I saw this on MSN and posted a few times on Facebook.
So yeah, I get it bonding isn't instant for every parent. I don't love everything El D does. I even LOATHED certain stages. I even completely dislike some of his habits. But him? I love him. He is a child and deserves my love and understanding... but the author's own judgment of her child makes me all feel all stabby...and I think she's an asshole. A total asshole.
Anyone else? Am I just clutching my pearls? Whatcya think?
We're like oil and water. Except oil and water that need each other to survive.
To me ...this sentence alone makes you different from the author of that article. I've read your posts and blogs about #1 and never ever felt that way I did when I finished reading that article. Perhaps you're right she just sucks at saying it... but I have to agree with DGB. It is about managing expectations of others - including your kids...which maybe the hardest of all...
Anyway, the level of judgment and what I read as disgust for her own kid was disturbing.
I just can't help but to think her kid already knows how she felt...(HBD - I don't think the kid will need to even read the article)
I don't know, guys. I've thought about this article *a lot*. I thought about it in my sleep. (wait, who's getting sleep in this house?) Parts of it speak to me. I had this ideal in my mind of my "son." He came out exactly like her daughter. He's weak, hypotonic, even. He's delayed. He's the last to get anything and sticks out like a sore thumb. You know, frankly, it *is* disappointing. It's horrible, but I mourn the child that I wanted to have and try to make the best out of the kid I do have. We spent two years doing all kinds of Early Intervention. Speech, OT, PT, etc. Finally, I just gave up. It was making both of us miserable and he always continued on a curve of 6 months behind. I stuck him in classes I knew would challenge him (like gymnastics and hiking) and it made him act out. So I gave up on that as well. We're both happier. But is it horrible of me to be sad I didn't get the gross-motor (or fine-motor for that matter) champion, or even the kid that could read or recite facts?
I don't have a diagnosis. He never comes out as autistic or even Asperger's on any tests--he's just an odd duck and nothing like I am. That's the key I guess, he's NOTHING like me. We're like oil and water. Except oil and water that need each other to survive. As he grows we find common interests: space and mazes have been big the past few months. I feel, like this woman--that we are growing together instead of growing apart. I had to really do some introspection to learn to like my son the way he was and to stop forcing anything on him that he's not.
My second son at 2 months is doing things my first son didn't do until 7. He's not as floppy, he's cooing, he's smiling, he's keeping up with his baby class peers instead of us sitting there nearly in tears as all the other babies respond to "Wheels on the Bus" and mine lies catatonic. He's bigger too. People don't come up to us and ask "Was he premature? Is he a month old?" When he was full term and at the time the person said it, 4 months old.
Well, we're off to a birthday party this weekend at an indoor jungle gym. I'll sit back and watch my kid chase after all his peers who are 50 feet ahead of him on all the apparati and cry when he can't get up a wall everyone else a year younger can. I can handle this better these days. Now I'm just ticked I can't sit down and chat like the other parents. I'm sure it does me good.
I guess I'm just trying to say I can see what she's saying--she's just not that good at saying it.
While it is brave of the mom to admit this and write this so honestly I can't help but to hate her a little. All parents of special needs kids know that we have a grieving process, I'll admit that I read that Holland vs. Italy essay and sobbed angry, rageful, bitter tears because that's where I was in my process. We didn't get the kids we thought we would get, but that is not the kid's fault. My life is nothing like I imagined it would be years ago but like DGB said, people are unpredictable. I didn't know what The Mister's farts smelled like until weeks after we moved in together either. I made some jokes about dead animals and got over it. People can tell you it's hard to be a special needs parent but you never know the exact flavor of hard until you are living it. Luckily I did fall in love with my baby eventually and largely that love grew from a compulsion to keep him safe.
Perhaps it took getting a diagnosis for this mom to begin her grieving process. I've come across some parents with special needs kids that just do not have the tools to handle these curveballs life is throwing at them again and again. Sometimes I want to grab them and scream, "get over your shit! Be the grownup!", others I might slip them the card of our counselor.
MNM: Oh heavens no, you didn't make me feel bad! I guess I was just trying to say I think maybe it could be interpreted in the way I thought--but maybe not?
I kind of also wonder if she didn't just have PPD that developed into a long term clinical depression? I mean something doesn't sound right, kind of like a cry for help (why else would she put it out there)?
Go have a good cry in the shower, write in a journal and then burn it, go into therapy, find the correct meds, but for the love of Pete you do not ever reveal to your child that you find them 'less than'.
Bap, I wondered that to... But isn't depression more about disliking yourself instead of others, or can it cause you to hyper focus on one thing and blame it?
I think for me what resonated more about the article was that she was clearly vocal, publicly, enough for other people to comment on it, about how much she found her daughter inadequate. I can't equate that with love no matter how hard I try. Vent to your spouse, your therapist or your best friend, but don't be a mega bitch in public. That's where the line is crossed from struggling to cruel.
As far as I know, nobody here set out a bashing the anonymous author bandwagon for you to jump on.
Nor is dishonesty what's being demanded of people who manage to write about parenting. It's possible to be honest and also be fair and kind to your kids. This author may or may not be honest, I don't know. But she's not being fair and if she's being honest, she's sure not been kind.
I know this mom. OK, not THIS one. Well, it's possible I do since the names (and perhaps gender) were changed. And having lived my friend's experience with her child with her, I get it at least a little. And many times, these anonymous or stereotypical moms are versions of one or more of my friends. So, I'm not jumping on the bashing the anonymous author bandwagon.
Listen, I don't like the notion of "hanging ourselves" for the sake of publication. But, I'm also in favor of being honest that parenting is a lot of work, doesn't go as expected and kids are unpredictable.
Yeah, the whole "writing about being a parent" thing is a slippery slope. I've written several nuanced pieces that felt very real to me and resonated with my little audience. But the two parenting pieces I wrote that had the most success were about head lice and maternity clothes (casting myself in the role of Neurotic Freak Mom Lite). They were fine, and I'm proud of the attention they got, but neither piece is my favorite.
See, writing about parenting isn't as simple as just "telling your story." Every story has dozens of angles and threads of narrative, and you choose where to shine the light. Anybody, any one of us, has enough material to spin herself as a "Tiger Mom" or an "I Don't Like My Special Needs Kid" Mom or whatever. And the worse you make yourself look, the more people are going to want to slow down and gawk at the train wreck of your life. In any audience, there will be people who relate to it and feel better, but mostly it's just gawkers and people who (for whatever reason) need a bad mother to vent at.
I can absolutely understand the temptation to tell a sensationalized version of one's story. It can be incredibly cathartic. And the attention has got to be incredibly gratifying. I don't fault moms who've found a way to "sell" their stories, and I don't doubt their sincerity. At the same time, imagine how much more interesting the discourse could be if audiences snapped up nuanced, heartfelt, subtle stories with the same enthusiasm? If mom writers didn't have to paint ourselves as silly or dislikable characters to get readers?