Friday, October 31, 2008

Relax Mom, Let Your Kid Be a Kid!

While driving home from a counseling session and lunch with some girl friends, I was enjoying the fall scenery and listening to the radio all alone, at the volume I wanted! When you have two daughters with sensory disorders, especially auditory processing, most of the time, the van needs to be a quiet place, free from audio stimulation, much to my own chagrin.

Feeling free and alive, my thoughts took me back to a scene from Finding Nemo.

Remember Marlin, the scared yet determined Daddy to Nemo when he is talking to the Daddy Sea Turtle, Crush? In a panic, wide-eyed and frazzled, as he is in almost every scene, he is worried for Crush's son, Squirt who just fell out of the current into an ocean abyss. Here is how the conversation goes:

MARLIN: [gasps] Oh my goodness!

CRUSH: Whoa. Kill the motor, dude. Let us see what Squirt does flying solo.

SQUIRT: Whoa! Whoa! That was so cool! Hey dad, did you see that? Did you see me? Did you see what I did?

CRUSH: You so totally rock, Squirt! So give me some fin..noggin..


This picture paints the perfect model of my current parenting world. I am Marlin, neurotic, not able to fit in and meeting only friends that aren't quite my type like Dory or the sharks. My daughter, is little Nemo, cute and spunky, with a "Lucky Fin," (a/k/a Autism and ADHD and Mood Disorders) who despite her circumstances is making friends and growing up.

It was like God was speaking to me today on my drive home. He was saying, "Kill the motor."

Remember Nemo's first day of school for Marlin? I still want my little Nemo to go and play in the toddler bouncy area - not travel with the sting ray teacher to the drop off!!! What if she can't swim like the other kids? What if she needs a sensory break?

God is telling me, "Let's see what she does on her own..."

And, so, I will. At least I will try. Good idea God. Thanks for meeting me today and speaking in my language! You rock!


Elizabeth Channel said...

This is good. It's hard to do, but you are right. (Well, God is right!)

Lilly's Life said...

Oh and it takes a little practice too. I recall when my daughter changed schools when she was 8 or so I went up to a line of children and asked them to be her friend because she was new. I was pathetic and embarassed my daughter in the process. Its hard to stand back sometimes.

I have been watching a documentary as they have tracked children from 0-3 and tested their stress levels and self esteem.

I wish I could go through the child raising thing all over as Iw as way too young. Although my daughter sure learnt how to be resilient (with a topsy turvy life)and has a good self esteem for which I am grateful but not entirely responsible for.

There are apparently TWO things that our children must have. A sense of responsibility - they must learn to take responsibility for their decisions and know there is a consequence to every decision and they need to be resilient. So we need to let them 'go it alone' as you say. They need to experience failure and they need to be able to bounce back from that quickly. Sometimes, its not the kids with eveything that are the ones who grow up to be the most balanced adults. In fact those who are overindulged can be so narcissitic they wont be able to function properly.

I think you made a wise decision today as heartbreaking as it is to stand back and be an onlooker to some painful times that your kids will get to experience. Its life and we all need to know how to travel that journey in all its swings and roundabouts. Another brilliant post. I like the way you are thinking! And he so does rock, as you do too!

And by the way, as for not fitting in I know what you mean. But I only think of it this way sometimes superficial friendships are just that. Most people keep it light and never get into anything authentic. In the blogging world we tend to reveal what is really on our mind and its then we finally think - wow there are other people that feel the same way I do. Is a shame we werent all more honest and open face to face. But sometimes its too confronting I guess. We are all different but no-one is of more value than any other. Have a great Halloween!!

PS Sorry for typos, I am writing this as I fly out the door!!

Anne said...

I have to admit, I am much more like Marlin. I think no matter what, you want to protect your children (even from other kids). Thank you for posting this. I am going to try to remember this the next time I feel like trying to fix my daughter's life for her (although I wish I could).

Amy from Texas said...

Isn't that cool when we get God's messages? I need to listen more:-)