Take my advice…
Recently a reader thanked me for my advice. You’d think that it would have made me happy. Instead, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I didn’t mean to give advice! I wanted to hit the delete button, but it was too late. I’ve been trying to tell you about my experiences, and my feelings, but I’ve inadvertently been doling out advice at the same time. I don’t intend to. I do this in real life all the time. A friend wants to talk about their problem and before I know it I’m telling them what to do and how to fix it. It is like ordering a burger and getting gherkins on it when you just can’t stomach pickles (unless you’re pregnant). It is annoying, and perhaps even insulting. What makes me feel the need to do that? Like I have everything figured out, and you just weren’t smart enough to do it yourself? Sorry.
It is worth repeating, sorry. I don’t have everything figured out at all. I don’t have all the answers, I haven’t even finished asking all the questions. Even when I find a strategy that works with Pudding, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it will work or her brother, nor any other child on the spectrum. In fact sometimes that successful strategy won’t work with her on a different occasion. I might even change my mind about how to approach a situation. I sometimes smile when people suggest that I’m the expert on my children. Not even. I imagine I’ll go the rest of my life trying to figure them out, and I shan’t be surprised if I die trying! The value in reading my approach to problems might be better as a cautionary tale.
I do like to help people, though I just might go a little far in that. Sometimes somebody references a situation that sounds exactly like something I’ve experienced, and I think that sharing my take will help. We’re all different though, and what seems so familiar to me might have entirely different dynamics going on. My brain accepts this, but my mouth (or typing fingers!) seem to work independently.
When you learn your child has special needs, it makes you incredibly vulnerable. Other people seem to have things figured out, hold information you desperately seek. I’m still seeking. I’m the one who needs advice, I definitely need to stop dishing it out! My coordinator at Early Intervention described me as a “veteran” because we went through the process with Pudding, and navigating it with Cubby is easier. Yet they are different kids, with different needs, and perhaps a different diagnosis at some point. Really I’m just a rookie in all this. I’m on the other side. I live for your advice. If anyone else has dealt with kids in any way like my pair, I have to know your secrets! I’m grateful to my bunch of fellow mama bloggers who are true veterans, able to share their stories without a side of something else. They share what they learned in the trenches, making it easier for the next set of troops. I find that when I ask for advice, they are the best to turn to. I need to adopt a little more finesse, just like they do.
Until then, because I absolutely can’t help myself: here is one last piece of advice I want to give you from my favourite TV Aspie, Sheldon Cooper:
Sheldon: Would you like some advice?
Leonard: Sure, why not?
Sheldon: Well, then this is the perfect time to start a blog with an interactive comments section.
“The Hofstadter Isotope.” The Big Bang Theory 13 April 2009 (Season 2, Episode 20)