far  between so it was months before we could get appointments and have her seen and it wasn’t easy even then. But we got it done. My mother is a pediatric nurse so she sees kids of all stripes and spots and with every kind of ability. And she frequently does the in-office screens on rising kindergarteners. And does she have stories. Stories of normally developing children who refuse to tell the nurse what they see. Stories of children who say the hearing screen is “dumb.” Some of her stories (which I’m not sharing in detail for confidentiality reasons) make The Princess’s experience seem like a walk in the park. (I am happy to report that at The Duke’s four-year-old well child check yesterday, he did both screenings very well and was very cooperative.)

And when I am worried about The Princess not telling me something is wrong, I think of a story my mother-in-law told me about my husband. Apparently when The King was about six or seven, he really wanted to wear glasses. He REALLY wanted them. So badly that he told the eye doctor that he could not see the big “E” on the eye chart. This story always makes me laugh especially when I ask him how big the headache was that made him fess up to his deception. The Princess has never deceived me into thinking something was majorly wrong when it wasn’t.

The challenges may be different, but they exist just the same. We just have to learn to live with and embrace them.

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