Sunday, August 29, 2010

When? If Ever

You know that most annoying phase that toddlers go through?
Where they don't know how to share and everything is about them?
At least they grow out of it, right?
My boy is turning six next month and yet he still exhibits some toddler behaviour.
Not all the time and he doesn't outwardly appear babyish.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
He seems more mature than his almost six years.
But he also seems to be lacking in compassion and sensitivity in the same way that toddlers are.
I wish I could drum it into him.
I say all the usual things...
"Think about others."
"You're not the only one that counts."
"How would you feel if..."
"You've just made so and so sad."
"Be considerate."
"Everyone is important."
"Don't be too bossy."
"Share with your sister."
"Be kind."
"Don't deliberately annoy people."
"Stop hurting your sister."
One of the things that stuck in my mind when I read copious amounts of toddler books was,
"Ignore the behaviours you wish to desist."
That never worked with him, never.
He has persistance and tenacity like I have never seen before (and I have taught hundreds of children).
I guess it's getting to the point where we need to consider testing.
I knew that if he really does have Aspergers the behaviours would become more obvious as he grew older.
There comes a time where you can't blame it on toddlerhood anymore.
I need more information and help with how to deal with this kind of behaviour.
Because screaming at him and trying to force him to be compassionate isn't working.  Funny that.
I'm not sure whether he just doesn't care about others or he just can't care.
I'm leaning towards the latter...and that breaks my heart.
Because one of the things I wish most for my children comes straight from one of my favourite movies, Moulin Rouge...

To love and be loved in return

As a parent you don't want anything to be difficult for your child.
Especially not this.


  1. Oh Thea, my heart goes out to you. I wish I could be there and give you a big hug and hand you a glass of wine. I really do.

    All I can do though is say this... as hard as it may be, perhaps testing would now be the right step... and also this... it is not that he does not care, it is that he is living in the right now. He does love, but he may need some help at learning how to show that... I know he is loved, and that in itself is a wonderful thing.

    Sending you all the love and support in the world.


  2. Ahh Thea. I saw pics of your beautiful boy today on FB. He looks perfect. And he is perfect. He just wants thing a particular way.

    I know this because I have an eight year old just like this and my hardest battle was and is, to educate my immediate friends and family why Sam is like Sam. Why he won't wear a shirt with buttons. Why he likes to be left alone watching a particular DVD (for the 21st time) or why he needs to find a particular piece of lego or else his life is not worth living.

    My mother in law still alludes to the fact she thinks it's something we did "wrong" with Sam. We didn't feed him right as a toddler. Or we didn't teach him the correct ways of life earlier on. Yeah, we are in the habit of fucking with our kids diets and education, that's our bag.

    The thing is Thea, you love him, he is beautiful, he is different from the norm. But the old chestnut, what is normal? is so applicable here.

    Socially, our kids will be different. They may struggle, but honestly, who the hell doesn't?

    I reckon we just stay strong, support each other and understand and it will al be OK.


  3. Oh there is so much I could say ... firstly, follow your instincts. Secondly, get some testing done by a paediatrician, and or see a good child psychologist. Mr 9 has Aspergers but no child with AS is alike. He can be very compassionate - for example if I am crying, he will cuddle me and try to make me feel better - but if he sees a dead animal, he will laugh and want to poke it or throw it at something even though he loves animals. If I"m throwing up in the loo, and his sister is patting me on the back; he will be asking Mum, Mum can I do this, can I do that, with no recognition that I'm ill. Chat to teachers/carers, and do what you need to do. ASD is not the end of the world, and many of the world's geniuses had it. It's just getting the answers (and in Australia you need it sooner rather than later so you qualify for early intervention - ours was too late). And then working with it. We can now work with Mr 9 and understand his behaviours - bring out the best in him and help him where he lacks. And diagnosis was a relief for him too. He now knows he doesn't make friends with his peers because intelligence-wise he is years ahead of them, but socially, he can't relate. And he is learning to find ways to relate to his peers (knowing he's not a loser, he's just different), by finding things they have in common - eg trading cards.
    I could write a book (and have indeed thought of doing so ..)
    Just stay calm and be the best Mum you can be, and everything else will come. xo

  4. PS have just read what Bern said, and I agree. My ex-partner has only just accepted the diagnosis, because he started attending the child psychologist appointments. His mum and family totally don't understand of have any compassion, they brand him naughty and me a bad parent (because I've always done the bulk of the parenting.) I send them links, recommend books and information, and have gotten to the stage where I've said come along to an appointment!

  5. I'm sorry to read this and how frustrating and emotional it would be for you. Parenting is a tough gig.

    Most importantly he has your concern and love, which is evident in how you wrote.

    As you've been a teacher you're lucky to have had that first-hand view of many children so you can at least have an experienced view, and know when to seek another opinion.

    Though, I do think all of us, even adults, are capable of acting like toddlers sometimes. :)

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  7. Thea please please please go ahead with the testing. See a paed or a Child Psych that specialises in spectrum disorders.

    There is alot of help out there, and the difference the help I have now is AMAZING.

    I wish I had done it earlier, I'm just KICKING myself that I didn't because things would have been better for all of us alot sooner.

  8. Thea, I'm here too...with my gorgeous 3 year old with ASD diagnosed since march. I am so new to this 'game' but for what it's worth I agree completely with Bern. Maybe having some assessment will help you get some peace of mind about where he's at. Of course more questions will follow!! I am reading heaps and really trying hard to adopt the model of my boy's ASD as 'it's a different way of thinking/looking at the world' rather than the 'deficit/what's wrong' one! Easier said than done. Always here if you wanna chat. DM me in tweetland. And yes, let's support each other. Love to you xxx

  9. Thea, my heart goes out to you. I hope you get some answers. Whatever the situation may be, you have support here.

  10. I work with ASD children and their family as well as having a disabled hubby.....they have taught me to slow down and look at what really matters....your boy picked you as his mum because he could, I look at the children I work with and see so much more, people stop nd look at them, yes, people will question you parenting just as much as you do, but bottom line is you wouldn't have it any other way...really would you....when he looks into your eyes he sees understanding and love, the only thing children want and give it in to you all xoxoxox

  11. Sending strength to you as you embark upon this journey, may you find the answers to your questions, strategies which will alleviate your frustration, and support to lean upon as you need it.

  12. Lovely girl,
    I wanted to pick up the phone and call you straight away.
    I am a teacher and a director of our two kindy's.
    I have a lot of experience and understand completely what you are going through.
    Please email me and I can give you some direction if you like.
    Sending you BIG LOVE X

  13. Oh Thea such lovely comments from a great support network. I love it that you all want to support each other. That is wonderful and will make the world of difference. You will be a wonderful mother to your boy and he will grow up to be a beautiful person. xxx

  14. Thank you all so much for your kind words and support.
    I can't tell you how much it means to me to have all of you to help me through the rough patches.

    I've decided to call my GP for a referral to a specialist. It might be awhile, there are always waiting lists. But I'll keep you posted.

    Thank you!!! xxx


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