In my last post I screwed up my courage and put up a photo of myself circa 1985. It didn't make the first edit, I snuck it in later after a few of you had already commented.
I got some lovely responses thank you, not least from Mr Hammie who read your comments and then said:
"they're right; you were a beautiful girl".
But I tried! Hair disaster number 2 in my life involved my newly apprenticed hairdresser sister bringing home left over peroxide bleach wrapped up in some cling film and then plopping it on my scalp. MY SCALP.
It turned my very coarse auburn hair orange of course. In patches. And really, I was lucky it didn't burn it off.
My Mum saw it as my own fault for submitting to the attempted blondeness and sent me off to school next day with my orange patchwork head. Where of course I was teased endlessly, particularly by older girls at school who called me "Experiment Head"
And my boyfriend broke up with me. Well, the guy I was "going with" "dropped me"
It took a long time to grow out. It took just as long for me to accept that I wasn't that pretty beachy blonde. Me and my poor hair eventually realised that we were never gonna be the locals idea of a "spunk", and with good skincare, make-up and self tanning lessons from my Sydney cous', I found my own look; eventually.
I wish I could go back and tell that awkward teenager that she was pretty. That she was just comparing herself to the wrong people and looking for acceptance in the wrong places.
Just let yourself be who you really are; Appreciate yourself and you will be much happier and have a lot more fun.
I could offer the same advice today to parents of children with newly diagnosed autism.
Instead of trying to project what your idea of a child should be, stop and appreciate who they actually are.
Of course there are always going to be behaviours and social skills that you will need to shape and change in order to give your child (and you) a better quality of life.
But you should not be trying to superimpose "ideal child" on to the one that you actually have. Because I have to tell you, you will miss out on a lot.
And you might also waste a lot of energy that could be spent getting to know the real child, and finding out how You can connect with Them.
Sure they may have interests that you find inappropriate to their age group. But hey, take a look at the Internet and find out just how many grown-ups watch the teletubbies, and then discuss "The significance of the kraken-baby" online.
Or they may have language limitations that make typically interactive conversations difficult. So try listening to what they do talk about, and join in. Even if they just want you to repeat the things they like hearing, such as lines from The Simpsons Movie; you are making yourself a valuable and amusing conversational partner. You can use that bond to introduce small adaptations to grammar, or even to role play something they find challenging. Getting small people dressed and downstairs in the morning is much easier when you are doing the "Boom Boom Dance" -"Come on! Shake your boom boom, shake your boom boom......"
And they may find things that you feel you are supposed to do, to be a good generous parent, VERY Challenging.
I will never forget being in a parent group where one mother wanted to know how she could get her son to attend the Christmas pantomime in town. She dominated the discussion for 15 minutes saying how bad he had been at last year's panto'; while the rest of us sat open mouthed. At least two of us were coping with smearing at the time, and my guy hadn't gone to sleep before 1am for about a year. But this lady needed to get all our help so she could normalise her son and get him to the Christmas panto.
There are countless other examples, often involving dads who buy Power Rangers and Football cards for kids who would rather stick with Thomas and Bob the Builder. Or buying loads of imaginative and interactive toys for Christmas, and finding that your two children have gone back to their laptops before you have finished untying all those little black twisty wires that they package everything in. (I was that soldier)
This is the equivalent of me bleaching my hair, and trying to fry my pale freckly skin in an attempt to be something I clearly wasn't.
Instead of appreciating who I was. Who I am.
Don't try and put a "Neuro typical" wig on your kid. Let them be.