We got a last minute invitation to a toddler birthday party last week. I didn’t have time to come up with an excuse not to go. Even if I had time I wouldn’t have been able to find one without looking lazy or mean spirited.
The thing is I didn’t have time to prepare myself. Forget social stories for the autistic child, forget preparation and easing him in slowly and gently. I need that too!
It is 11 months since HRH was diagnosed with autism. I, mostly, know what he will do at these kind of occasions and he did exactly what I would have expected him to do, he did better in fact. He did try to join in with the play after a while, but without words he was just standing there smiling at the children and didn’t know how to go further. He ran off before I could help him, but still, I am pleased that he showed some interest.
Me? I didn’t do too well. I felt like I was looking at the other mothers through a sheet of glass. Or maybe a one way mirror with an identity crisis.
I asked for the pass the parcel to stop at HRH. I could say I was being noble, taking advantage of the situation to teach him something. After all, if he practices pass the parcel enough he will learn about it. But there was nothing noble about it. I wanted to see, for just a minute if I could be like those lovely ladies. I didn’t want HRH to be neurotypical for that moment , I wanted me to be ‘not a special needs mum’! I was so desperate for this that I even told the other Mums it was for me, not for HRH.
It didn’t work, of course it didn’t work. But then I didn’t know what to say or how to join in with their normal chatter. They were talking about things that are difficult for me. They tossed around foreign holidays and nights out like it was…………..well, like it was easy to do those things! The foreign holidays thing really brought it home because they were talking about a lot of money and, I couldn’t help myself, I thought of all the occupational and speech therapy that would get HRH. I could go on a holiday like that if I wanted to, but I have no interest. I would genuinely rather spend the money on HRH, really, I would!
I could see and hear them talking, I just couldn’t join in, much like the difficulty I imagine HRH feels. These lovely Mums live in such a different world to what my world has become.
When did my world get so small?
*photo credit google images