Search for funny memes, quotes and cartoons about parenting and you’ll be inundated with an expanse of choice. Type in ‘funny autism parenting memes’ and the selection is somewhat depressing.
Autism isn’t funny, some of you might be thinking. Autism parenting is really hard and shouldn’t be laughed at. Well…this is where I obviously differ. Finding humour can make things feel more normal. It’s important for me to find humour in all aspects of my parenting. I don’t discriminate between my children – they’re both equally irritating.
I don’t see my son’s autism as bad thing, nor do I see it as a superpower. My innate operating system is Windows 8. He runs on OS X. I basically understand OS X, it just takes me a while to sometimes ‘get’ it. He thinks Windows 8 is fucking idiotic and makes no sense whatsoever. Perhaps he has a point.
He also has biological toddler genes, so sometimes it’s really hard to tell whether he’s being a massive pain in the arse because of his operating system or because of the psychopathic toddler personality winning through.
I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or think I’m somehow admirable for how I manage. Because of my boy, I have developed some amazing skills and gained invaluable knowledge that I will be forever grateful for.
Ninja skills: I have the ability to predict a strike and intercept with lightening precision. 86% of the time. Not only could I catch a fly with a pair of chopsticks, I could also put a jumper on it, get a pair of trousers on, not bother with shoes and get it strapped into a car seat all whilst blocking blows to the face and keeping a calm demeanour.
Running skills: I was never one for sports at school, least of all running. Now I can go from zero to sprint in 0.4 seconds at any given opportunity. Even from a sitting position.
Language skills: I don’t bother with silly, quirky language any more and say exactly what I mean. If I don’t want to have to break out the ninja skills, I say the dinner is ready when it is exactly ready, not five minutes after I’ve finished faffing arranging the food perfectly symmetrically on the plate. I also show what I mean -for example, what is five minutes? Is it a ‘Dad’ five minutes going for a quick poo which is in fact twenty minutes? Or is it his sister’s five minutes putting her shoes on which is actually an eternity? Neither. It is the exact amount of time is takes for the last grain of sand to fall through the hourglass.
Detective skills: Like a Chief Superintendent scanning a crime scene for evidence, I have the ability to hone in on possible clues to indicate reasons for a meltdown or an incident and will immediately log it in my memory bank to ensure that it never, ever occurs again. It’s not always obvious and can sometimes take a great deal of investigation. Other times, seeing two kids and one Thomas The Tank Engine toy, it’s a no brainer. *Breaks out ninja skills.
Planning skills: Taking into account all previous incidences that have been permanently embedded in my brain, I have to carefully execute meticulously thought out plans and have a back up contingency plan for any unforeseen circumstances that may have been impossible to predict. Not only could I perfectly carry out a counter terrorism hostage retrieval operation, I could grab a 6-pinter of milk from the shop and still be home to watch 40 episodes of Thomas before bedtime. Or the same episode 40 times. It varies.
Those toddler genes have a lot to answer for.
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