Know you have broken with all the traditional parenting advice…
You have gotten to really know your child…
Step Three: Die…Die…DIE!
No, we are not joining our kids for a game of Minecraft and killing zombies. I wish. This one is even harder than that.
It is about dying to self. Doing the most radical thing imaginable for many people…and one that is almost sure to take you back to that first step and incite the ire of your in-laws…
This one is about putting the needs of your child above your own.
But that is all parents, you say?
Is it? Is it really?
Have you ever dragged your child kicking and screaming into the store…I just need one thing? Ever complained about making something special to eat for her when you made a perfectly nice dinner? Have you ever felt like this…
I just love it when Fate and the goddess conspire to ‘teach’ me a lesson or at least remind me of how hard it is just before or after a blog. Last night was the perfect example of that!
4:37 a.m. – PanKwake wakes me…and Cookie Monster too, though he did not get out of bed. I went to see what she wanted…water, iPad recharged, waffles with nutella, a grilled cheese sandwich? No, not at all. She had spent the WHOLE night watching YouTube videos on…wait for it…
She was excited. Full of piss and vinegar. She kept pointing out that the sky was beginning to get blue…as if she had been waiting for that in order to wake me and share her new knowledge. So she just HAD to show me a desk full of fire ants. Yes, a desk full of Fire Ants…Fire Nation! I lie NOT!!!
See…Now imagine that you were awaken before five in the morning. It is still dark out there. But you trudge your Crazzy a$$ into your child’s room…thinking of some emergency or at least some need that she cannot do for herself. To watch THAT! Nightmare Central?
Oh and THAT was the second time yesterday that I was reminded of this lesson.
Pineapple, PanKwake’s best friend, has broken her wrist. So that meant she…and of course PanKwake…could not join the other home edders in the pool. Both Pineapple Mom and I thought…no problem, I will keep the girls at #HomeCrazzyHome. They can play computers and have fun while Pineapple Mom took Cookie Monster Jr to the pool with the others. Perfect sense, right?
No, in the minds of Pineapple and PanKwake. Pineapple wanted to watch the others swim. And PanKwake still wanted to climb the rock wall even if she would not go near the pool without Pineapple. Other parents might have imposed their wills…after all it is in the children’s best interest, right?
Not us. Oh no, we dragged Pineapple and PanKwake to the leisure center. And when they tired of playing games on their phones and iPad…I took them to the soft play. Which cost extra.
But that was OK. Because we gave them…AUTONOMY! We placed their needs above our own. We died to self.
And when you Radically Unschool that is something you must do…a dozen times or more every day. Then you get to listen to people tell you all about how you are ‘spoiling’ that child. How they will think they can have anything they want…anytime they want when they grow up.
And? Is it so much better to teach them blind obedience? To put aside their needs and dreams for everyone else? That bigger and older = more important?
A life of blind obedience and servitude is not what I want for PanKwake. But that ‘inconvenient’ trip to the LC gave me another taste of the future I do want for her. Once more she climbed all the way to the top of that wall. I stood…SAFELY…on the ground watching as my child was suspended two stories up by a rope. I watched as she hung there…and planned her route those final few feet to victory.
It is called Executive Function…and it is seen as one of the biggest challenges in the autistic brain. It is something that schools or even therapists struggle to teach. Yet life…computer games…that wall…had given my child something that they could not. I stood there screaming…
That’s what I’m talking about…Executive Function…Function…Function…Executive Function!
And yes, I probably looked like the biggest fool out there, but I did not care.
Oh…and I just thought of one more thing…maybe the most important one that happened by me putting PanKwake’s and Pineapple’s needs first. While we were sitting there in the play area, a bunch of us were talking. PanKwake came up while I was talking to a newbie. I introduced her as…My eleven year old daughter with a beautiful autistic brain. We went on talking.
But as we were leaving to go to the climbing wall the young couple next to us stopped me. They wanted to know if PanKwake had always been verbal. I told them no. She did not talk until she was three…and now she would not shut up. They had a young son about two or three who has been diagnosed as autistic. And maybe…this was the first time that they had ever heard a parent being so positive about autism? But the smile as I and they left…was worth it all.
Sometimes the most amazing things happen when you put others first…when you die to self. And in addition to your life partner there is no one else more worth it.
***I forgot another one too. This morning as the upheaval of yesterday I sent an email cancelling my interview for a board position with one of the national autism charities. Because while PanKwake has come soooooo far, is soooooo much more independent…and we have the wonderful Mog too…yesterday showed me that while I do have more time to invest in others than just PanKwake…that investment needs to stay close to home still. Just another example of putting her needs first. Hmmm…does that hit the dozen I warned you about? If not I am sure there were others…smaller ones perhaps.