Minion Monday – Sleep
When you’re the parent of a child with special needs you realize that many things become your normal. Things that in that magical time before you had kids, seemed unimaginable. You remember that time right? Think back, you know the things you said you would “never” do. Things like “I will never let my kid eat chicken nuggets and fast food”. Then you become a special needs parent, and you darling child has a sensory disorder. They will not eat anything you go from doctor to doctor, they say failure to thrive, talk about hospitals, feeding therapy. Eventually, you’re doing everything forcing food, purée everything, put it in a bottle, whatever you can do.
Then, one day in your exhausted haze, between feeding therapy and ABA, you go through the dreaded drive-thru and get something for you, and your angel grabs a fry and eats it. No fight, no vomit, just eating.
You cry and then go buy him his own meal, because now you found SOMETHING he will eat! Then he grabs a nugget too! You about faint.. Then you Instagram, Facebook and tweet pictures, call everyone your know, grandma cries too. Your husband stops by the grocery store and buys all the fries in the store, nuggets, and burgers (for good measure). It no longer matters what you would or wouldn’t do before. Now is what matters.
You learn this happens with everything, from food to sleep. Kids (not just special needs kids) have a way of doing this, they strip away the “I will never” attitude. You learn that their wants and needs mean way more than what society thinks you should do. There are a lot of parents who judge in the world, I hear the phrase “mommy wars” often. My kids have taught me a lot. I know the only right way to do things is the way that works for you.
By now you’re probably looking at this and wondering what in heck sleep has to do with any of this, well pretty much nothing and everything at the same time. I am sure you are completely confused now too. Well, here it is, the “I will never”‘s keep you up at night. They seep in and you doubt yourself, your ability as a parent. They start keeping you awake during your already sleepless nights. They make you forget all the good things that come from letting them go. Now the “I will never”’s have changed into you questioning everything you do.
The problem is, they shouldn’t.
They are not any different than when you were a child and saying you want to grow up and be a firetruck. Not going to happen but that never stopped you from dreaming as a kid. That was before you understood how the world works. It is easy to say I want to be this, I want to do that, I will never let this or that happen. Then life happens, you learn it is more than just what you want, or what you think the world should be like.
You have so many factors to include, most of all what your child needs.
I see so many judgmental people out there. I was one of them in that magical time pre-kids. So many Mom’s who say their way is the “right” way. I have been a parent for more of my life than not. Through 5 kids the only thing I will say is there is no right way, there is only the way that works for you. Raise happy kids, healthy kids, kids that love and give. Teach them kindness and most of all teach them to have faith in themselves. Listen when they talk about that video game (really listen and hear their passion, their frustrations, and the joy). Try and understand even if it is just a little. Support their passion and share yours. Take time out of each day and say I love you, and MEAN it. Even when they grow up and move away whisper it at bedtime so you remember too. Hold them when you can, that tweet will be there in 5 minutes, that Facebook page or funny video too. Watch a silly movie, and make something, even if it sucks, because the item means nothing but the time means everything. Never let the never’s seep in and take away the good stuff, because never is a very very long time and things change.
Oh and good thing you didn’t get to be a firetruck, I mean those things guzzle gas, how would you ever afford it?
Have a great Monday!