Have You Met Each of the Seven ‘Cry Room Mom’ Personas?

Yesterday I spent some time in the back of the church with #13F1.25 who, like her older sisters, thinks she is in charge. It’s not the first time I’ve been the only father in the back with a bunch of mothers. It IS the first time I’ve seen all 7 Cry Room Mom Personas simultaneously, even though there is no cry room.

1) the newish Mom who is overly protective and glares at me for letting my toddler roam out of arm’s reach or get too close to her (older than my) child, 2) the 30ish mom who is pregnant and has what appears to be 6 children under five, 3) the 20ish mom who is trying to nurse a screaming infant but is so worried about her modesty she’s brought a queen-sized comforter from home that infuriates the infant and draws attention to both, 4) the mom who brought all four of her kids (ages 11, 8, 5, 3) to the back and the infant is the best-behaved, 5) the mom who loudly threatens her badly behaved toddler but doesn’t actually ever discipline, 6) the mom whose choice of a summer dress failed to anticipate the possibility she would be crawling around on all fours in the back of the church in front of a father of 13, and of course my personal favorite, 7) the comatose mom who neither participates in Mass nor pays any attention to her toddler who clearly has a vocation to be Read the rest

Life in Autismland

My ninth son, Jude Christopher, is three years old and mildly  autistic.  He says only one word and he says it repeatedly and very well; “No”.  He likes to spend most of the time alone, he gets angry often and for no easily discernible cause, and his fits of rage are as unpredictable as they are uncontrollable.  He needs very little sleep.  It is a challenge for any parent and no easier if you’ve raised 10 other “normal” children.

His Mother does not like that I tell people he is autistic.  She likes to say that he is ‘on the spectrum’.  I find this is the way moms and professionals dull the diagnosis.  It is true that not all autistic kids are the same, and at three years of age, he doesn’t suffer from some of the same burdens others do.  She prays for a miracle but takes him to therapy twice a week and hopes to have him in a tailored program soon.  I pray for a miracle but am prepared for a different life for and with him.

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Neither Doctors nor parents really understand autism.  It is particularly difficult to understand because those who suffer from it usually have great difficulty communicating.  Many do not communicate at all.  They cannot explain what they do understand and don’t, what is hurting them or bothering them, what they need or want.  Human touch is often bothersome.  Ordinary acts of kindness or intimacy might be irritating.  Vocal or physical outbursts may … Read the rest