Pushing Begins in Labor and Continues Through Life
Today is the day after my son turned 18 years old. Reflecting back, I realize when they told me to push during labor, that was the begining of a continual process. Whether your child has special needs or is quote “normal,” it is a parental job to push children beyond their comfort zone.
Sometimes I have felt guilty for being “General Mommy or Sergeant Mommy;” so nicknamed by dad, my husband Bill.
Tanner was not an easy baby. He had troubles eating from the start. He through up and would be considered a colic baby. Working with doctors and listening to the expereince of my mom(mother of four) resulted in putting rice in each bottle to help decrease the throwing up and weight gain proceeded.
At the age of six months, Tanner landed in the hospital for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). Funny now but not at the time my sister recalls that I was not making sense and thought I was kidding when I called her to tell her You see I was a nervous parent going from the doctor’s office straight to the hospital and told her he had RSVP virus.
The hospital stay was almost a week. It may have been worse for my husband and I to endure than Tanner. Seeing your child in an oxygen tent and having tests ran in a haze of a short time is traumatic. Then they tell you to move because you are in the way! Parental rights show up in your eyes resulting in a “Please” being spit out immediately and apoligetically. He came along fine after about three months of nebulizer treatments, beating on the chest with a suction cup to break up secrestions and being on/off antibiotics.
Tanner was sick off and on quite often. It seems I can remember all of his early holidays being sick. My sister, that dresses very professionly all the time, was thrown up on and her car when she took him to the doctor for me right before his first Christmas. That was one of the first holidays he was sick on.
Tanner weighted 17 pounds at one year old. Both my husband I worried about him. He didn’t or wouldn’t eat well sometimes. He stayed on his formula until he was about two years old or a bit older. He refused milk.
At thirteen months if was obvious we were dealing with more than one could understand. My husband moved a toy or his cup about an inch or two. He came back running to move it back to the exact position. I new then and along with some other things observed there was something “wrong” or not quite right.
I am telling you all this for a reason. This made it hard to make hard choices when he was older. Worring about his health and weight gain, we let him start eating an unhealthy diet. This wasn’t at the time but it developed into a stance later on. This also made being hard on him extremely trying.
Thus, began the parental divide on how to parent. How do you face the something “wrong” or not normal along with health concerns? I realized that at a certain point I couldn’t go the path of least reistance. Everyone had advise but I read while seaching for the reasons. Family said not to worry and my husband appeard to me to like “denial.”
Then and there I decided a proactive approach was best. I proceeded to get Tanner into Preschool at age three. I pushed for extra therapies like, speech and music. I enrolled him in Kindermusic because of the benefits I had read about music in special needs and other areas of life. One of his first sentences he said was sung back to me. On our way to music class I sung to him, “Now it is time for music, music, music.” He was restless and sung back, “Now it’s time for Grandma’s, Grandma’s!” I was proud. He had talked some but not like that.
The school said to make picture books and have him say what the picture was. I made a jillion picture books. Tanner would have to say his ABC’s as I wrote them in the dirt at the park before he could swing. Later he would have to write them.
I made 26 pages of huge ABC’s on letter size paper. Sensory issues were present and I read about trying differnt tactile approaches. I cut out Sandpaper ABC’s. I found the experts that I thought could help me with advancing my son’s chances of a better life. I used the program “Handwriting Without Tears,” to help him with writing. This was on top of what the school was doing for him and the extra therapies I could afford like Speech and Occupational Therapy.
Do you see the pushing going on? This continues for 18 years. Tanner has autism so pushing can be a delicate balance. I have him volunteering to gain job skills. Do or did I feel guilty for being “A hard A$$?” Sometimes!
Yet, let us ask the questions of what might have happened if I had given up? Believed those provider’s that were foolish to advise me to put my son in an institution? Gone the path of least reisistance? I doubt my son would be where he is today. This has meant many battles in my marriage and in parenting my son with my husband.
Sometimes those with autism have problems with hygeine. Tanner doesn’t like his hair cut or wash it well all the time either. I have wrestled with this for years. His counselor said to do one thing and my therapist disagrees.
This means another “Big PUSH” to help him into adulthood. The ultimatum will be to keep his hair clean with two warnings, with the third resulting in a BUZZ CUT! I have said this before. Yes, I am human. I don’t follow through on everything. Parenting cam be DEMANDING. Fights on how to parent wear you out. However, this time I have the resolve to do it.
Thus, remember from the start of labor and delivery of your child when they tell you to “PUSH” it means for life not only during birth!