Also known as CONVERSATIONS I REALLY DON’T WANT TO HAVE…
Parenting has been hella hard this week.
We’re pretty easy going. Our style is to encourage our kids to be respectful, to be generous and to be kind. We talk openly with our kids about periods, penises, and current affairs. If they ask, we shape the parenting conversation as best we can to be straight up but also find examples and understanding that fits for their age.
But there have been conversations this week that have completely challenged us as parents. ALL the hard ones rolled up in one frickin frackin day.
The first was with our daughter and involved the current protest of parents of the new TDSB Sex education curriculum. She asked us why there were so many kids missing from her class. After darting a look at my husband to check in that we were on the same page, I explained that some people didn’t like the kind of stuff they would be learning about in class about health and sex. Let’s just say it like it is right?
I asked her if they had ever discussed different kinds of families, how a mommy & daddy aren’t always the norm? She said sure and comfortably went on to talk about a book about a mom & a dad, or 2 moms or 2 dads. I explained what the terms of like homosexuality and being gay meant, and to us as long as there is love in a family, that’s all that ever counts. OK…that wasn’t so hard.
We then talked about the fact that the curriculum brings an earlier introduction into the health conversation about puberty. Once I explained puberty (really? today we have this talk?) I also told her we thought that talking about this is 100% necessary. We talked about when I was growing up, the average age for a girl to get her period was 14-15. How that average now sits at 12 and girls are getting their periods as early as 8 (WTH??) . (The fact that my 7 year old could be starting to go through this next year AND the fact that with a period comes the possibility to conceive completely ….blows…my mind ). This is a natural evolution in society. For us the open dialogue is crucial especially when the internet can provide so many WRONG versions of the pieces of information we want them to explore. We want to prepare our kids for what comes next and be the ones guiding those topics.
This conversation has elicited many more this week and by Tuesday night I have hit my wine quota for the week already.
MY daughter also thinks they should become YouTubers. How do you have sex talks with innocence like this?
So….those were tough. And just as I was patting myself on the back for handling those well, my husband looked at me and says “I think its time we tell our son he has Autism”.
This particular conversation for us has been circling for awhile now. As much as Autism demonstrates kids often being unaware, we were starting to notice all too much just HOW aware our guy was becoming that he is different. We have had too many moments on the playground. We have seen him question a ton why something he had said made kids laugh so hard or why he kept getting into trouble for daydreaming. It was time and we wanted to arm him with the tools of understanding so that his beautiful generous heart doesn’t continue getting crushed.
We have a pattern. We talk for awhile, we circle around a topic and then BOOM! one day we just go off and get ‘er done. We did that in buying a house, in buying a car, in going skydiving, in going on trips and apparently in telling our kid he has something that will be with him for his lifetime.
He is doing so incredibly well at school with an amazing supportive tech-savvy teacher. We have supported him as best we could, made him feel loved and deeply cared for, and given him comfort and confidence to have a strong sense of self. But this was massive. It was like standing at the dock right before a polar bear swim. You know its going to be awful, (to make that leap) but you also know it will feel great on the other side.
And so we leapt.
And as much as life is always like that, it was done. All that angst, and worry and late night conversations about how and BOOM! there it was.
It wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t as bad as we thought and to the wise words that many an Autism mom has shared, in many ways was a big relief.
There are still 1,000 conversations for us to have but my lesson is that the first step is always the hardest. We have finally started down this path in the right direction. I just didn’t realize this route would start with such a tough mother f*cker.