Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bad Parenting as Great Progress

Overall things over here at Autism's Edges have been going awfully well lately. So well that we are slipping. We've been letting our autism parenting slip . . .

So last night when I was stricken with a stunning migraine, I reverted to a parody of American parenting.

Sweet M and Fathersvox were quarreling about her bath time. I was curled up in a fetal position on the bed, hoping that the migraine dry heaves would not resume and praying that someone would just come in and shoot me in the head with a 44 caliber pistol to put me out of my misery.

It was time for her bath, but he'd insisted that she go to her bath in the middle of a TV program she was watching, rather than waiting for the end of it and then sending her off to the tub.

So she came in whining to me. M_____, M______, F______ turned off my show. Help me. It's not fair.

Grunt from me.

M_____, M_____, come on and talk to him, you have to talk to him.

I'm sick, you guys figure it out.

But— but —but —it's my show . . . louder and more excruciating.

I marshaled my last ounce of coherence and energy, lugged myself into the living room, restored her show, and said in my most deranged parent voice:

"There. Your show is on. Watch it. When it's over take your bath. And I don't want to hear another word from you, young lady."

She nodded solemnly and said, "O-key-doe-key."

And then I realized what I'd said. Something I've never said in all the time I've been parenting her. I told her to stop talking. And I can. Because she talks now.

Hallelujah — I can be just as bad a parent as the next parent and she'll survive.

I never thought I'd be proud of my worst moment.

Therein lies the secret power of autism — what's good is bad, what's bad is bad, and now, farther into the journey, even what's bad can be good.


kristina said...

Is that irony or what?

Marla said...

Oh no. Migraines are not fun. Especially with kids running around. I hope you are feeling better soon.

Casdok said...

Yes the poswer of autism!
Hope your head is feeling better.

Anonymous said...

that's wonderfully awful! i mean horribly great! what i mean to say is, hooray for communication!

how's the head today?

and stay away from pistols.

Patrick said...

Booyay LOL

I think you did just fine, Congratulations on the pacification, and agree you might want to stop thinking about those guns /grin

Yup, Irony at it's best.

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About Nancy said...

Bless your heart. Life is tough with Autism I know. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your post! We certainly are all partners in the good is bad category. Given that my son is older, I'll share my story with you, because it echoes your words: http://www.revolutionhealth.com/blogs/resilientmom/talking-and-autism-6925

Anonymous said...

There are many ways to parent an autistic child and advocate for one. Singer/songwriter Elyse Bruce has a boy with autism, and she created the "Countdown to Midnight" CD to raise funds for autism organizations.

We can all do something, and as long as we try, we never fail.

AJ said...

I'll be thrilled if I ever get to say, "just stop talking!" to my boy. To know his thoughts.....