October 9, 2013

He's not the problem, their list is.

Last week we went to the boys' annual checkup at the pediatrician. You know the appointment, you wait for what feels like an eternity, just to get into the tiny room, be poked at for a minute, then released to pay? Ya. But when I checked out I was given a new kind of 'receipt'. On each was the child's stats from the current visit, along with any other pertinent health happenings from birth to now. And I was faced with this on the top of Alex's paper:

PROBLEM LIST. That was the first thing I noticed. Those ding dongs that just want money, see my son as having problems. Nice. But after I got past that title, the list below it hit me. Hard. 

Our Autism journey has been nothing short of a miracle as most of you know. I wish I had documented more of our last 7 years. But now is so different than then. Alex is mainstreamed. He doesn't shut up. He's funny as hell. Yes, he struggles with his words sometimes, his anger sometimes, definitely with schoolwork. Isn't that what being a normal 8 year old is all about?

Sure, there are days I'll see him do something a little 'off' that gets my mind running, and I slip back into some dark memories. Thankfully those days are far and few between. Some newer friends don't even know our story or how far we've(he's) come. And that's ok with me, we just more forward.  

The Problem List upset me though, because most days I can forget about it. Ignore it. But it reminded me that these societal labels will follow him for all of his days. I'm so grateful they no longer define who he is, but it still hurts. 

I guess I need to see the positive side of that list(me, positive?), and look at it like a badge of honor. Oh Autism? Language Disorder? Yea, I remember those....we kicked their asses. 

Ho, Ho, Nooooo!

Why am I being handed Christmas lists already? It's way. Too. Early. I have way bigger things to think about(um wedding in 13 days!), and spending an obscene amount of money on items that wind up sitting in a closet until at least July is not a priority.

I can remember asking for things when I was younger, and getting maybe 1 of the items on my list. My dad would give my mom a very tight budget for Christmas shopping, and she stuck to it. I got some nice items that I still have, but the list was usually out the window. So why is it so different these days?

I find myself making sure I got everything on the lists, and then some. I save up for half a year to top the previous Christmas, and I'm pretty sure the kids now expect it. Which is why this year I'm all about operation 'scale back.' Sure, I was ticked when that Strawberry Shortcake doll wasn't under the tree, but I was grateful for what was. We were taught that you don't get everything you want, and there are going to be disappointments now and again. 

Perhaps it's another area of life where we go too far for our children, myself included. Setting them up to expect too much in life? Then how will they cope when things don't go the way they hope, or they don't get everything their hearts desire? A small dose of disappointment might sound mean, but I say it's healthy in the long run.

I know, I know, easier said than done :)

ps- no lectures on the true meaning of Christmas, or the gift of family and love....I get all that, this is just a ramble about the goods!