Another excellent blogger, Alysia, wrote a post today about the need for a day off from Asperger’s. Her son, Howie, is a bit younger than Jett, and her posts, which are excellently written, serve as reminders to me about how far we have come since Jett was 4. He has luckily outgrown most of his major meltdowns and tantrums.
We still have battles though.
I noticed going through his writing samples from school the word “freak” was cropping up often. It also came out in conversation about his brother and boys at school. So J and I sat down with him one night for an enlightening conversation.
Us: Jett, do you feel like a freak?
Jett: Because I’m different from the other kids. I can’t go to normal places without something bothering me. Like it’s too loud, or Letty poops and the smell bothers me. Or the food is weird.
Us: You aren’t a freak, honey. And every person who ever did anything worthwhile in this world was different from other people.
He says that little conversation helped him feel better, but for me it illustrated how ingrained his feelings of inadequacy and difference are. And my question once again is how much of this is developmentally appropriate and how much is specific to Jett and his Aspergers? One of the developmental books I have read states “7 year olds live life in a minor key”. And it’s true, when talking to other parents, their kids are also worried about friendships and fitting in.
And for Jett’s sake, as well as my own, I wish we could just take a day off.
There is a political rally this coming weekend for public education. How I wish we could attend. But the crowds, the noise, the weather, it all conspires to make that event hell for my family. So we won’t be going.
We will do something else instead. Something that keeps my son from feeling like a “freak”. Something that celebrates who he is, and his place in the world.
Because we can’t take a day off. We can only make the best of each other. Whatever that looks like for us.