Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Makes You Beautiful

One of the sites I've been advocating recently is The Thinking Moms' Revolution. It's a grassroots group that's picking up steam nationwide to "come out" in the battle against autism.

When I say "come out" I mean not only the sharing of information and the critical thinking necessary to take the fight to doctors, schools, insurance companies, and government. But it's also a forum for parents to "come out of the closet" and share the heart-breaking, complicated, and sometimes hilarious struggles in raising special needs children. 

As I consider myself to be a Thinking Mom, I decided to join the revolution with a recent story of my own. I opted for hilarious to break the ice. Look for "What Makes You Beautiful" to be posted to the website soon. The events of the below story took place about a month ago: 

I had always described the relationship between my 8-year old "E-Man" and 5-year old "C-Love" as 95% best friends, 5% mortal enemies.

But something happened in recent weeks that created a seismic shift in their universe: We stopped listening to Kids Place Live on XM in the car, in favor of the Disney channel.

It was sort of the end of innocence. There would be no more belly-laughs from Kenny Curtis and the crazy characters on The Animal Farm. Now Justin Bieber is touting himself as a boyfriend, and Carly Rae Jepsen is soliciting phone calls from strangers.

But both kids love the bubblegum pop, and there's no going back to the way it was. This was never more evident than the time One Direction's What Makes You Beautiful came on. If you haven't heard the song, it's extremely catchy - bordering on soul invasion.

And it was the subject of an EPIC lyric deconstruction on The Colbert Report. I dare you to watch the video and not laugh out loud.

But I digress. The point is E-Man knows every word and sings the whole thing. Whether you like his rendition isn't the point. He was diagnosed on the spectrum at 2, and wasn't speaking until he was almost 3, so every note is music to my ears no matter how repetitive it gets.

"You don't know you're beautiful! Oh-Oh! That's what makes you beautiful!"

Well, younger sister C-Love already knows she's beautiful (and talented, and funny, blah, blah, blah) and she's screaming for him to shut up so she can hear the real song. But he wouldn't stop, he couldn't stop, even if he wanted to. So she started lunging across the backseat, wildly hitting to try to get him to shut up.

This was further complicated by the exhaustion of a day at the pool, 95 degree weather, and that they were each holding ice cream cones. And as I often find myself, a single parent behind the wheel, I was powerless to stop any of it.

It's one of those situations that seemed impossibly frustrating at the time, but too funny in retrospect. Which I guess is the mission for the TMR website.

I followed up on my threat and turned the radio off. C-Love was outraged, which was exacerbated by E-Man's continued singing even though the music was off. He claimed the song was stuck in his head. Then as a determined 5-year old might do, she reached across and planted her ice cream cone on her older brother's neck.

I kept my lid from flipping for one minute until we pulled up at our destination, the Kroger parking lot. I used wipes to clean up the kids and I used the swim towels to clean up the car, all while trying to keep them separated. Cooler heads prevailed for about a second until we started walking toward the grocery store entrance.

"You don't know you're beautiful! Oh-Oh! That's what makes you beautiful!"

If I hadn't physically restrained C-Love at that moment, The CSI Unit would be poring over E-Man's chalk outline in the Kroger parking lot.

I should have known better. That was Rule #252, "never play harmonizing boy bands in the car after swimming on a hot summer day while headed to the grocery store with ice cream cones." Shame on me for not following my own rules.

The grocery run didn't happen. The kids were forced to listen to the baseball game in the car on the way home. So there.

You have to be flexible and abandon the plan sometimes. Life doesn't always take you in one direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment