Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘comments

Comments

with 7 comments

A recent post I wrote got a lot of attention.  I’d dashed it out quickly, before starting work, as part of another blogger’s link-up.  It was a sensitive subject: calling out Ann Coulter’s use of the R-word, and no sooner had I published it than I was bracing myself for the backlash. 

I should have taken longer than a couple of minutes to write that one.  I should have made it even more clear that I don’t have a political agenda, but a personal one to do my best to ensure this is as accepting a world as I can make it for my children. 

And I know how ridiculous that sounds, and that I will never be enough change how people think and speak and treat each other, but I also know that I have to try.  I know that I’m not on my own.  And I know that I’d do anything to prevent my children being called that term.

The number of views on that post kept creeping up, until it far exceeded anything else I wrote.  While I was pleased that so many people were interested in learning about why the R-word is offensive to the special needs community, I thought how strange it is that the most read post about my children is about something that shouldn’t apply to them at all.

I got comments that day, but they were all of a consensus with me.  I couldn’t help but wonder about the ways my piece had been shared, and what other people were thinking and saying about it, but nothing negative came my way.

Another autism site occasionally takes my posts and publishes them for a wider audience.  A few days after publishing my post, they shared it too.  Here, the comments became offensive:  I was a “cry baby”, I should “grow up”, “it is just a word”.  There were supportive comments too, but what really stuck in my head was the person who insisted that I was “using a blog dedicated to handicapped children to score points against a Conservative woman (I) don’t like.”

I made a conscious decision not to respond to any of the comments there, and asked the site to no longer use my posts.  I understand that some welcome debate, and encourage opposing views with the aim of persuading them to their own way of thinking.  In this case, no heed was being paid to what I’d written.  Assumptions were made about me, and what I had to gain from writing, that had nothing to do with the actual words I’d written.  There would be no changing minds here.

But that didn’t mean that I forgot about the accusations made against me.  I was angry and hurt.  I’m offended by a person using the R-word be they a friend or celebrity, politically left or right.  Am I using my children?  I’ve always written this blog with the intention of sharing it with them. 

This is our journey.  We laugh, we love, we grow, we make mistakes, we reflect, and we learn.  If what I write helps other people on their journey, I’m happy for that- but there is no ulterior motive here.  This is simply the way we encounter the world, and how the world encounters us.

And yet those words stayed with me.  They held me hostage.  They made me question what I’d done, and if I should any longer write publicly.  It would be so easy to stop, I have so little time anyway. 

Even when I forced myself to write, just so that I wasn’t allowing someone else to make that decision for me, it didn’t stop the little voice in my head from repeating those things over and over.  Then I got a comment from a new reader:

I’ve begun following your blog and I find it so moving, amusing, and delightful that I decided you needed to know! It seemed fitting to share it under one of my favorite posts. This makes me think of “The Moose” by Elizabeth Bishop, and the play on perspective made my eyes tear up a bit! Though I have no children of my own, your blog makes me feel like I can handle whatever comes my way with grace, compassion, and humor. Thanks

That comment made me question if I’d handled this situation in a way that was true of what she’d said.  Not really.  I’d allowed myself to feel all the weight of negativity without sensing any of the light.  Ignoring all the support and community to focus on a person’s opinion that is far removed from us.  Who not only doesn’t understand, but won’t try to. 

And if I stopped writing for any reason other than it was the right time for me and my family, I wouldn’t be living life on my terms.  I thought about what I would want my children to do if they were attacked in a similar way, and found my own example severely lacking. 

When I think about how I want them to handle whatever comes their way, I want it to be with grace, compassion, and humour.  Do I want this reader to be right about me, or a harsh critic?

And what if, what if one day somebody were to call Pudding the R-word?  Would I want her to feel held up by the way we see her, or weighed down by one offensive word? 

