My husband and I have almost nothing in common. I’m Ernie, he’s Bert. I’m arty, he’s analytical. I’m a vegetarian, he loves nothing more than a good burger. I like adventure vacations, he prefers lying on the beach. I find religion fascinating, he thinks it’s all bullshit. We disagree on ice cream flavors, room temperatures, bed sheet materials, laundry detergents.
We’ve been married for nine years. And it’s taken me nearly that long to truly appreciate how helpful it can be to live with someone with a completely different take on… everything.
This is especially true of our approaches to parenting. As the full-time caregiver I tend to get into routines with Ryan, and when a behavioral challenge arises I’m slow to figure out how to change it. That’s when Stu steps in. He analyzes the situation in a more detailed way than I would, scientifically tests possible fixes, and (often) formulates a solution we can both implement.
For example, after careful study, Stu has figured out a simple way to stop a freak-out from devolving into a full-on tantrum: he makes Ryan stand up. When the freak-out starts, Stu will get on his knees and tell Ryan to stand up, and he’ll hug him and talk to him but won’t let him sit on the floor. The act of staying upright, Stu has determined, takes just enough effort that it distracts Ryan a little and therefore keeps him from totally melting down. So simple. And I never would have thought of it.
This is the beauty of neurodiversity: our minds work differently, and sometimes in ways that are complementary.