Monday, July 04, 2011


Boy, you'd think it wasn't the Lord's day, the way I go on and on about hating Sundays! But it was kind of a rough day. Today is actually worse, as Anthony hasn't been to camp or anywhere since Thursday and he is going mad. He keeps pulling Mike toward the door. Tomorrow, we keep telling him. Tomorrow you can go to camp! Mike is off this week so I feel much better than on a normal weekend, I don't have the usual dread.

Yesterday was a big day - Anthony went to church with us, we all went, for the first time ever. Anthony hasn't been to church at all since Maria's christening and we have never gone as a family. It went - not that bad. I told Mike I gave it a 6.5 and he gave it a 5. I think I was judging it on an overall perspective and he was judging it on how much he felt like he went to church. But I still think I am more right (not shocking). Because Mike is used to going either by himself or with Maria and I think LOTS of people who bring their kids to church, any kind of kids, don't really hear too much of the Mass. But we are there and that's what counts. Also, I hate the church that we go to, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on much.

Another thing that happened yesterday was that it was the first time I saw another kid point and say something about Anthony. Unfortunately for that kid, I was right there and heard it and I talked to him. Unfortunately for ME, the kid was actually very sweet and he cried and apologized, so then I CRIED because I am a loon, and it was a big fat mess. Here's what happened. A friend of mine told me about this splash park right near us, and it was one billion degrees yesterday, and Anthony seemed to have so much fun at the zoo splash park yesterday, I thought we should try it. So we finally found it, there is construction underway on the same block as the park, and it's in a HORRIBLE neighborhood, but then poof! there it is, this really nice splash park appears out of nowhere. Anthony really liked it, he was having so much fun, and Maria kept running around yelling Best Day Ever! and it was just great. So Anthony was playing and some kid, about his age, pointed at him and said to a girl with him, "look, that kid is wearing a swim diaper". I said, yes, he is, would you like to talk about why? Or do you just want to point at him? The kid looked TERRIFIED and ran to his mother, who was sitting over on the side. I saw her hugging him and I saw his shoulders shaking from crying and I ... I felt terrible. I tried to tell myself that Anthony didn't care, because he absolutely does NOT, he didn't hear that kid and he wouldn't have cared if he DID hear him, but still. Waaah. I am a crier and I am pregnant and ... I'm just a wreck, I was a wreck. So anyways, then the kid came over and he said "I'm very sorry I said that about your son". I said, that's okay, thank you for apologizing. I couldn't say anything else, I mean, seriously, I may have frightened this kid, I was getting VERY upset. I was thinking about toilet training and how I want it to work, I feel I owe it to Anthony to provide him with this training. I started thinking about how this kid was pretty young, and how he's only going to get meaner as he gets older and what in the WORLD is going to happen to Anthony? But - for right then, this poor six year old was being very brave and apologizing to me and I just didn't want to scar him forever. So that's all I said was thank you and it's okay. Then I ran to get Veronica, who wanted NOTHING to do with the water and was in the playground area of the park.

Then the MOTHER came over - honest to God, I didn't think I was going to make it. I am not trying to be dramatic here, but man, I still hadn't gotten it together from the original incident. So anyway, she of course was very nice and she said she was sorry her son said that, but he just had never seen it before. She said thank you for saying something to him because it was a great teachable moment for us. A small, mean part of me wanted to say, I'm SO happy that my son has autism and is still in a swim diaper at six so you could teach YOUR son something, but - let's face it, that's just mean. There was nothing wrong how anyone was reacting to this situation except me and I am a known loon. So I said, thanks for having him apologize, he was very sweet. And that was that! Meanwhile, everyone else was having a great time so I just tried to shake it off and we continued to play.

I just - I know it's just the beginning, right? People can be real jerkstores. I don't need to learn that, so that's not my teachable moment for the day. What was, maybe, is that it's proof to me that we are starting this training at just the right time. And that even if people have doubts, I have to push on and make something work for Anthony. I have been doing a lot of reading on this intensive toilet training and there are several pre-requisites for kids that are going to do it and even though Anthony doesn't have all of them, he has several, and this training has been successful with many, MANY children who have met even less of the pre-reqs than Anthony has. So I am just not going to worry about what any naysayers may say. We are going to make this work, in one way or another, even if it kills me.


Bonnie@TheFragileXFiles said...

At least you had some kind of reaction. My twin 6 year olds are still in diapers too and I think if/when that happens to me, I'll just stand there and not say anything at all. I'll be too dumbfounded and stunned to speak. Then a couple of hours later I'll have a great comeback....

Stephanie said...

People can be really mean. We get a lot of comments from adults and kids about josie's strawberry on her shoulder. I mean seriously I have had adults come up to her at the pool and ask how she got that "boo boo" WTF? It's amazing how defensive I can get when it comes to my kid. How you reacted is natural and I think you handled it well. Hope when you do train him it's super easy!! One can hope right??

Teri said...

We actually never addressed my nephew's autism with Adam - we kind of waited for Adam to start the conversation. When he was about 4.5, he asked us, quietly, why his cousin still wore a diaper. It wasn't in a taunting or mocking way *at all* - he just kind of noticed. And so we explained that his cousin has something called autism, and the autism is why he has a harder time talking and communicating, and that made potty training a little trickier for him to learn than it was for Adam to learn, and the dialogue sort of went from there. At 6, Adam is aware that his cousin has autism, but it's more like, I don't know, just part of James? Like Adam has blond hair, James has autism? Obviously, there's a whole lot more to it than that, but that's how Adam views it from his perspective as a 6-year-old.

I think your response, "Yes he is wearing a diaper, do you want to know why?" was perfect and I don't see why you wouldn't use that in the future. I think that with kids, especially with the punkass ones (and it doesn't sound like this kid was a punkass at all), the best approach is to kill them with kindness, and that if a punkass kid (or adult) points or stares at Anthony, approaching them and saying, "Yes, my child is flapping his hands, we call that 'stimming,' and I can see why you'd think it's unusual, do you want to know why he does that?" would, at best, enlighten someone about autism, and, at the very least, would put them in their place.