“Your kids are spoiled”

This has been levelled at me a few times by various people. Although I shouldn’t have to justify my parenting style I find that I bite every time. I explain about the educational toys, the fun toys and the outside toys, the huge craft unit the autism and the interests we have and usually people say “oh ok. That makes sense”. However a couple of people will not let it go. They know the situation but insist on telling me how great a parent their friend/relative is. How structured bed times are. How it’s one toy out at a time. How before they get new toys they have to get rid of others. How the parents are in control and telling me “you need to do (insert helpful comment here)”. I’ve taken to avoiding these people now as they obviously aren’t listening to me and have no understanding that works for one family doesn’t work for others.

The latest was going on holiday with the 2 little ones and leaving Max at home with his nana. “That’s so cruel. How can you leave him out”. I didn’t take him because he wouldn’t have liked it. After being his mum for 24 years I kinda know what he likes. That’s why we’ve booked a holiday for him with us and no little ones. A weekend away where it’s all about him. I would love to have a family holiday and we are working towards that but it’s not an option yet for a variety of reasons. It didn’t stop the comments until I said quite forcefully that none of my children get left out and we do things differently but fairly. That person hasn’t spoken to me since.

The garden is full of toys. Swing, trampoline, see saw, cars and ride on toys, sand pit-you get the picture. Between them the youngest have had ten birthdays between them and they get presents off relatives, so I think I only bought the slide as a non present. The rest were gifts from others or birthday gifts. They love the garden and can burn off energy in a safe environment. Doesn’t mean we don’t take them to the park or for walks, or for tree climbing or anything else.

The house is like a toy store but again they have Christmas and birthdays and I’m not going to get rid of things they still play with to make room. Eventually they will grow out of everything and then I will sadly get rid of it and have a grown up house 😕.

We have a good range of toys. Stuff recommended by OT like bead threading, traditional toys like wooden blocks, musical instruments, duplo, stickle bricks, Lego. All to help with creativity and building and fine motor skills. Our craft section is always being replenished as Popples is always making something or school have asked us to make things or Oliver is into creating 100 kites or go-jetter badges or whatever is his current fad. They have a tablet each too, where they have a range of games educational to fun. We have a dress up rack, princess dresses that have been given us, doctor set and pj masks. Helps with role play.

I feel I have made my point about stuff we have and also realised I’ve justified myself again! I don’t buy my kids stuff so I don’t have to play with them. I play with them all the time. I was Luna girl for three hours the other day trying to catch owlette, although we had a break to look at a bee close up and talk about it’s hairy legs. I’ve played play doh all morning “no oliver don’t eat the play doh”, I can build a passable stickle brick train, I am a good patient even though the doctors are rough and have no bedside manner. But then I get “them kids are so demanding, they should be able to play by themselves” why? Yes my house isn’t spotless, my grass isn’t always mown when it should be, yes we all have grass stains in our clothes where we’ve wrestled. I lost a few crops with the “help” I got.

Apparently my kids rule the roost. He’d sleep if I bothered getting him into a routine. Oh thanks for that, I’ve never tried a routine 🙄. “People have kids and a job and still manage everything ” good for them. “She needs telling no” does she? Does a four year old really need to hear that mummy can’t play because I’m cleaning?

They are only young for a little while so why shouldn’t I enjoy it? My husband doesn’t care, he knows the jobs get done at some point. As long as the house is still standing, he’s pretty easy going. So yes I spoil my kids. If spoiling means playing with them and reading with them and educating them. I think it’ll be a very sad day when I’m banished from the games. I wonder why people feel like they can make comments about how other families are. I mean we aren’t impacting on them so what does it matter if I’m running around doing my evil laugh? It makes the kids happy, and that’s good enough for me. I don’t want them to grow up thinking mummy never had time for them.

Oh and it’s not all store bought toys. We got a huge cardboard box and it was a boat, a car, a fire engine, a jail, a present, a tortoise and a rocket. We make tents from sheets. I think I have the best “job” in the world.

