A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

fitting in vs blending in

"'Cause I, I once heard

that you gotta learn
how to blend in to this mess
Where nothin's hard
nothin's precious
and nothin's smooth or flawless"

It's never been very easy for me to blend in. Plus, I've never totally wanted to blend in with the rest. I like being different. But I'd like if my difference was my hair color, tattoos (sorry dad), clothes, or even vernacular. Something harmless. I guess I want to fit in, but not blend in. Make sense? It totally does to me. I'm beginning to get a little nervous about putting my atypical kid into a typical school with typical kids. I sat down with Dr. G last week to talk about it and he reminded me of something that I've always been aware of, but I think I'm just starting to really FEEL it. Simply put, it's that everybody's got something. Even the seemingly typical kids have something going on. I know that's true, but it's hard to really feel when I'm busy comparing my insides to someone else's outsides. My fears are that she'll never fit in. She'll never have friends. The only kids who will play with her are the kids of my friends, who won't have the heart to say no to my requests. I'm already there. As a pretty social person, that's tough to see. I recently read somewhere that a woman in the same position decided to stop trying to force play dates with her kid's peers. Rather, she'll just have to make do with those friends who won't refuse. I get it. I don't like it, but I get it. I really do need to work on the social piece. That's the whole point of putting her into this "normal" kid school. The technical term is inclusion (Inclusion is a term used by people with disabilities and other disability rights advocates for the idea that all people should freely, openly and withoutpity accommodate any person with a disability without restrictions or limitations of any kind.) In effort to reduce some of the major, noticeable differences between Little Bird and the "normies" in her inclusion program (by the way, it's ALL typical kids and one kid with sp needs- that's my girl- who will have a shadow, para-professional, advocate, etc), I'm working really hard to get her out of diapers. So, if you don't have kids, you should know that most kids get out of diapers around 2. My kid is 4 1/2. Once again, we're big-time delayed. So, about 10 days ago, we took away diapers. Strictly underwear now. I'd say she's successfully using the potty 75% of the time. Not bad. I'm hoping that we get all the way there soon. The thing is, nothing comes easy with Little Bird. So, I'm trying to keep my expectations in check. After all, I've learned that very hard way that expectations mean nothing and having them is a great way to get disappointed!
Here she is surrounded by her new underwear, which she loves!!
Again, I don't want her to be like all the other kids. After all, that would be boring. But, I don't want her to have to struggle through life and without friends to support her. My prayer and wish for her is to succeed socially in this new school program. I'm really hoping that this time next year I will feel more and more confident in her ability to socialize with other kids; to feel comfortable in her own skin and for me to accept her differences and be ok with them. I'm definitely scared, but that's ok because this is pretty scary stuff.


Anonymous said...
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jillsmo said...

I can really relate to this; there's definitely a difference between fitting and blending.

My mom also comments Anonymously on my blog! Except yours is a lot nicer than mine :)

Varda said...

Coming over from BlogGems.

And I know that feeling of wanting your kid to be loved and accepted without having to change themselves to "fit in". Inclusion is hard, but seclusion is, too. There's no easy answer or one way. Big sigh.

Nice to see some of your history, here. One day when I have some time (fantasy?) I want to stroll through your archives.

kathleen said...

hi-followed over from jens...I understand-I do. Been there..The only thing I can offer is this-3 of my kids are different..I put them in mainstream school. They do have friends, they do socialize (it might be differently) they have great joy in their day to day lives. They know they are different-and yet they feel great confidence in it...Mothering is hard sometimes isn't it? :)

life in a pink fibro said...

Hi Dani, she's a gorgeous girl. Some time has passed since this post and I'm sincerely hoping that things are working out your little girl at school. As you say, every kid has something. All of them.

Chris P-M said...

I've done the same thing...and I still worry myself crazy sometimes. Yesterday an older girl came right up to my daughter and pointed to her nose, saying (to me) "Why does her nose look funny?" I responded by saying "Funny? Not funny...just different. We're all different, aren't we?" Later I asked my daughter how she felt about that comment, and she said "Oh, just normal. That girl was just curious."

I think that sometimes things bother ME more than they bother her. My son will be a different story...we'll see what happens there!

There's a good book by Todd Parr called "It's Okay to be Different," if you ever need a resource for the normies. :)

Happy13 said...

I go back and forth on inclusion for Xander. He's actually very social; however, his quirks confuse some kids. I chaperoned a fieldtrip last year. One of Xander's classmates came up to me and said, "He acts all crazy sometimes but I like him anyway." Most of my friends say the same about me. Hey, I figure as long as kids like him, we're doing good.

@jencull (jen) said...

I never thought about the blending/different idea and it is so true. I must fast forward now on your posts and see how Little Bird got on, both with training and with school. We are waaaaay behind on training too, I amn't even considering it! Jen

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