I remember when Jillsmo first started taking volunteers to write a series of posts about "things that all kids do". The premise (as *I* recall it) was the well-worn path to pissing off a parent of an autistic child, namely, marginalizing the behaviors by invoking the phrase, "all kids do that".
I remember thinking at the time that I didn't find that phrase as triggering as many parents seem to, probably because my oldest daughter, Emma, despite not being on the spectrum, *HAS* done some of the things that Lily does.
I remember thinking how picky an eater Emma is, or her spitting incidents at school, or even some of her really brief phases with "no!" or potty accidents or whatever.
I remember feeling like I really didn't have anything to contribute to the discussion because I've read a lot of autistic parent/autistic adult blogs and sometimes feel like our struggles raising Lily are mild by comparison.
I wasn't sure I was really "feeling" the subject matter.
And then the first post arrived, and I dutifully read it, because I dutifully read anything Jillsmo sees fit to post on her blog since it's invariably either funny or heartwarming or informative, or some combination of the three. And it was a post about picky eating by Sunday, at Adventures in Extreme Parenting. Here's the post: http://yeahgoodtimes.blogspot.com/2011/12/all-kids-do-that-part-1-picky-eating.html.
In a nutshell, on advice from her pediatrician, she implemented the (parents of picky eaters will know this strategy) "When he gets hungry enough he'll eat" strategy. It's what parents of NT (neurotypical/typically developing) kids do when they're at their wit's end. It's what pediatricians say will always work. It's what grandparents shake their heads and say to their children as they watch them struggle to feed their grandkids.
And five days later he still had not eaten. Anything. It's NOT the same.
And I found myself standing in the kitchen last week, irrationally irritated with my mother as she responded to a tidbit I'd mentioned about how autistic kids generally tend to have niche foods that they don't stray too far from with, "all kids do that", or some variation of that theme. And I remember responding tersely and irritatedly, thinking of Sunday's post, "It's NOT the same."
And I realized that she was just voicing something I had myself thought even a few months prior. . . it's variations on a theme. . . some kids ARE picky eaters. But then I thought of my OTHER picky eater. Emma hates new foods. She'll cry if she has to try something when she's not given enough time to come to terms with it. She once threw up when I forced her (I learned not to do this) to take a bite of roast chicken. But we talked it out. We can get her to eat. Lily pretty much eats on her terms. It IS different.
Sorry mom, I guess "all kids do that" DOES bother me now. Thanks for helping with my self-realization. I know you how much stress we go through making sure Lily gets enough to eat. You just sorta got blind-sided by the reaction.
Anyway, back when I really felt like I couldn't contribute to the series, Jillsmo suggested "spitting". I mulled it over and agreed, but didn't really have a timetable in mind, and sort of blew it off altogether until she dropped a quasi-reminder-guilt trip at my doorstep on twitter.
So I wrote the attached installment for Jillsmo's series, "All Kids Do That":