Sunday, January 1, 2012

Planning the Parties

Katie loves to plan.  Parties, vacations, simple get-togethers with friends and family.  You name it, she is planning it.  First she will come up with an idea, or a reason for the event.  Then she will start talking about it with everyone.  Next she will decide who is invited (usually everyone she knows).  Of course she will choose when and where it will take place, and what else has to be done to get ready.  She will talk and talk about what is going to take place, with anyone that will listen.  Often she will start planning months in advance.

Katie's plans are seldom good ideas.  I don't mean that we don't like to have get togethers, but she doesn't put any thought into our busy schedules, or limited party budgets.  Those small details do not occur to her.  She will latch onto an idea, and run with it, and get really upset when the plan does not pan out.  The hardest thing to do for me is to stop her party railroad before it leaves the station.  She gets very upset, will start to cry, and badgers and bugs to try to get her way.  If I don't stop her from the beginning, however, it gets harder and harder to make her understand. 

Some people do not understand how these things work, and think that encouraging her and making plans with her is a fun thing to do.  They get caught up in her enthusiasm, and don't want to tell her "No", so they have fun with her.  They will get into the planning, making suggestions, thinking it is real funny.  Let me tell you this, right now, so we are clear.  You are making my life hard.  You are going to be crushing Katie's spirit.  There will be a lot of crying and hysterics going on when we get home, and some of it will be coming from me.  It will not happen when you are around to see it, because I do not like to make a scene in front of people.  But I guarantee, once we get into the car, or get home, the fireworks will begin.  I will have to tell her that her plan cannot happen because of whatever reason, and then she will become hysterical.  She will cry, she will yell, she will become so overwhelmed by the drama that we won't even be able to understand what she is saying.  It is frustrating, it is exhausting, and it is heartbreaking.  It is Autism at it's finest. And you won't know anything about it. 

I know that people do not do this to be mean.  I have a very caring and supportive group of family and friends.  Katie is a very animated, fun-loving girl, and everyone loves to hear about what she wants to do.  I love that everyone gets drawn towards Katie, that means the world to me.  I don't want people to stop having fun conversations with her, or stop listening to her plans. I do wish that they would not make her promises that they will not be able to keep, or make her promises that they won't even be there for.  Or make her promises that they are not in the position to be making, because her parents should be involved in any plans that are made surrounding her. 

I am not an especially strict parent.  I do not keep my kids in a bubble.  I love when my kids can go out with their friends, and especially their family.  I love having parties, and get-togethers.  I really love when Katie has an opportunity to experience a new fun situation.  I am nervous about it, but I let her live her life as big as she can.  But I need to be the one, along with my husband, who makes these decisions for her.  Because we, as parents, are going to be the ones who are there for her every step of the way.  This is true for all parents, I am not claiming that this is only to be applied to Autistic children.  However, Autistic children can not always grasp the "bigger picture", and Autistic children sometimes do not handle rejection well.  And Katie needs all the help she can get on learning how to live in "our world".  So, as a parent of an Autistic child, I am begging you not to make my Adventures in Autism any harder than they already are.

1 comment:

  1. Wow...I never knew your stress with her "I've got a plan." I hope I've never added to this when we've been together...I often use her phrase when I talk to gram or my sisters; "I've got a plan"
    Now I know. Thanks for sharing.
    Always, Aunt Joni