I stood at the sink washing dishes as my five year old said, “ make me a jelly bread.” he didn’t say please, and he didn’t ask. After all it was the fourth time he said he wanted a jelly bread and I kept telling him to wait so I could finish cleaning the kitchen.
As soon as he said it, my sister said, “Maybe you could ask her instead of tell her” I heard her say it, but didn’t make a big deal about it and quickly said, “it’s okay, I don’t care how he says it, he has asked me four times now”
To her it was a big deal, his tone, was a big deal, but to me it didn’t matter because he was able to wait for me to finish cleaning without getting upset and having a melt down. He has a lot of melt downs over things that most people find well, annoying.
I have learned that most of his melt downs come from the simple compulsion of fixation. When decides he wants something he fixates on it over and over and he cannot let it go no matter how much you try to distract him from it.
To the outside world that comes off as “spoiled” but to me, I know that it is so much more then that.
I have held him while he screamed because the water hitting his hair was to much for him to handle, and I have laid with him at 2am when he couldn’t calm down enough to fall asleep.
I have been his advocate inside of autism his entire life, and I have learned to parent differently then most in the hopes that it will shape him into a person that doesn’t see autism as a disability but as something that lets him learn and be a better person just a little differently then other people.
Most of all though, I am teaching him that he is in control of his own wants and needs, and how he tells the world about them.
If I am tired of waiting on someone I might not say please, and as an adult no one is going to say anything about it to me, but to a child it is expected or they aren’t a good child.
If I do not want to do something because I do not like the way it feels no one is going to say anything to me, but if a child doesn’t do something because of the same reason they will be labeled as “defiant” quicker then they could blink their eyes.
I grew up with a mother that needed to control everything about me, and when she could not her first instinct was to grab a belt and swing it like a bat. I have let the ways of my own mother influence the kind of mother I have become to not only my child with autism, but also my other children.
All of my children have some form of medical complexity, and I have often struggled with finding grace inside the why, when I have always done everything I could to give my children the health they needed to thrive.
In these moments when the outside world seems cold, I have shown compassion and empathy to my children, and I have learned in those moments that I was meant to be their mother.
I took the hurt from my own mother and turned it into the love I give my children.
I let the small stuff go inside of the melt downs and tantrums, and I deal with the big stuff with hugs, cuddles, and softness because inside of all of the medical complexity of their lives they need a constant reminder that everything is going to be okay.
I need my children to know that it is okay to fall apart, because when they do I am going to be there to pick them up and put them back together. I will always be their one constant in life, and I will never let them think they are alone.
I promised myself the day I became a mother, that I would always be the mother I never had, no matter what happened.
My children need love, compassion, and understanding not cold, hard, and numb inside their tiny lives.
My children are not special, they are brave. They have conquered more battles then most adults and they have powered their way through them with smiles, laughs, and kindness.
They have fought to live inside of hospitals, and they have won their fight many times, so if they want to not say please, well, they get to not say please.
I have learned inside the truth of special needs motherhood that not many people will like you, and if they say they do, they won’t understand you. I have some how found laughter in knowing that and learned to let it help me in my journey inside of special needs motherhood.
Once I stopped caring what people thought about my children and me, I became a better mother. I stopped worrying about how the world said I should parent, and started parenting how I wanted to parent.
I stopped listening to the world of “being strict” and “teaching manners” and started, being kind, and teaching compassion.
Though my children may not always say please, they always know they are loved.
In a world where you are supposed to be cold, I am not, and it made me a better mother.
I am the mother I never had, but always needed.
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