Friday, September 10, 2010
Not proud of myself
Sometimes I don't like how I feel my personality has changed since facing autism with Janey. Today was an example. I was in a Borders book store, getting books Freddy needed for school. Tony wanted to look around a little, so I took Janey to the kids section. There was a very pregnant lady there with twin toddlers, about 2, a girl and a boy. The girl was extremely advanced (or very short) and was eager to show Janey a book she was holding. Janey of course showed no interest. The girl toddled over and got another book just the same to show Janey. Janey took it, but then decided she wanted the little girl's copy, and tried to grab it. I of course stopped her. The mother had a look on her face like "what a little brat, and dumb to boot" She said in a fake cheery voice "Let's say goodbye to this book area---not everyone likes to share" I felt as I always do like grabbing her and telling her all about Janey. The little girl didn't want to leave---she wanted to interact with Janey. I could almost see the mother thinking "why is she wasting her time with that girl?" Finally she told them they had leave. The boy had no said a word this whole time. I went to pay, and she was behind me in line. All of a sudden, things went to hell with her kids. The boy just started screaming, a wordless scream. I thought instantly---autism. It had ever crossed my mind just looking at him earlier. Of course, who knows, but I think you develop a sense for that. The mother talked to both kids in a very "I've read all the latest parenting books" way "Can you tell me what's wrong? I need you to be quiet. We are in line for a few minutes. Oh, look at that book there!"---you could hear her thinking "Use 'I' statements! Give a time limit. Distract!" None of which work well with you are faced with an autistic meltdown. And I thought to myself---I need to let her go ahead of me in line. There is no need for her to wait any longer. She is in a tough situation, regardless of how she acted earlier. She has a long road ahead of her, whether she knows it or not. But until the very last minute, I felt...smug. I felt glad she was having a hard time. I felt mean things. Finally, I told myself to be a little Biblical about this. Do unto others, and all. So when it was my turn to check out, I waved her in front of me. She was very grateful, and, I hope, a little chagrined about her behavior earlier. I don't know that last part. I still felt angry, but I tried to tell myself---no-one understands, until they do. I don't want to feel mean and angry because people don't understand Janey, because people think that textbook parenting can work on all kids, because people live in their own self-satisfied worlds a lot of the time. I want to be a kind, understanding person. Is that going to be another thing lost to the realities of autism?