Many of you have followed my little blog as I have mentally processed having a child that is a little “different”. I have run the gamete of human emotions sitting in front of this very keyboard clickity clacking away– sometimes with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart in my chest. But now, now I have evolved from the person that has more questions than answers to the figure in a mentorship role. There are several “newer to the fold” moms that have reached out to me from here and, from where I began and with my background, it is a place that I am extraordinarily blessed and happy to be.
No one knows how scary and uncertain it is staring at milestone charts and DSM manuals like a mom that has been through it, right?
But, even with most of my new-found “enlightenment”, I still have a very big and very real fear for my only baby boy. It’s the one that everyone always tells me to not worry about; to just wait and see. It’s a fear that I simply push down into a little box in my heart and hope that I never see come to fruition but all it takes is seeing it on television to bring it all gurgling up to the surface. And, as someone who preaches strength daily, I want -no need– to share my weakness. Because we all have them. And that’s okay.
It’s that my son won’t have friends; that he will be bullied.
I know that I am not supposed to worry about the future, and I counsel women all of the time about acceptance of our “new” children (you know, the ones that we never quite envisioned in our wildly idealistic pregnancies) and adapting to the life that we now have…but, I promise you, no matter how much strength we have tapped into and how stoic we may seem as mothers, we all have something that brings us to our knees as a mother of an atypical child.
And mine happens to be Jp being or feeling isolated.
I know that children, like my son, with a pragmatic language impairment (or social language impairment) have tremendous difficulty grasping the subtleties of language when they are being spoken to. While they will learn to speak and sound much like you and I, the brain itself processes language in a entirely different fashion than the rest of us. Exactly like Autism, PLI cannot pick up on sarcasm or double meanings easily. So, when a child says, “Nice coat”, and laughs at them…they only hear a compliment and not the insult.
So, you can see why this is a palatable fear of mine. Without being able to understand the duality of language, the likelihood Jp will not understand that he is being made fun of is quite possible– probable, even.. Without that seemingly insignificant ability…he will seem as friendly and harmless as a puppy dog and that will make him a target for the meaner children. And we all know how incredibly cruel children can actually be when the adults aren’t looking.
But you may be wondering what brought this entire rant on? I don’t blame you.
The other night my husband and I sat down to watch a movie called, Disconnect. My husband only informed me that it was about “people and connection in the internet age”. Okay, sounds good, throw it in, honey. Well, one of the people attempting to “connect” was a little loner boy who was frequently picked on by his peers. The popular boys in school created a Facebook page and tricked him into thinking it was a girl that understood him and he opened up to them. It showed the mother trying to ask him about what was going on in his life and he completely shut her out as teenage boys tend to do. Then the other boys convinced him to take a picture (of a naughty nature) and send it. They sent it to the whole school. Embarrassed, humiliated, and defeated…the boy hung himself.
I am literally crying onto my keyboard right now just as hard as I did watching it.
THAT is my greatest fear. I know that when we were kids that we all took a little bullying. Kids are mean. I remember being taunted at gym by a horrific little shithead. I was a tough kid and kicked him square in the [insert slang for male parts here]. I still went home and cried for weeks and weeks. In this day and age, the children are more adult; more jaded much earlier than we ever dreamed of being. There is this terrible thing called the internet that they use as a weapon against each other that is worse and more damaging than any punch they could throw.
And no matter how much we love them and how hard we try as parents…they will shut us out when they get older. It’s the great circle of life and their journey into adulthood beginning.
This is what terrifies me. This is what keeps me lying awake at night when I can’t seem to drift off to sleep. That is my biggest fear and my greatest weakness all rolled into one scary package. So, now you know that behind every person that gives you advice and smiles while cracking jokes through the therapies, evaluations, and incredibly public tantrums is a mom that is scared just like you.
We just have learned to fight the fears one at a time,. Kate.
Childhood Development autism children fears mixed expressive receptive language disorder motherhood parenting pragmatic language impairment receptive language delays social communication disorder special needs special needs parenting
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.