Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An odd looking circle...

There are times when life comes full circle, and it doesn’t make a pretty picture, but it’s interesting.

Sounds a bit like autism, really.

We’re on holidays at the moment, and I’m in my mother’s house. Funny how it’s got smaller, definitely since I was a child, but oddly also since I was here a year ago. My mother has also gotten smaller.

My mother brought up six children. I was the last. My siblings think I was spoiled. I’d say largely ignored. My mother had pretty much done her job by the time I was born, so realistically, I could have been a crack dealing car stealing pre-schooler and she would have written it off as a statistical glitch. Even so, she knows a thing or two about parenting. In fact, I’m guessing she’s forgotten more than I know. At 82, I’m fairly certain she’s forgotten quite a bit.

For everyone, being a parent in front of your parents is an interesting experience. Throw in a bit of autism and it’s like being in therapy at a theme park.

Last night we had a long discussion about poo management.

I don’t want to talk about poo with anyone, least of all my mother. Like all ASD related things, there’s a logic to my poop plan, but it’s complex, sometimes convoluted logic. Trying to explain to an older woman how we handle a child with leaky gut and dysfunctional nerve endings in his bowel (thank you for that one Transverse Myelitis) was a little a politician like trying to justify the search for WMDs.

In the end, I said ‘Trust me. I’m the least cruel Mummy in the world. I spend most nights with a sensory seeker sleeping on top of me…’ Then it got weird when it sounded like I was talking about the Silent Partner and not my son. No mother (82 or not) wants to hear about their daughter’s sex life. I believe, even though I was speaking quite loudly (as is necessary these days) my mother actually pretended she couldn’t hear.

It’s fairly impressive, really. My mother has learned a lot as a grandmother. She’s learned more about autism than she should have to, because she has two autistic grandchildren. One of my nephews is on the spectrum too.

Which brings me to genetics.

It’s is a powerful thing really. It played some role in bringing autism into our lives, for sure. In an Irish migrant family full of celiac disease, irritable bowels, quirky minds and thyroid issues (I sound like a real catch, don’t I?), it’s unsurprising to me that autism has emerged.

I think I’ve picked up some other stuff genetically too. I’ve learned to ask questions of people I trust. I’ve learned that family will understand if you phrase things in the right way. I’ve learned that you can always laugh, even at the worst possible times.

And I’ve learned that pretending to be hard of hearing is not such a bad thing sometimes.



Valerie's increasingly random ravings can be found at Jump on the Rollercoaster.


  1. Great post Val! My husband says he's going to get me a hearing aid, because I'm always saying, "What did you say?" Of course a lot of the time I'm tuning him out :-p Selective hearing isn't so bad. It is important to laugh when things are not going that well, because otherwise you'd be crying all the time! That's what my mom has always said. You know what I can finally agree with what she has been telling me all these years. :)

  2. oh, i love, love, love THIS:
    For everyone, being a parent in front of your parents is an interesting experience. Throw in a bit of autism and it’s like being in therapy at a theme park.