I apologize for us neglecting the blog. Spring break and summer are busy times for MommaDe and I. But something happened recently, and this Mommy is perseverating on it when she knows she shouldn't.
A few entries back I wrote two blogs about being judged by a non-parent with no educational background. Well, it's happened again, and the guilty party is the mother of three neurotypical children. Her husband and the children's father is an educator.
It all started over a week ago when I decided to start a second fundraiser to raise money to get a new iPad for Destructo (the first fundraiser was in 2012). The charging port went on his old one, it's out of warranty, fixing it is expensive and only warrantied for 30 days. That didn't seem like a wise expense to me since I had the same problem with it last year before the service plan expired. So I set up a small $1000 fundraiser. Because, honestly, what seems a more logical use of money: $300 to repair it which is only warrantied for 30 days or $1000 to buy a replacement with an updated charging port that isn't likely to have the same problem with a three year accidental coverage service plan?
I posted the link of the fundraiser to my Facebook, then the Facebook drama began. Without mentioning names this mother wrote a little rant about how I shouldn't be begging for something my son wants, because an iPad is a want and not a need. That I should listen to people and get it fixed. Without getting mad I did my best to inform her that this is a need for my child. He was just starting to properly use a text to speech app. It has helped him with his fine motor skills. It is teaching him how to read. I also told a little bit about my son in my reply to her posting, for the benefit of those who don't know my child. If anyone had any questions that I would be happy to answer them. I also said that I knew she was a good mother blessed with normal healthy children.
I don't remember the whole posting, but among her retorts, I was told that I should go out and get a job because it was a good lesson for my kids (because oh, she had been there) and that no one told me to have another child (which is keeping me from working). That my son gets free food, free school, and free insurance and that I shouldn't be begging for money for this WANT. Also, that one of her children is in speech therapy due to a lip or tongue tie.
No one told you to go and have another child. This would be referring to Destructo's little sister, Jellybean. She's now 16 months old, and I'm happy to report, seems pretty neurotypical. She's also been breastfed from birth and hasn't weaned yet. So no money spent on formula. And almost next to nothing spent on jarred baby food because she refused almost all of it, preferring to eat whatever Mommy's eating. Is she keeping me from working? Partially. Why Destructo Daddy and I decided to have another child is no one's business. Implying that we shouldn't have given Destructo a little sister because we don't have the money is pretty fascist--this woman even said she is tired of people playing the system.
Yes, I'm a stay at home mother. I quit my low paying retail job when Destructo was just a few months old. He needed me more than that big box retailer needed me stocking shelves. Any parent of a special needs child will tell you that taking care of a special needs child is a full time job. Destructo's first three years were full of doctor's appointments and Early Intervention therapies. So full to the point that I had to use an electronic calendar to keep everything straight. As he got older there were less doctor's appointments and he transitioned out of EI and into a special needs preschool. Unless he gets a normal childhood ailment, his doctor's appointments are down to three per year: his gastroenterologist, his developmental pediatrician, and his normal pediatrician. You should see the piles of his medical and educational records. I'm thinking of switching from a filing system to a binder system because there is that much of it.
Free school, free food, free insurance. Destructo is classified by our school district as a Preschooler With a Disability and a physician's diagnosis of Autism, therefore, the school district would be paying for his education anyway, regardless of our income level. Free food? Yes, we receive WIC and enough food stamps to by one week's worth of groceries. But that is the only social services we receive other than our state supplied healthcare. But you know what my son eats? Tyson dinosaur chicken nuggets, wheat toast, french fries, potato chips and some other assorted junk. He's allergic to dairy and soy and likely needs more intensive feeding therapy than he is already receiving, which leads into why I have to fight for insurance to cover his enteral formula. Which, by the way, costs $200 per week. Imagine if we had to pay that out of pocket and without insurance. Even with that, he's hovering just at the 45th percentile for weight.
One of her children--the one who is nearly the same age as Destructo--is in speech therapy. For a physical difference that can be corrected by surgery (that I know may need to be repeated). Hey, she's getting her child the help that he needs. That's good. But it doesn't compare to my child. Destructo can read on and possibly above a kindergarten level but socially, linguistically, and emotionally he is closer to a two year old. I've seen pictures of her child riding a quad. Destructo struggles to pedal a bicycle with training wheels, and that's if he's not getting distracted by the wheels turning, he gets so excited he wants to stop and watch the wheels turn (it's one of his stims). I'm pretty sure she can hold a conversation with her child based on both parents' amusing social media postings. Destructo is nearly five years old and his progress has been amazing--but we still struggle to communicate certain things. Destructo communicates mostly through scripting, whether it is copied from something he saw on TV or a social story he is taught at school. Yet, if I ask him if something hurts or how he feels, he just stares at me blankly.
Stop using his autism as an excuse for everything. Well, that sounds familiar. Sounds a lot like the last person who attacked my parenting. The kicker is, these two people know each other. Because that judgmental asshole I blogged about months ago is one of her husband's best friends. The educator husband, naturally, has remained publicly quiet. I don't blame him. I know you can't choose sides against your spouse and I would never expect someone to do that. But I hope he can at least educate her a little more on how the school system works in regards to special needs children. The rest of the fall out? A few "mutual friends" removed me from their lists. They were closer to acquaintances anyway, but it makes me worry for other people in that particular social circle. If anyone in that group has a special needs child, will they be shunned by the parents of the neurotypical children?
Coming soon...a blog entry on why my son needs an iPad, and how how he has been affected the past few weeks by not having one.
--High Functioning Mommy