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SAHM of 3 wonderful kids, one brilliant one Asperger Syndrome. This is not a living shrine to his disorder, but rather a place to share & discuss the different challenges that came with it and other things about parenting & life in general.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Parenthood finale

Note: This post was deleted when blogger went off line for a day so here is my little note on the finale.

Parenthood finale left me speechless for all the wrong reasons.
When it aired the first time, I was ecstatic about having a character with aspergers being featured in a network prime time show.  I was happy it was being mentioned, it was being recognized, and we, the parents, were being acknowledged in a small way.
Then the inevitable disappointment. 
In the finale, Max, the character diagnosed with Aspergers while waiting in the hospital, threw a tantrum because he wanted to do something.  Then he did the same with his father when his father wanted to ask him about where he lost the retainer. In the end, he apologized for his behavior and announced he had aspergers.
Admittedly, my expectations were high from the beginning and I wasn't expecting the show to centered around the disorder.  But the way the creators decided to portray him was completely off. They tried to show Max having a sort of meltdown, but he just came off as a spoiled, self-centered child in bad need of discipline. His character seemed too robotic and one dimensional.
I wish my son was able to communicate his wants and his feelings so verbally and effectively. I can't even get him off his topic and even if I could, he would repeat what I have said instead of his own opinions.  Announcing he had aspergers? Apologizing for what he has done wrong? Asking if his mom was mad at him because he had aspergers?
Don't they have consultants?  A test group perhaps?
Using a caricature to represent a disorder is just pandering for ratings and doing great injustice all of us affected by it. 
They haven't said if this was going to be renewed for the next season, if it is, I hope they do their research, but I'm sure not going to watch to find out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stress, What stress?

Yes, I've been MIA for a while. My little opinion on parenthood finale was written as soon as I watched it. I had to mull over it a little while before publishing anything negative. It is so hard being positive. Sometimes, you just need to let out steam.  But how?

“When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.” - Thomas Jefferson

Everyone deals with stress a little differently. Some take baths, do yoga, listen to music,take a walk, read a book, or watch TV.  I, on the other hand, found myself yelling at the kids. Yes, my voice climbed an octave that I've never imagined I could reach. I only realized I was performing a screeching aria when my lovely sister gave me a gentle nudge via twitter, "What the hell is wrong with you?." And we were in the same room.
The inevitable regret came almost immediately and of course, the awkward silence. I didn’t dwell on it, and I went on as if nothing happened.  This was something I learned from Will.
The other day, I had one of those repetitive conversations before he walked out the door. I sounded mean. I'm only human. One can only repeat it so many times before wanting to pull out all my hair. He went to school as usual, but I sat there with such icky feeling and a bad taste in my mouth. I worried that I ruined his day. My sister walked in and told me that he was walking toward the bus stop in a good mood. It was remarkable.

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” - William Shakespeare

Expectations from myself and expectations for my son. I know he is smart and capable, but when he brings home poor grades, I'm devastated. I know it's not the end of the world, but for that split second it feels like it. I have expectations that I set for myself and sometimes need to let them go. I have to admit to myself that I can't do everything that I expect myself to do all the time. When I remember these things, life is a little less tense.

“Where Ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” - Thomas Gray

Denial. It comes in very handy at times. Deny there is a problem, deny you have a long list of things to do, and laugh about it because reality isn’t that faraway. It sounds crazy, but it works. It sure beats crying about it.
So there it is.  Three simple things that can keep me from my own meltdowns. Keep my mouth shut when I'm angry, lower my expectations, and laugh about it.  It is easier said then done. I can only try.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Power of using Ands instead of Buts

Will's condition has lead to me to read a lot of interesting self-help books. Topics like reading body language, non-verbal communication, speaking effectively, and how to win people over. I didn't realize there were so many of them out there. I managed to skim through many of those and found one thing in common.

Many of the authors pointed to the misuse of the word "But." They said to use "And" instead "But" because "But" negates what you were intending to say. I didn't realize how true it was until I looked back at what I use to say to Will.

For example, this was how I used to speak to him regarding his grades

"It's great that you got 5 As this quarter, but what is this "C"?"
 It started out like a compliment, but it wasn't. 

Instead I could have said was, "It's great that you got 5As this quarter and maybe we can try to put more effort on this one next time."

I have realized it is hard to avoid the word entirely and I found that when I reduced the use of it, my words became out more positive to the person hearing them.  Thanks to Will, I am learning new things everyday.