Expectations certainly change when you’re a parent. Remember before you had kids and you just knew you were going to parent this way or that way. Your children were going to behave because you told them to and that was that. Ha.
Expectations really change when you have a child with autism. Like at an exponential rate.
Standing next to the dinner table, hopping on one foot, while eating his meal? Let it go.
Five years ago he had 12 whole foods that he would eat. 12. Appreciate that he’s now eating things like kale and broccoli. And who really cares if he’s sitting while doing it?
Wearing his pajamas to the grocery store? Let it go.
Be thankful it’s been years since he laid down in the middle of an aisle having a tantrum (not to say he hasn’t had one recently while lying in the cart). Count your blessings that it has been months since he ran away and started obsessively tapping some stranger’s child. That was always a fun one to apologize for and try to explain…
Still sucking his thumb at nine years old? Let it go.
I have a lot of clients who haven’t figured out how to self-soothe. And that makes life really hard when these children are constantly becoming frustrated by a lack of communication and being barraged by an overwhelming environment. I’m just going to embrace that Brian is able to bring himself down when he becomes overwhelmed and upset. And really, in the greater scheme of all that he has going on in life, thumb-sucking doesn’t even hit the list of things I’m worried about.
Jumping and flapping and making loud noises when out in public? Let it go.
Sure, I know there are people out there that don’t enjoy children making a peep. They want them to be seen and not heard. But when Brian is doing all of those things I know he is happy. And that is what we are striving for here.
Autism isn’t a “Get out of jail free” card by any means. Believe me, I’m not letting go of the fact that he doesn’t lift the seat and has terrible aim when using the bathroom. We’re working on that one until it’s mastered. But it does give us a different perspective on life and tests where we place value. It truly makes it easier to see what is important and what really isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life.