Monday, February 15, 2010

Being Special

After a few weeks of cyclical sickness (two kids to pass between plus two parents mean flu and colds last forever) I am finally having a normal morning where I sit down and drink my tea while the girls watch their shows. So it is time to post.

There have been a lot of posts circulating in my head these past few weeks. A funny one about the Alpha Mom brigade, one admitting to my own Alpha Mom tendencies when it comes to birthday parties, Posts sparked by a great wine night out with a new friend where we talked about work and what we would do differently next time is there ever was a next time (we both fear having twins again).

But I haven't been able to write those because there was this post waiting. It needed to be written but I could not bring myself to sit down, write it out, and hit submit. This is a blog about the dark side of parenting but I could not get honest and write about this.

I am the mother of special needs kids.

And I hate myself for even having trouble writing those words. I have referenced it before in this blog. Friends in "real life" know the girls have delays. But there is just something about writing the words down that make it seem very real. I am ashamed of myself for having to "come out" on this issue. I have always thought of myself as the open sort who doesn't care about differences. It turns out I just care when it is my own kids.

The thing is I don't want people to think differently of or prejudge the girls. I want them to be seen the way I see them. Would I love it if they were both intelligible? Yes. Hell I would settle for one; then she could translate. But though their quirks make life harder but they also make them, them. The kids I love.

The problem is my own. I can't let go of the image of what my children would be like, what motherhood would be like. I can't seem to accept that we are on a different path than the norm, even if that path is what leads us to "normal". All the research on preschool, all the activities, all the play dates seem worthless. All the worry over social groups and exposure to the arts and other modern parenting problems only kept me from what I should have been worrying about.

Of course I blame myself. When you sit through five hours of listening to every single thing that is wrong with your children, it is hard not to feel like The Worst Mother Ever. But all I can do now is buck up and face the fact that motherhood is loving your kids; not living up to an image. Loving them is easy, letting go of the image is the hard part. Writing this is a first step.


  1. Oh my dear Twitter friend...,I imagine your feelings although I haven't been there. We all have feelings of "is this my fault?" but yours might go a tad bit deeper. Keep in mind those are yOUR precious children and nobody can make them less than that! You are blessed- u got TWO when most only get one :). Love them....that's all they need.

  2. My friend had such severe speech issues as a kid that in preschool they thought she had simply invented her own language. Several years later, after speech therapy, their biggest issue was not understanding her but getting her to shut up. Obviously I don't know that background of the girls' issues, so this story is probably totally irrelevant, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
    Also, this is something totally out of your control. You're doing what you can to help them. Try not to feel like The Worst Mother Ever, since all you're doing is providing them assistance and love- The Best Mother Ever.
    And yay for being able to comment here! -Claire

  3. We need to all let go of that "image", that's just what it is, an image. No kid is perfect or normal. Some are more challenging than others and at different times in their lives. Just wait, some of those "perfect, normal" kids will become huge challenges when they are teenagers! Hang in there.
    Erin W

  4. Aw, I'm sorry this is hard for you. I wouldn't for a second consider you the Worst Mother Ever. Things happen, and I think it's great that you make your girls a priority and that they are getting help. That's all YOU. You are the mom who realized that they needed help and you got it for them. Honestly? Go you!

  5. I am not an expert on this subject, or any other for that matter, but I would assume that anyone in your situation would have the same feelings and then guilt that those feelings bring on.

    I am sorry it is so hard. Under the best of situations parenting is difficult. But. The fact that you are aware of your feelings and able to write about it so eloquently tells me you are one VERY special mother. Remember that when times are tough.

    The girls are lucky to have you as a mother and one day they will look you in the eyes and tell you that themselves.

  6. You're far from the worst parent ever (that'd be my half-sister). In fact, I'd say you're doing what is best for your kids and giving them a happy childhood, regardless of the social "norms." Also, don't know if this helps but Alan was placed in the "slow" group when he was in kindergarten whereas I was placed in the "advanced" group. I think we know how those roles were reversed. :-) Basically, I tell you this to showcase that who we are - and what we're labeled - as kids very rarely defines who we grow to be. Hang in there!

  7. I want to gush but won't. I'll just say how fabulous I think you are. You love your girls that is a given. They happen to be very lucky to have a mom who can and will advocate for them so wonderfully. If I needed a mouth piece --I'd choose you. Oops sorry I think I gushed.

  8. I don't know what to say. May I be frank? I really admire how you are treating them "just like every other kid" by admitting that on some days you want to kill somebody, because all mothers do. Why should you NOT be allowed to feel that way? :-) I esp. love the "nonchalant parenting" method. That's my style too, but today I found the perfect term for it. So thank you. :-)

  9. I'm sorry I don't visit your site enough to respond to your post! First I can't wait to hug you in person. Second I know the feeling... the only difference is how my daughter's special needs are very obvious. I've had to battle these thoughts... and I honestly think blogging has kept me sane. **hugs**