I know just about every mom falls into this trap but I think it’s especially true of moms of kids with special needs. In an effort to be good mom or, in my case, to encourage whatever bits of successful communication I heard from my little Monkey, we become very responsive…in my case, perhaps a bit…hyper-responsive. I so desperately wanted him to talk for so long that, once he started to talk, I did whatever he asked because OMG! HE ASKED! Then it got to be habit.
I’ve tried to back off. If I do everything he asks he’d never walk down stairs, he’d never put his own socks on, he’d never go to school (we’d just ride the Green Line all day.) Clearly he does all of those things now1 so I have gotten better. I just haven’t quite broken him of his habits…a conversation from this morning.
Scene: I was sitting at the dining room table with a monster cup of tea and my laptop. Monkey was in our living room, just out of sight.
Monkey: Money! C’mere.
Money: … (sipping tea, reading facebook)
Monkey: MONEY! I did it!
Money: What did you do?
Monkey: I did it, I fixed ’em! C’mere!
Money: What did you fix?
Monkey: C’mere, Money!
Monkey: Money! MONEYYYYYYYYYYY!
Money gets up, clearly this is an emergency! She walks to the living room and sees her son sitting on the couch, his eyes glued to his laptop screen, with one hand stretched out toward her holding…his dirty socks. She stands silently, watching him, eyebrows nearly merged with her hairline.
Monkey looks up, grins, hand still out: Take ’em?
No, Money didn’t “take ’em”. I think I still have lots of work to do in this area…
- I do sometimes still carry him down the stairs as a special treat *shh* [↩]