Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Close to my heart

I try not to write about people on my blog without their express permission. I guess I never asked Mom if I could write about her, but she knows I do. Dad knows I blog but seemingly doesn't care. He's certainly never asked me about it, or even what I blog about, so thus far, we haven't talked much about it.

I've mentioned in passing that I have two little half sisters. K is a little bird of a blonde 9-year-old, and M is a slightly more apple-shaped, brunette 7-year-old who is the spitting image of me. Both are absolutely as sweet as can be. I love them more than life itself and would do anything for them. They think I hung the moon in the sky.

K came to church with me from the ages of 2-5 but hasn't in recent years, since I went to college and then switched home churches. I decided that it's time to see if she (and M) want to start coming again, so I emailed my dad. I also included a very important second paragraph, which was as follows:

"I also wanted to tell you the biggest reason why I don’t come over more. K is going into 4th grade, and my 4th graders that I student taught asked their teacher why I was weird, what was wrong with me, etc (and that was when I was putting forth every drop of energy I had into acting “normal”). I think kids that age are becoming socially aware and start to notice even slight differences… things that adults just blow off and accept as eccentricity, you know? I’m afraid K will notice and wonder and think I’m weird. I would like to explain to them why I am the way I am, but I don’t know if (stepmom) would like that, because she doesn’t even think Asperger’s is legitimate, and I don’t want to go against you guys’ wishes for your own kids. Not my place. I’d like to explain to them by saying that I have autism, which means some good things (like that I’m obsessed with cats, and that I write really well, and that I’m a good rule follower), but also some bad things (like I get overwhelmed by people and need quiet time and I worry a lot). That’s all. Let them ask questions if they want, but nothing that’s a big deal. Anyway, what do you think? I just would feel more comfortable if I didn’t worry about what they think…"

I called him when I woke up, and he said that while they might notice that I'm different, they won't care and they'll still think I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread simply because I'm their big sister. While I see his point, I don't understand why I can't explain to them why I'm different. Then again, maybe I do. I know that my stepmom doesn't "believe in" mild autism; she thinks that my mom spoiled me and "ruined" me. Don't worry, I don't believe her for a second. Still, I think my dad has listened to her for so long that he also doesn't believe that I have autism (if he even believes that it exists).

I don't know where I'm going with this. Nowhere, I guess. I'm just extremely frustrated at the whole situation...!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lydia.

    It is frustrating, I can imagine!

    I was actually thinking about this before I saw the other post about the myths.

    There are sibling workshops. Even if you can't go to an actual one, the ideas there are very good, if somewhat biased to siblings which are close in age. I'll go through some of the old magazines and studies and see what there is to dredge up!

    There might be a developmental table about 7 and 9 year olds somewhere. Also I have been reading an interesting book called Why it takes ten extra years to grow up.

    I had an interesting talk about ablism in a physical disability context, and because you're an educator (professionally and personally) thought Piaget might have a clue or three. Actually the talk was with a child life student.

    One of the clues is about stable and organised personalities (actually this is Selman). One of the others is about randomness. There is type categorisation, and mutual friendship (but the examples there are 14 and 15, rather than 9 years old).

    I wonder if she knows someone from school or church.

    And as for your stepmother, "Get your junk box out of my Mum's fortress!"

    I'm sure if they're loyal to you, they'll try to understand. And if they have a strong emotional attachment, which it seems like they do. And it depends on how well they understand your motivations and actions, and whether they see you as a nice person.

    And there is a really good link which shows how people slightly older than M learnt to understand.

    How P and A understood and explained: it is a process! The International Bacculereate students were writing a 50-page guidebook as of November 2009.

    And there is a book by a 7-year-old guy named Andrew in New Zealand.

    And, well, continue to share experiences.