Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ok, so it's not all flowers and rainbows with autism

"Mama, I don't LIKE it!" My JBean wasn't happy. Although this is not that uncommon, it was still a concern. The Nutcracker was coming up, and she was due to perform.

Last year, she was a flower. "I liked being a flower mama. Flowers are graceful, and princess-y. It was a pretty dance." This year, she was a lamb. She is less-than-thrilled.
"I hate the Lamb Dance! It's stupid. The costume is silly, I look like a little kid." I figured reminding her that is indeed what she is? Not so helpful.

Early on, I told her she didn't have to dance if she didn't want to. The Stage Mother? I am the furthest thing from that person. You won't see me pushing my children against their will. I have a theory about extra-curricular activities: if it isn't fun, what's the point? This may be because I was, if not born with two left feet, in possession of them now. Dancing well is hard for me, and I don't have autism. Still, if I were to try to dance, with actual choreography, you would think I was having a seizure of some sort.

I have given her every opportunity to bow out gracefully. She won't be a prima ballerina; she is still in the first-level class. All of her friends have pretty much moved up a level. She just isn't ready. As a parent, my heart hurts just a little bit for her. I worry as she gets older, girls will make fun of her. But she won't quit. She assures me that she wants to dance. And she does. She just doesn't love this dance. Still, she is trying, and that's all we can ask. To me, that in itself is a victory.

This Spring, she again will dance. This time, she will be a rainbow. She will wear a pastel-colored tutu. She wasn't excited about the costume, but she'll get used to it. And I have decided to get her some private lessons to get her "over the hump." I am optimistic that she may improve. She told me she was passionate about her dancing. I guess it is good to be you really have to be good at something to love it?

Now I am looking for a triumph over the fear I have for her. The great, white-hot worry that wakes me at night. I think of the time that is coming, soon, or not-so-soon, when the girls look at her and laugh. When they look at her, whispering behind their hands. When it hits her just how behind she is, and that without 10,000 hours, she just isn't going to get those dance solos that she may be wanting. She will be tried, and found less than adequate. And though we cannot keep our children from pain, it is still a very difficult thing to watch. A lump in my throat and tears pricking my eyes, I wait.

Tina has two left feet and the right attitude, usually. Chocolate helps. She also blogs on Send Chocolate Now. Autism Sucks is her brainchild.
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  1. My heart goes out to you Tina. Sometimes, being the mom sucks.


  2. I think if I had any idea how much I would love my kids, I would have been to afraid to have them.

    We've faced some hard stuff, this is g's first year of High School and I don't think I would have let him go had I known how hard it would be. Yet I know he has got to interact in the world and learn to deal w/ jerks. At least we are close and we can walk through it together.

  3. So sweet my DD, also autistic dances, but she has moved from ballet to street-dance now which requires a bit less finesse!!

    I hope none of the girls ever laugh behind their hand at my beautiful DD, but I suppose it's a fact of life...still they'll have me standing behind them giving them a very Hard Stare if I catch them!!


  4. I believe you got the right mind set about activities having to be fun for the children.

  5. Really beautiful pictures.

  6. I would not force her to give up on dancing if she enjoys it, even if other girls are going to be 36s about it. Everyone has to deal with jerks in their life, and those jerks should not be taken seriously. The problem is, you want her to learn to stand up for herself. You may need to stand up for her in the mean time.


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