advice

Parenting Expert

It’s been my experience that many people who consider themselves ‘parenting experts’ are those who have managed to raise one or or more perfectly normal little children.

It’s rare to hear a parent of a special needs child refer to themselves as an expert in anything.

We quickly learn that what works for ‘most kids’, rarely, if ever, works for ours.

And so we’re left slogging through trying to come up with something, anything that will work.

Because what works today, probably isn’t going to work tomorrow, or an hour from now.

I can’t even begin to communicate the level of frustration that brings.

And yet for the solutions we do find that we manage to make work we are look down on and called out by parenting experts and even other parents.

YES MY CHILD WEARS A BACKPACK LEASH SOMETIMES WHEN WE GO OUT.

According to one of the parenting experts on twitter, this means I’m treating my child like an animal.

*insert tears of frustration here*

Never mind the fact that Vista actually LIKES to wear her backpack.  She often brings it to me and asks to wear it around the house.

Never mind the fact it’s an easy, no fight, solution to walking around busy places with lots of people.

It was suggested I use a ring-sling as a harness.  That would be great for 5, 10, maybe even 15 minutes.  But for a 1 or 2 hour walk with a 45lb Amazon 3yr old? With a child who often can’t bare to hold hands because of the feel of it? A child to whom a gentle guiding hand could cause a complete meltdown because I touched her?  A child who will wonder off and not even consider where mom and dad are?  A child who would walk off with a stranger without a second thought?  Uhhh….yeah….

But I’m treating her like an animal because I put her backpack leash on her.

Well parenting experts, you come spend a day with me.

You go through the 2 – 3 hour battle of the meds in the morning.  These meds are not optional.  She must have them.  Not taking them could result in seizures that could kill her.

You take a child with sensory issues, epilepsy, and other brain issues, for a lovely walk in a crowded place with just a ring sling.  Don’t forget the behind-the-head headphones to help her block out the sounds.  And a package of wipes just in case she accidentally touches something and starts screaming about her fingers being dirty.

Then come home and start battle #2 of the meds.

Now it’s time to fix dinner.  Don’t forget the bowl you serve it in cannot be warm or it’s considered hot and no food will be eaten.

Oh, no, you don’t get to eat dinner too.  No, this is where you sit and help the child with their spoon or fork, because at 3 years old they still aren’t able to manage it.

Now it’s time for battle #3 of the meds.

Tired yet?

Oh well, you still have to give the kid a bath and put her to bed.   Don’t forget that no water can get anywhere near the face or it’ll be an epic meltdown.  Oh, and brushing her teeth will require a specific tooth brush (her choice, it changes daily.  But don’t use the wrong one or…yeah, epic melt down).  Oh, and if you pick the wrong toothpaste?  Then you’ve just extended bedtime by half an hour while you calm her down.

Yeah, good luck with that.

If you make it through the day without ending up in tears yourself, then maybe I’ll consider your advice.

But only maybe.

WHY Did Nobody Tell Me This??

When I found out I was pregnant, my friends who were already moms told me a lot of things.  Most of it, I realize now, was a bunch of BS created to lull me into a false sense of security so I wouldn’t have a complete meltdown and run away screaming (how kind of them to let me hold onto my sanity just that little bit longer).  Here’s a few things I wish they would have told me:

  1. You will never drink a full cup of coffee while it’s still warm again.  You’ll either get two sips in and be interrupted, so it turn ice cold and the milk curdles, or end up spilling it all over yourself while you try to juggle a squirming kid and a diaper bag, while body blocking two dogs from following you out the front door.
  2. If you’re a person who prides themselves on being punctual and makes smart ass remarks to mothers who are always late – Karma Is A Bitch.  You will never, ever, be on time for anything again.  EVER. Not even if you start getting ready two hours before.  Because just as you walk out the door, with time to spare, that will be the moment your kid decides to take a massive dump that smells like something died and ends up being a complete blowout so you end up having to throw them in the tub and hose them down.  Not that I would know this from personal experience or anything.
  3. Sleeping in will become a very rare and joyful event.  Hell, just sleeping through the night is like finding the lost treasure of Atlantis.  Sleep now.  Sleep often.  Sleep long.  Because gone are the lazy Sunday’s in bed.  I’m fully convinced that the amount of sleep your child requires is inversely proportional to the amount of sleep you need.  In other words, get used to being sleep deprived.  And if you don’t drink coffee now, you will start (and when you do, see rule number 1)
  4. Showers are a luxury, not a necessity. Same goes for make up and actually doing anything with your hair.
  5. Packing a diaper bag is an art form.  Imagine standing in the middle of the grungy mall  restroom trying to find a clean diaper, wipes, and butt cream, WHILE holding down a squirmy baby, and without dumping the contents of the diaper bag over said grungy restroom floor. You will learn how to pack a bag with military precision.  And yes, one little bag can fit diapers, wipes, cream, hand disinfectant, a change of clothes, bottles, formula, toys, books, soothies, AND the contents of your purse (so you don’t have to lug that around too) IF you know how to pack it properly.  Start practicing now.
  6. The road to hell is paved with good intentions (this is another one of those Karma Is A Bitch things).  Feel free to philosophize and spout off how you’re going to raise your children.  Sing it loud and proud.  About  how they’re not going to be the ones screaming in the restaurant.  And how you will never need to put your kids on one of those stupid leashes because you’ll be able to watch them, unlike those other lazy ass parents.  And how you will never bribe your children with candy, cookies, toys, or other ‘bad’ things.  And you will never feed them junk food, ever.  I suggest you write all of it down, then come talk to me when they’re two.  We’ll see how you did.

What would you go back and tell your pre-children (aka. SANE) self?

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