Spouse: Hi, honey!
Me: YEAH HEY WHAT’S UP OR WHATEVER
Spouse: …what happened this time?
Me: NOTHING’S WRONG EVERYTHING’S GREAT WHY ARE YOU EVEN ASKING
Me: okay okay yeah somebody was stupid today
Spouse: I’m shocked!
Me: About autism.
Spouse: Shocked, I say!
Me: but like REALLY stupid
Spouse: I’m running out of “shocked” here.
Me: okay so someone in one of my support groups posted about something that someone in one of her other support groups said.
Me: and it was about how tired she was of her autistic stepkid.
Spouse: Hoo, boy
Me: And the thing is, she could have vented in a way that really would have been okay.
Me: She could have said, “I need more time to myself because of my own neurovariance.”
Me: (She’s not autistic. She’s not neurotypical, either.)
Me: She could have said, “I know it’s awful to sound like the original evil stepmother, but it’s hard to do the work of parenting when you weren’t there from the beginning.”
Me: “Taking care of a child is exhausting, and I realize that sometimes I get to the point where anything this kid says is going to annoy me.”
Me: That would have been FINE!
Me: I’m a parent! I get it!
Me: It’s not always fun!
Me: You need somewhere safe to vent!
Me: You know what you don’t need to do?
Me: You don’t need to bitch about things that are an integral part of parenting and then blame it all on autism!
Me (peers at phone): So, like, let’s see.
Me: She gets “tired of having to answer simple questions.”
Me: And she blames that on this kid being autistic!!!
Me: First of all: if you don’t want to have to answer simple questions all day long, don’t get near ANY children!
Spouse: And don’t get a job in tech support.
Me: And second of all: hmm wow okay so I guess she’d rather have a kid who asks really, really complicated questions?
Me: Can anyone convince me that this horror-show of a human wouldn’t be bitching about the fact that her autistic stepkid keeps asking her about, I don’t know, mitochondrial syndrome?
Spouse (reminiscently): I used to get obsessed with a subject, follow my mom around telling her everything I’d learned, and then say to her –
Me: “Now ask me questions.”
Spouse: I already told you about that, huh?
Me: No. She did.
Spouse: Yeah, I’ll bet she still has a headache.
Me: The point is, she told me about it the way you’re supposed to tell people about that kind of thing! She sounded like, “okay, my kid was a lot to keep up with sometimes, but isn’t this a cute story from his childhood?”
Spouse: I was pretty cute.
Me: Quit bragging. I need to yell some more. About BAD people.
Me (checks phone again): oh yeah okay want to hear more about how UNBEARABLE autistic kids can be?
Spouse: …do I?
Me: This teenager needed the ins and outs of performing a household chore explained. A few times.
Me: I KNOW CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT
Me: ISN’T THIS STORY JUST SO SAD
Spouse: Actually, yes.
Me: IKR if only her stepkid were neurotypical!
Me: They NEVER need to be showed how to, I don’t know, do their own laundry. Clean a bathroom. Make a piece of TOAST.
Me: And what’s really sad is that this poor kid keeps asking how to do this chore just right because he’s worried he’ll get it wrong!
Me: Because he CARES about her!
Me: That’s something else she complains about!
Me: FOR REAL
Me: LISTEN UP
Spouse: kinda can’t help it over here
Me: She likes a particular brand of cherry-flavored soda.
Spouse: um okay
Me: So her sweet anxious autistic stepkid says he thinks she’d like cherry-flavored 7UP. Brings it up a lot. Keeps offering this as an option that maybe she would like. Because he pays attention to what she likes, and he wants to make her happy.
Spouse: The horror.
Me: So she has to keep telling him, “no, I just want plain 7UP.” She said that! As a complaint! About HIM!
Me: She’s all, “he just won’t get the message that I don’t want cherry in my 7UP!”
Spouse: That’s a weird hill to die on.
Me: What even IS that? “YOU CANNOT PUT MORE FRUIT IN 7UP”
Me: “THERE ARE ALREADY LEMONS AND LIMES IN THERE”
Spouse: Good point.
Spouse: It’d be like that scene in “Ghostbusters.”
Spouse: “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!”
Me: I HAVE to post about this!
Me: I am SO sick of people acting like if an autistic kid is annoying or irritating or just not exactly what you were in the mood for at any given moment of your parenting life, OH NO AUTISM BE SO HORRIBLE
Me: I don’t mean parents who are longing to be able to communicate with their autistic kids and they can’t.
Me: Or parents who are feeling shell-shocked because of all the rage-and-despair screaming we can be wont to do.
Me: I mean people who have perfectly okay kids like THIS kid and they’re all “ew autism BOO”
Spouse: Yeah, that’s really rough.
Me: Like, seriously? Do these people think that that’s how autism is diagnosed?
Me: Because just-plain parenting is always only ever AWESOME?
Me: “Hello, parent. I’m a medical professional. Did you just say that your child is not a perfect pleasure in every way, shape, and form?”
Me: “Oh, no! They must be AUTISTIC!”
Me: …so yeah. Gotta blog about this.
Me: But I guess I have to protect some privacy. I mean, I’ll change the kind of soda she was bitching about.
Spouse: Yeah, I guess.
Me (hopefully): do I have to, though?
Me (totally wistful now): I mean, even though she obviously totally deserves it, I guess there’s no way I can use her real name, right?
Spouse: It depends.
Spouse: If her name is common enough, you might not need to change it.
Spouse: What did you say it was?
Spouse: Awful McHorrible Pants?
Me: (dies of cackling)
8 thoughts on “The HORROR”
Hey love your blog! Would love it if you checked out my most recent post. Going through the Autism process with my kiddo myself! https://wordpress.com/post/throughrainboweyes.wordpress.com/17
Sorry I didn’t see this before — it landed in spam for some reason and I’m still new to this so I didn’t think to look. Thanks so much for the good word. Going through a bit of a moment right now but I look forward to checking out your blog.
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Okay, I didn’t know anything about ABA therapy until I read your post. Can you tell me what it is? A lot of people in the comments were saying it’s problematic. You’re saying it used to be but isn’t anymore. What *is* ABA?
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Aba is basically therapists that work with your kids one on one on targeted skills they’re falling behind on.
What kind of skills?
What kind of skills, and what is the goal of ABA?
I’m autistic. We ask questions. Why did you start a conversation with me about something I know nothing about if you aren’t willing to explain?