Stories about helicopter parents are a dime a dozen. I recently read a column by Petula Dvorak, who writes for the Metro section of the Washington Post. She wrote about helicopter parents and the absence of childhood. Although I like her, it was boilerplate stuff. I’m a let kids be kids kind of parent. They need time to relax. Be kids. Watch too much TV and eat too many sweets. I spent many hours watching Gilligan’s Island and professional wrestling (National Wrestling Association, not that soap opera WWF). Didn’t seem to stop me from doing well in school and even getting a PhD in physics. Not bragging, just thinking that having laissez faire parents didn’t hurt me.
Then it turned out that my kids have special needs. One with autism and the second to be determined on Thursday. He might be on the spectrum, might not. There’s the rub. My natural inclinations are to let kids have some time to be kids. And for me to read the paper and have a cup of coffee. But wait. I have SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS. They’re developmentally delayed, so every moment is a chance to work with them.
There was a big deal made of a book a year or two ago about a woman whose son is “cured” of autism. His diagnosis went from autism to PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder we don’t have a clue about what it exactly means) to neurotypical. The family went through financial hell including a bankruptcy. Of course, why wouldn’t any parent do that for their child?
Not me, evidently. I want my kids to be kids. Secondo loves vehicles of all kinds. Cars, buses, trains, planes. We live in a great location for this as all are frequently seen. Oh, and firetrucks! How could I forget firetrucks? There are times when they come home after a day at school and just want to zone. So, Secondo is lying on the floor playing with a bus or plane. It might verge on stimming, but the kid needs a break. Primo wants a piece of paper and is writing. Sure, it’s a little obsessive, but helps him to organize his day. Kids with developmental delays need down time too. Perhaps more than other kids.
And, hey, I get a chance to make dinner. Or read the paper. I might even have a glass of wine. We get plenty of interaction in our lives together, so a little down time is good. Let kids be kids. Let adults be adults. And let the helicopters fly overhead.