Let’s ride the nope train {Day Two}

Yesterday, our journey on the nope train took us through 7 stations. Of those seven memes, 5 of them were a nope. Let’s see how far we can travel today.

All aboard the nope train!

Meme #8: It’s too obscure to decide whether it’s a nope
Image is a photograph of beans and a torn cloth bag scattered over a wooden floor. Text says: “Make a sensory bin out of beans they said. It’ll be fun they said.”

Part of me thinks this is trying to highlight how autistic children can be destructive, but really I just don’t understand this meme. Children play with things, and sometimes those things break. Sometimes broken things make a mess, and sometimes we have to clean up the mess. What exactly is this trying to say? What is the point?

Meme #9: It’s a nope
Top image shows Leonardo DiCaprio smiling and pointing his thumbs at his chest with text “Why don’t we just get a babysitter?” Below that, image shows Leonardo DiCaprio laughing and text says “Hahahaha”

So, my son was hesitant around strangers for years, and he still takes a while to warm up to people. This is completely ok. During that time and to a certain extent now, I wouldn’t consider getting a babysitter. Not because I was concerned about the babysitter being unable to cope with my son, but because his need for being around safe people outweighed my need to be away from him. Did this impact on my social life? Yes and no. Yes, there were and still are activities that I don’t participate in, but there are heaps of things we can still do, and there are people in our life that are more than happy for him to accompany me.

If you have found yourself surrounded by friends who don’t want to do anything with you unless you leave your child behind, then perhaps it is wise to reconsider those friendships and find friends who accept your child for exactly who he or she is.

Meme #10: It’s a nope
Image shows three illustrated ducks. One larger duck says to the other “Is it my imagination or is your kid on the verge of death?” The other larger duck replies “Actually, she just noticed her shirt has a scratchy tag in it. So, yes.” and an illustrated little duckling writhes around on the floor.

How privileged people must be to go through life without being overwhelmed by sensory overload, without existing in a state of persistent discomfort because they’re not hyper (or hypo) sensitive to certain stimuli.

So privileged in fact that it’s acceptable to laugh at the discomfort of children who do not hold that same privilege.

Meme #11: It’s a nope
Image shows Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in the Hunger Games movie giving a three finger salute. Text says: “When I’m out and spot another autism mom.”

Firstly, parents need to stop co-opting their child’s identity. It’s gross. You might be the parent of an autistic child. You might be an autistic parent. You might be both. Heck, if you want to insist on person-first language, you can even be the parent of a child with autism, although there are plenty of reasons why many of us prefer identity-first language. But, you are not an autism mom.

Secondly, this whole thing feeds into the narrative that our parents are some kind of heroes for being our parents. You were chosen to parent us because you’re especially brave and courageous… Give me a break. No one thinks that parenting is not challenging. It is challenging, but that is because children are children. Sure, parents of autistic children may have different challenges to parents of neurotypical children, but the martyrdom olympics where parents of autistic children are trying desperately to outdo each other on who’s life is the hardest is so boring.

Meme #12: It’s a nope
Image shows a young child standing on top of a big rock. Text says: “Spent hundreds on toys. Favorite thing is a big rock.”

So what? Who made the decision to spend the money on the toys? Who did that without considering whether a rock would suffice? Did all that money get spent on toys in the erroneous belief that there is some sort of right way to play?

Meme #13: It’s a nope
Image shows a grocery store check out counter with one person leaving the counter with bags, while another person preparing to unpack their groceries onto the counter is holding an oversized bottle of tomato sauce (or ketchup depending on your location). Text says: “Autism parents be like ‘This ketchup will last a whole week’ “

I addressed food yesterday, but today I’m going to add: as a child, I ate tomato sauce on everything. I did that because I liked the taste of tomato sauce and it effectively camouflaged the taste of everything else. Even these days when I go through phases of being unable to eat because everything tastes and feels yuck in my mouth, I drink tomato juice by the liter.

Stop making every little thing that we do into a source of amusement for you. There are reasons why we do them, and if you consider the reasons, maybe we would feel better in our own skin.

Meme #14: Skipping this stop – it’s not a nope
Image shows a woman of colour with a confused (?) facial expression. Text says “That moment when someone tells you sorry when you tell them your child has autism”

That’s our journey for today because I have to go do other things, but join me tomorrow for Day Three of the nope train ride.