Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Is Your Son Really That Difficult?"

Shannon Des Roches Rosa

[mb] Vertical Blinds 3
Photo © Merrick Brown
at Flickr
"Is Your Son Really That Difficult?"

That's what the well-meaning blinds salesperson who just left my house asked me, after I told her I was leery of installing vertical blinds in our family room -- mostly because I was worried Leo would love them to pieces, quite literally.

I launched into kind-but-firm on-the-spot advocacy and acceptance mode. I didn't cry (something I might have done in the past) or get strident (something I am still working on). Instead, I smiled to show how much I love my son, and let her know that she was misunderstanding my concerns.

I told her that I wouldn't call my son difficult, but that his autism means he sometimes has difficulty reining in his impulses. So even if we asked him to please not wrap himself up in or set in motion a great big set of swinging, clanking, flapping blinds, he might not be able to resist. He would likely see them, as he does in most doctors' offices, as more fun than any plaything on this planet. And he might pull them all down, in his enthusiasm.

It's not that Leo is difficult -- it's that I know what can be difficult for him. Why would I put him in a challenging situation, when it can be avoided?

But as we also like to give him opportunities to prove himself, we will probably get one tiny trial section of vertical blinds for now. His ever-increasing maturity may mean that blinds-play has become passé. (Also, we have to do something, as all our floors and bookshelves and furniture are getting bleached to hell.)

The salesperson seemed to get it. She nodded, and said that what I told her made sense because "we all make allowances for each other, especially as parents." Indeed.

I wish more people were so easy to reach.

Previously published at