Some days I wake up feeling like I can walk around just exuding love and no matter what people say or do I can kindly respond or even jokingly deal with the situation. Some days not so much. Some days I feel like a mutated 6 foot praying mantis ready to rip someone’s head off and devour it because they are being rude. Not ignorant but rude. Ignorance makes us say, do or act in stupid ways sometimes and I try to see it like that but rudeness has no excuse.
Some people tell me that I should just ignore everyone and that I should just go about my business. That sounds great and I would love to see them do it all the time because it is easier said than done and I am 100% positive that it’s just shitty advice coming from someone who at the moment is choosing to forget the times they’ve been bothered by rudeness and who knows, maybe even lashed out. Look, I know that if I let every single comment, look, or gesture bother me then I am going to be a really unhappy person because it doesn’t fail to happen EVERY single day I choose to step out with my son whether it be shopping, park, schools, or anything that involves strangers. So I have managed to ignore more than pay attention but some days… let me tell you… that praying mantis is unleashed because well… I’m human.
For the past couple of months my children and I have decided to take a somewhat comical approach when out and about with my son. You see, he makes these sounds that are like a combination between humming and the sounds of humpback whales. If another child is staring at him with curiosity or concern I just turn to them and say…”my son doesn’t speak your language but we all speak whale.” The parent usually opens their eyes really big because they don’t know if I’m joking or if it’s OK to laugh so I normally look at them and smile which lets them know it’s OK to laugh. A few kids have even turned to their parents and said they want to learn “whale” also. HAHAHA!
I’ve even had adults go isle by isle pretending to shop or look for things but they are really just walking around checking out my son. So I’ve told my kids that when that happens and I say the words “ready, go!” We ALL start to make the same sounds as my son and look at the person as if whale speaking to them. That usually makes the person look HILARIOUS to us because they don’t know which way to turn and usually just walk away from the “Adams Family”. My kids and I crack up and so that just made an uncomfortable situation for us a very funny one at the expense of someone expressing their curiosity in a very rude way. Look, ask if you need to but don’t EVER single my son out and act as if you have just witnessed a freak show because we will freak you out.
I realize that is my way of coping with discomfort but I rather have the family seem abnormal than have my son feel he’s a freak. He’s not! Actually he’s 1 in 88 children meaning that there are plenty more like him or similar. Autism is not uncommon these days. Those stats have changed a bunch since my son was diagnosed and he is now 11. When he was diagnosed at the age of 2 (February 2003) the numbers were something like 1 in 150.
Deciding to call the sounds my son makes “whale” came from the movie Finding Nemo where Dori starts speaking to a whale and it sounds like what my son does. It’s one of his favorite movies too. I’m sure the sounds he makes are for the purposes of blocking things out. When I try to make the same sounds it feels like they are coming from the back of my skull and actually block out the little things like humming refrigerators, lights, many people talking, etc. So I’m sure that is why he does it and until I can work it out so that he does the “blocking” in a more functional way… I’ll be here to speak whale with my son and my other children will be too. 🙂