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Can I be totally honest with you? I’m going to be totally vulnerable here and reveal something about me.
I get jealous of families with neuro-typical children! There. I said it.
I’m not jealous all the time. I just get waves of jealousy. Especially when I see these perfect families in person and especially on all the social media accounts.
I think I’m jealous of what the families have and what life they are living, or the life I think they are living. And how can I not be? Looking at Facebook and Instagram, it’s hard to believe those smiling faces and perfect poses don’t equal perfect lives.
And in reality, I know that’s not the truth. And I know that everyone has their own challenges. And I don’t feel this way all the time. I am so beyond grateful for my family and my children. But once in a while jealousy creeps up on me.
I was thinking about how sad this post was turning out to be. And I want to encourage you not make you sad. I’ve made a list of things I get jealous of and the reason why I should be grateful instead.
Kids doing homework on their own
Apparently, there are kids that sit, read their homework and then answer the questions. All on their own. How is that possible? Doing homework with my son is like pulling teeth. Most days it’s C’s ABA tutor and I will sit with C, reading the questions and trying to get C to answer.
Yes, it’s hard. Many times I have my 1.5-year-old on my hip and T needing attention as well. It is not ideal.
That’s ok though. It gives me time to spend with C. I am fully aware of all his homework and what he learns in school. Plus I think this is preparing me for the homeschooling that will come in the fall.
Kids playing sports
This is a big one. Here in the US, every kid does something. Soccer, baseball, karate, gymnastics. C doesn’t have the time for any of these. His ABA ends at 5:45 and bedtime are at 7:30. Not much time for anything else.
My goal is to figure out what C can do or what we can make time for. Right now I’m grateful that he is physically able to do any of those sports. Now we just need to work on time and attention span!
Kids sleeping in or at least sleeping in the morning
Some kids sleep in until 8 am or later? What is that like?
When C wakes up before 5 am it just gives us a nice early start to the day. I’ll take it!
Kids eating food
I have excluded certain food from C’s diet to manage his behavior. Besides those few food, he is allowed to eat anything.
He just doesn’t!
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a struggle. He has no interest in food.
I’m grateful there are still a handful of food that he enjoys and will eat without prompting.
Don’t get looks or questions about your kids
Most families don’t get stared at and asked: “why is he like that?”
This one is hard for me. There is so much preparation for us to go out into the public. C acts a certain way and sometimes we will get stares and questions. He looks like a typical kid, but he is so much more complex.
If someone does ask, I try to educate. Especially in circles where autism and ADHD are not common or are not talked about. Who are these people? I grew up with them actually. The Slavic Speaking community. But that’s a topic for a different post.
Last minute trips
How I wish that we can just decide last-minute and go somewhere. But C needs structure and predictability. Risking a last-minute trip, well…it’s risky!
I have to plan ahead so I can get C ready for what will happen next. This means I am more prepared for outings.
Going out to eat
I would love to go eat out with the five of us. I can imagine kids sitting calmly in their seats. They know what they want to eat and they eat it without complaining.
That’s my dream anyway.
In reality, it’s about begging the kids to sit and not get up. It’s handing them a phone to play with if only they take a few bites of their food. There always tends to be a meltdown in there somewhere too.
I really love to be out with my family. It’s just not easy. And I like to think of it as educating the public.
Learning and speaking another language
Ooh, this one!
“My kids all speak Russian. They can read and write fluently. What about yours? Why not?”
“My daughter’s children all go to Russian school on the weekends. They speak perfect Russian”
“That’s terrible that your kids are not learning Russian! Don’t you know their life will be wasted if they don’t learn the language of their people!” (okay I might have made up that last one) But that’s how I am made to feel, really. I am a terrible mother for not forcing my kids to learn Russian.
Before I tried to shrug it off and just ignore those people. Now I say “My boys have a speech delay. They can barely speak English. I want them to learn to speak English first, then they can learn Russian if they want to.”
That usually makes them stop talking.
C was using one word and sometimes two-word phrases until 5/6 years old. When he spoke 4 words in one “sentence” we celebrated. Every new word and the long sentence is a celebration for us. He is 8 years old and we are fascinated with some of the thoughts this child is able to express verbally. Maybe one day he will learn another language. Right now I am happy with English.
Being invited to birthdays or play dates
There are birthday parties and play dates happening all the time. C and my kids are barely ever invited. When I plan and invite, there is almost always an excuse from the other family.
That’s ok. I will still plan and I will still invite. C is amazing! He’s a really great kid. It just takes a little effort to understand him. And those that make that effort don’t regret it.
Jealousy creeps up on me when I think about the situations above. But I remember how amazing C is and how blessed I am to have the family I have. Somehow those “perfect” things don’t seem to matter.