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Welcome to Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid

Therapy and sanity for ordinary parents of special kids.

Tag Archives | autism

Ready or Not, Here I Go

by Imperfect Patty

Summer vacation is in full swing. Many parents (i.e., those on medication) enjoy this valuable opportunity to spend quality time with their children, get assistance around the house, and sleep in.  Sadly, though, these benefits come at a very high cost; the cost of losing something that is essential to our very survival – our privacy. Yup for eight grueling weeks, we have to conduct our daily activities knowing our children are among us (sound bite: “They’re baaaaaaack!”).

Now, at the table where we used to quietly sip coffee and peruse the morning paper, we have to block out the snap, crackle, pop of our children gnawing on cereal.  At the desks where we used to quietly crank out our work and freely complain about our children on Facebook, we have them lurking over our shoulders, censoring our posts. “Don’t write that! You’re so embarrassing.”

Fortunately, we have uncovered a few proven, cost-effective, and simple ways to take back the privacy we so deserve. And because we’ve become so attached to all of the folks in our imperfect community, we’ve decided to share them with you and proudly present… (drumroll please)

The Ten Best Places to Hide (from your Children)

1)    The walk-in closet. A walk-in closet is not just ideal for pretending your house is clean for company (by throwing everything in it). It’s also a great way to hide from your children. We especially like the ones with shelves that allow you to store essential items – pens, paper, trail mix, a box of wine, etc. If you don’t have a walk-in closet, consider moving to a house that has one or marrying someone who can build you one. If your current spouse has that capability, renew your vows with him.

2)    A walk-in freezer. Sure it’s great to have extra storage for slabs of meat, but you may be surprised to learn that a walk-in freezer is actually a nice respite for parents. Just be sure to make sure you don’t lock yourself in (Brady Bunch fans know how scary that can be).

3)   The Shrubs. Those overgrown shrubs you’ve been concerned about trimming are an actual asset to your home. In fact, some shrubs (like a healthy rhodendrum, for example), can comfortably accommodate up to two full-size parents.

4)    A tree house. Who says tree houses are just for Keebler elves? Consider taking over your children’s tree house and asking other neighbors to join you for your own hide-from-the-kids club?

5)    Pools. If you have a pool, consider taking scuba diving lessons and spending quality time underwater. Be sure to buy an extra large oxygen tank.

6)    The kitchen table. Most kitchen tables provide ample room for you to hide. Avoid purchasing glass tables at all costs. You’ll have a lot more to worry about than just fingermarks.

7)    Your neighbor’s house. It is critical that you select a neighbor who is safe. By safe we mean, he or she:  1) doesn’t have children or plan to have any in the future; 2) will not pass judgment on you or what you may bring over with you; and 3) has no problem openly lying to helpless children (or husbands).

8)    Your car. Today’s automobiles are constructed with space efficiency in mind, which should provide you with plenty of room to conceal yourself. If your car is in the garage, make sure it is not on. This is particularly important if you own a Toyota.

9)    The oven. And you thought that double oven was for cooking. Surprise. It’s for you!

10)  Fireplace. Santa didn’t choose the fireplace just for convenience. No, he wanted to avoid seeing children. A fireplace is an ideal place to hide, provided of course, that the fire is not lit.

We also advise to avoid wearing heavy perfumes for the summer. While that Jean Nate or Old Spice may make you feel fresh; it actually emits a strong detection signal to your children.

These are just a few tips that have been successful for us.  Remember though, every house is unique and offers its own little charm (or hiding place).  For example, that Lazy Susan can actually fit a Susan. And that hideaway bed isn’t just for sleepovers.

Just be sure to enjoy your time away.  Remember that parenthood is a life sentence and that every  parent deserves a (prison) break for good behavior.

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If you can’t stand the heat…

Get your kids to make friends with some kid with a pool.

Blog by Gina (the smarter Shut Up sister)

The mercury is rising. And it’s not just from the normal stuff in my household like receiving bad news calls from the school or frequent eye rolls from my teenager. This time, it’s due to a more traditional reason – we’re having a full-fledged New England heatwave. And there’s just something about a house with six skylights, no air conditioning, and two fighting special needs children that makes me cranky. I have no energy to cook, clean, or balance my checkbook, though my husband has assured me that this is  all quite normal.

“Gene, you don’t do any of that in optimal weather conditions.”

The most difficult part of managing the heat is dealing with that burning question my children pose to me year after year, day after day, nanosecond after nanosecond:

“Mooooooooooooooooom, can we pllllllllllllllllllease get a pool?”

Given the economic conditions and rising costs of pharmaceuticals and co-pays (our family’s biggest expenses), the prospect of my family getting a pool is weak at best. In fact, I’m pretty sure my kids  (“Mom! Help! We’re out of popsicles!!!! What do I do?”) have a better chance of winning Survivor than getting a pool.  I actually feel guilty telling them that because…well… I always had a pool as a kid and I loved every second of it.  I’m pretty sure I spent my first 12 years underwater.  (“Mom, I didn’t hear you calling me to do chores. I was in the pool.”)

In extreme weather conditions like this, even I sometimes find myself asking for one. “Mike, can we get a pool? Please, please, I promise I’ll clean our room.” But than my husband reminds me of one important fact – we’re not smart enough to own a pool. You see, chemistry was never one of our better subjects, which is why we didn’t do so well with one of those small inflatable soft pools we tried several years ago.

“Gene, do you think the water is supposed to be black?”

“I’m not sure, Mike, but I’m pretty sure a pool this size isn’t supposed to have a 9-foot deep end.”

Sure, we’ve tried to make it up to our kids by taking them to the beach or joining community pools. We’ve even encouraged them to proactively find their own solutions. “OK kids, I’ve mapped out all of the houses of kids with pools. Go friend them.”

But anyone who has a pool knows that it’s just not the same.  There’s nothing about doing a cannonball  (or in my case, hiding in a bathing suit) in your own back yard.

But if my children’s  disabilities have taught them anything, it’s how to be resilient. I was particularly proud of my 11-year-old daughter with non-verbal learning disability today when I picked her up after the first day of camp. With her difficulty understanding the nuances of communication, I have often worried that she didn’t fully understand our stance on getting a pool. But today, I realized she gets the message, loud and clear.

“Mom, I met this new girl at camp.  She has a pool and a hot tub with a cabana. Yeah, yeah, don’t worry. I’m working on hooking up with her.”

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