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How Closely Do You Watch Your “Typical” Kids? October 4, 2008

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Parenting, special needs.
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It’s 10 pm. Do you know where your children are?

Well, my son is asleep in bed, but my 10 year old daughter is at a sleep-over party. Well, for her, it’s actually a pajama party…since I won’t let her sleep over any friends’ houses. She got there for the pizza party and the movie…can stay for games and hang out in her pjs with her pillow and sleeping bag. But I will be picking her up at midnight so she can sleep safely in her own bed.

I don’t know where this “no-sleep-over” policy of mine came from. My friends think I’m crazy. I can’t help but worry when her safety is out of my hands. Short of home-schooling, I must deal with it during the day, but not at night. It’s enforced across the board, so no one gets hurt feelings. But they think I’m nuts.

Any animals in the house? Guns? Teenage brothers or their friends? Secretly weirdo dads (Hey, you never know …) ? What if there’s a fire…or a break-in?

I feel like I am barely hanging on to my sanity at times, juggling both kids and their needs. Focusing on that so intensely that the needs of my husband and myself rarely make the list.  So, the idea that I could drop a ball and the unthinkable would happen…well, it’s unthinkable.

I have some great friends who are the parents of my daughter’s friends. Often, these parents behave in a way that is so different than I would, that I find their position to be irresponsible and/or dangerous. I can’t tell if its my paranoia or their living a normal life where people just trust that fate will take care of their kids even if they are what I feel is lax in their judgement or supervision.

Do I owe her the most typical childhood I can deliver, including the sleep-over experiences? Am I wrong to deny her this universal rite of passage? Or am I the only sane one?

This afternoon, before leaving my little girl at the party of one of her best friends, I asked the hostess mom how she planned to transport 17 people to the movie theater. Calmly and with a straight face, she replied that they’d likely pile in to 2 SUVs and sit on each other’s laps on bench seats and the seatbelts could reach around 2 kids at a time! OR Maybe she’d make 2 trips each way…leaving one set of kids unsupervised at either the theater or the house for a while!

Needless to say, I stayed. I transported several of the kids I know (my girl scouts) safely to the theater. I sat through Beverly Hills Chihuaha. And I transported them back to the party home. Safely.

It took an unexpected 5 hours out of my afternoon and evening. It took me away from my son. It made me angry.  It made my daughter happy. 

All I could think about while I sat in the theater was how all the other mothers were elsewhere enjoying their evening while I made sure their kids were safe.  Me, the one who ran out looking like death, who has an autistic little boy waiting at home.  And they have no clue that their kids may have been in danger. How is it that I was the only mom who bothered to ask at all?

What would it be like to go through life without obsessively worrying about the safety of your child? And why do I feel like their kids will be fine… but if I blink… unthinkable.

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Comments»

1. J - October 6, 2008

Hi

I’d be the same, if I’d known the kids were going to be transported like that I’d have stayed and helped. It’s amazing none of the other parents checked!

I’ve not go to the sleep over stage yet. I think I’ll allow them but it’s a worry I agree about factors that you don’t know about (teenage brothers, dodgy fathers etc. etc.) in the sleepover house.

J.


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