Sorry for ranting but it’s just really needled me, the judgement.

Xx

Dealing with “nice”

Now this is a real problem for me.  I never know what to do.  You see after 20 years of dealing with autism it’s not often that I’ve had this experience.  I don’t know when it became acceptable to comment on a person to their face knowing nothing about them.  I have to say I am not too nice when dealing with these people, a part of me knows I should try to educate but when you see me with Max especially, any one can see he is different, so the comments don’t seem like questions just an excuse for someone to try to get one up on us.  “that child needs a good hiding!” and my response “oh have you called the Lancet- I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear your cure for autism”, “there was no such thing as autism in my day”-“was there always ignorance?”.  I’m not especially proud of my replies but I’m sure I’m not the only autism parent who has to deal with this inane nonsense.  I was shopping with Oliver the other day and we were discussing sausages- I say discussing it was me asking if he wanted blue sausages (chipolata’s) or purple sausages (Cumberland).  It was also 6 am and we’d been up since 3am so I wasn’t in the best of moods anyway but some woman overhearing us says to me “why you giving him a choice? he should eat what he’s given” I just replied we didn’t live in a dictatorship and left it at that. But what makes anyone think that comments are appreciated?  When I was little I was taught “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”

This has gone on for years, staring I can cope with, it’s not often you see a 40 odd year old woman dragging a 5 year old round a supermarket by his walking reins while he is on his tummy on the floor making swimming motions with his limbs and I’d probably look at that too.  So I can manage staring and I can manage comments (although admittedly not always nicely).  When people are nice it really throws me off.

It was Oliver’s sports day early July, on the big playground with parents invited so the main gate would be open and with him being a flight risk I was panicking in case he got away from his 1-to-1 so I positioned myself ready for the intercept if he went for it.  He cam out with his classmates, sat with Mrs D- his 1-to-1, and waited.  He was winning the obstacle race- until he stopped to wait for everyone to catch up, he cheated at the egg and spoon but won, then came the space hopper race.  He was more enthusiastic than skilled and was well behind, so I was cheering him on and I stopped to draw breath and I heard a group of other mums shouting his name and encouraging him  He eventually finished to great cheers from parents and school friends alike and the look on his face was pure happiness. I wiped away a tear (hayfever-honest) and when it was all over I went to collect him.  So many parents came up and said how well he’d done, how they/d seen his progress over the year and often a story of their child and mine doing something together.  Yes I was in tears on the way home.  These people don’t know how their simple “didn’t he do well” comments affected me, and made me feel supported.

I was in the quick check out queue once in the supermarket when Max was little and the woman in front kept looking at me then him- I got ready to defend us when she spoke I was deflated “would you like to go before me? My grandson gets bored waiting in queues and my daughter has the same look you have.  I don’t want to pry but is it autism?” We didn’t go in front but we had a chat while we helped each other pack up.

When Oliver was a baby I took him and Max to Morrison’s for a few bits.  We’d been doing well on our walks and shopping trips when suddenly Max went into Meltdown mode.  A staff member from the bakery came over and I thought “uh oh we’re going to be asked to leave” but she crouched in front on the pram and kept Oliver entertained while I dealt with Max.  I couldn’t thank her enough.

So I’m not good in dealing with nice, it turns me to jelly and often makes me cry.  I have also developed a face that I call my ray liotta “goodfellas” face

ray

“He’ll eat it if he’s hungry enough”

“just put him to bed he’ll get the message”

“take some time for yourself”

“He’s just spoilt”

I’m sure you get the picture.  I sent it to my daughter when she text me saying “did you get any sleep last night?” the reply I got “lol. ok do you need some help?”  I think the picture just sums up my reaction to insane statements and questions.  I also think it might be more polite than making pithy comebacks.

I just wish people would think- how would I feel if a stranger commented on my life? before opening their mouths.

 

xx