Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Good Citizen

Good Citizen 2014
Each year at my kids' elementary school one student from each classroom is awarded the "Good Citizen" Award.  This year it went to our daughter.  She had to prove herself throughout the entire school year.  Not only being a good classroom citizen, but modeling that citizenship for other students.

Last week I received the following, very touching, email from her teacher:

          "I wanted to let you that just prior to our last IEP meeting for Audrey last month, I had told the other therapist that Audrey was doing so well, that she was at the top of the list for receiving the citizenship award because of her accomplishments. 

          Although I usually struggle with this award, Audrey stands out as the best receiver of it.  This year, Audrey will be receiving my class' citizenship award.  Again, she has come so far in many areas this year, is academically gifted, and has soared on the social side as well. There is no doubt that every single student has respect for Audrey, and it is very clear that she had to earn their respect on her own. In addition, she is a good citizen despite her personal challenges and NEVER breaks the rules.  She has learned to help others, respect them, and encourages good behavior as well.  Thank you so much for the opportunity to allow me to have Audrey this year.  She is amazing and I have no doubt that she will continue to succeed.

          She is also so very lucky to have parents like you and your husband.  Please accept this award for yourselves as well because she could not be a good citizen without your support. THANK YOU for all you have done for your child."

While we knew upon attending the awards ceremony, Audrey did not know she'd be receiving this award. We were beaming and when her name was called I watched her head pop up in surprise.  I wish I could have seen the surprise on her face as well.  

We are so proud of you, Boo.  You have come so far this year and we have no doubt you're going farther than we can imagine.  Remember, you have it in you to continue this success.  Always be proud of your accomplishments and know it's your hard work and good character that got you there!  We love you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Losing It

photo courtesy of someecards/google images

All moms (and dads) at one point or another, I'm sure, have lost their shit.  Your kid is frustrated, you're frustrated, it's dinnertime, it's bath time, it's bedtime; it's never a good time.  Your tantrum becomes bigger and louder than your kids.  You're yelling, you're slamming, you turn around and no one is there.  They've retreated because they know...Mommy lost her shit!

There seems to be a stigma (okay, more like a self imposed burden of pressure) attached to special needs parents that we aren't allowed to lose it.  We must have virtuous patience at ALL times.  We must not get frustrated in front of our special needs kids, we must not get upset when they are upset, we must never lose our shit.  If we, as special needs parents, can't hold it together then who the hell can?

I will admit I've lost my shit with Audrey.  Our biggest moments of contention are over A. homework or B. one of her worries.  If she doesn't get the answer delivered in the black & white way she can comprehend then she's gonna lose her shit.  Trust me when I say a 10 year old Aspie losing her shit is not pretty.  When she loses her shit, I inevitably lose my shit.  It is a raging, thunderous shit storm that neither one of us can take cover from.  We ride out the storm and we both end up exhausted and apologetic.  I will also admit that I have learned from these storms and I find myself losing it less and less with her. Which is the goal, to lose it less and less.

Our love for each other is never in question.  I love my daughter "to the moon and back times infinity plus one", (one of our sayings to each other) but that doesn't mean I love those moments of frustration.

Recently a mommy-friend to a brilliant & beautiful seven year old girl on the spectrum, including ODDADHD, and a list of fears & worries, lost her shit.  She said this to me after the storm had passed:

I spend so much energy trying to understand what my daughter needs only to be the one to act like an idiot.  So frustrating; just can't win.  Am I the worst mother ever?  She was even apologizing when it was my fault.

My reply was this:

What you have to do is royally f@$! Up before you get it right.  Parenting special needs is trial and error...mostly error.

Like myself and many before me I believe my dear friend will learn from this and as time goes on will find herself losing it less and less; she is one shit storm closer to her goal.  

We (and by we I really mean I)  need to lose that self-imposed-burden-of-pressure-feeling that special needs parents need to be perfect.  Hell, we (and by we I really mean I) need to lose that feeling that any parent NEEDS to be perfect.  There is no such thing.  We're all just doing the best we can! 

While it is okay and human to lose your shit, it is NEVER okay to be abusive!!  Special needs or not.  If you find yourself physically or emotionally abusing your child you need to call  1-800-422-4453