No Apologies

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I went to a birthday party last weekend. The funny thing I have learned about kids and birthday parties is that if you invite 20 people, 10 will come. If you invite 30, you’ll get 15. For some reason, having lots of kids at these little shindigs is what defines them as a success, which is why people invite me! I’ve often said that my little entourage is an instant birthday party! Just add cake.

When I show up, I’ve got eight or nine kids in tow, so if you need someone to run around and chase you with silly string, text me. I’m your go-to girl. This particular party was at the home of one of my newer friends. I’ve known her fiance for a long time, since his first marriage. I guess we won him in the divorce, or maybe he won us- I’m not sure. Anyway, now he’s got a new love, and this time it’s a much more pleasant situation. I’d say he upgraded. So they’ve had several gatherings in the past couple of years and I’m starting to get to know her regular crowd. There were plenty of kids there. They were all running around and having a great time.

Something was going on with water balloons, a bouncy house, I don’t fully understand that whole story, but a mother was inside talking to us and she said “well he’s autistic” and I was struck by her words. She didn’t need to apologize for him. To me, he seemed like a fabulous kid. I thought, dang, what world is this where we have to offer up a disclaimer for our kids?!  Like I said, I come with a crowd of kids, and believe me, we have a few diagnosis among us. We’ve got two that have genuine mood disorders, we have ADD, OCD, ADHD, ODD, and it is highly possible that we’ve even contracted SRC.

You haven’t heard of SRC? Well, let me tell you this. It takes a toll on the family. It’s really no way for a kid to get through life. So far there are no medications to manage this syndrome and it seems to definitely be influenced by what the parents have passed on. If you’re truly interested in how to deal with SRC, just go to google and type: SPOILED ROTTEN CHILD.  There’s a ton of information floating around out there.
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All kidding aside, I wanted to tell her, “no big deal” because I don’t sweat things like that. I love a kid who has some challenges ahead of him and still manages to eat the cake with the rest of us. Why do kids need to come from cookie cutter molds? They don’t all have to act the same or be the same. I tell my kids all the time ADHD is not your problem, it’s your gift! I know autism isn’t the same as ADHD, but still, I believe each child has a gift. Some gifts are wrapped up with bright pink bows that sparkle so bright you can’t miss them, and some gifts have to be fished for like a needle in a haystack, but in the end, every child has a gift. I have another really close friend and I babysat her kids when they were little. She had one little wild child son that drove her up the wall and he was my absolute favorite. Yes, it was nerve-racking when he put Sharpie on the white rug or when he took a ride on the antique carved horse, but he made me laugh every single day. He always had something silly to say or some funny face to make and I was never bored around him because I knew he’d keep me on my toes. And does everything have to be because of ADHD or OCD or is it ever just “little boys gone wild?” That’s what it used to be… kids being kids!

I’ve worked with so many special needs kids over the years, and sometimes they really break your heart wide open with their simple humanity but back to the party- I thought this mom might have worried that we would look down on her son, and I wanted to tell her that was the furthest thing from my thoughts, but the moment passed and I didn’t say anything. I was distracted by the granddaughter who needed a little patting to fall asleep and the party kept on going.

It didn’t take long for one of mine to hit overload. Like I said, I have two with mood disorder, and these two tend to set each other off. The hardest part of my life is playing referee in this very delicate balance of personalities. One of them spouted off some ugly words, and I sent Daddy to deal with it, which in turn sent one of them “running away” (back home of course).

Lucky for him, his big brother rescued him with a safe ride home, and I decided to give very little attention to the situation- which raised a lot of quizzical eyebrows.

People look at me a lot and wonder what the heck I’m doing. They second guess me, send me advice, or trade stories about the stuff going on in my life, but they aren’t the keepers of my ZooCrew. I’m the only one who can decide when to ignore the madness and when to step-in and settle the fights. I just think it would be nice if we’d all stop staring at each other with those “oh my God look at that kid” eyes and just eat the darn cake together! Maybe that’s why children were seen and not heard back in the old days, the mama’s were ignoring the water balloon fiascoes and just eating the cake!

******** #18 *******

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