Thank you to the lady who wrote that comment just when I needed it.  Thank you to each and every one of you who take the time to read, and particularly those who comment.  I don’t always have time to respond to them these days, but I am going to make sure that I pay attention to what you say.  That I really feel your words, and give those the weight that they deserve.  

Maybe then I’ll handle things that come my way with the grace, compassion, and humour that we’re all capable of.

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

Instant Coffee Karma

with 15 comments

A photo of a cup of coffee.

Image via Wikipedia

Guest post by Spectrummy Daddy

Spectrummy Mummy likes to joke that I have permanent foot-in-mouth disease.  It seems that I have a knack of making comments at exactly the wrong time, and usually I don’t even realize I’ve done it.  I’ve decided to tell you one of those times, and how it has now paid me back.

The day before we discovered Pudding was on the way, my longest-serving friend, Chandler (not his real name), and his wife, Joanie (or hers), were in town visiting Spectrummy Mummy and I before we left for Luxembourg.  Now, to understand something, Chandler and I think a lot alike.  We used to get in trouble all the time in classes we had together.  In fact, in one class, the teacher was so sick of it, he moved Chandler to the other side of the room, and we still got in trouble because we’d exchange a look and just laugh.  With this in mind, picture the 4 of us as we’ve just gone to a Caribou Coffee after a cold time in front of the White House taking photos.

Joanie and Spectrummy Mummy went to find a table while Chandler and I went for coffee.  Chandler likes his coffee a lot.  We order, wait to get our coffees, and head to find our lovely wives.  As we sit down, and with Chandler’s love of coffee in mind, I ask him a simple question: “You’re not going to be one of those parents that let their kids drink coffee, are you?”

Joanie and SM look at me aghast, and Chandler just looks confused at their horror.  To both of us, it seemed like a perfectly normal question.  All of this took place in exactly 2 seconds, as I glanced to SM’s right.  There sits a little 4-year-old drinking coffee, and his father has just heard what I said.  I quickly add: “Cause that would be awesome,” hoping this will assuage the gentleman.  He looks at me, and says kindheartedly, “Well, you’ve got to teach them to drink the good stuff early, right?”  SM and Joanie are just embarrassed, and Chandler is still trying to figure out what was going on.  I vowed right then and there two things: 1) I would always look around when making judgmental pronouncements, and 2) I would never be that guy whose kid drinks coffee at coffee shops.

As Spectrummy Mummy’s post the other day showed, my kids are intimately familiar with the symbol for Starbucks, and they like to talk about “getting a coffee.”  They don’t drink coffee, but it sure looks like they do when they have milk in a Starbucks cup.  Maybe that kid long ago was just drinking milk, and I was being a pretentious jerk.  All I know is that we get those looks of disdain when my kids talk about getting coffee, and I always think back to that day.  I think about the looks I get from other parents when my kids act up, and I remember I was a bit judgmental as well.  I also remember the look of understanding from the father, and I try very hard to be as cool as he was that day.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

April 25, 2011 at 6:51 am

School’s Out

with 6 comments

Pudding had her last day of the summer session of preschool yesterday.  Two of her classmates graduated up to Kindergarten.  There was a ceremony and a party, and as always with us there is a story.  That story will have to wait though, as I’m back in the trenches full time with my hyperactive pair.  So, no new post today.  That one can wait until Monday.

I’m aware that since Pudding’s diagnosis, many of you have questions that you haven’t broached for fear of upsetting us.  Today I’d like you to ask those questions in the comments.  Obviously I’m no expert on Asperger’s, but I do consider myself the world’s expert on Pudding, so I’ll try to answer where I can.  Feel free to remain anonymous if you prefer.  If the answer requires a longer explanation, I’ll turn it into a post.

I’ve also added a rating system to my posts.  I’d appreciate it if you could go back to your favourite ones and let me know.  I’m interested in what you like to read about.

Okay, back to Pudding and Cubby.  I have a l-o-n-g day ahead of me!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 13, 2010 at 7:31 am