I love my kids. I never in a million years would trade any of them for anything. From the oldest to the youngest, though as I have mentioned they can give an aspirin a headache and leave Mother Theresa in tears, they are mine, I made them and I love them.

That being said, they drive me insane in that special way that only someone you love so much can. In particular, today we are going to talk about taking them out to eat in public.

The past two weeks at work I’ve had a schedule that my wife absolutely hates…I’m usually off Saturday and Sunday’s, but this schedule not only do I have to work the weekend but three days of the week go in from 1:00 – 9:30. It’s exhausting for my wife, and for me as well. Well I came home from work and my wife who had been left alone with the darling little terrorists (remember folks I use a lot of sarcasm), for too long said we’re going out to eat, I already told them we can go to the Mexican restaurant with the arcade.

OK, it’s not so bad. it’s not that big an arcade, the games aren’t that loud, and other people’s kids are there running around too so my kids look more normal. It’s not as bad as Chuck E. Cheeses so off we went. I couldnt blame her.

Now I want to say right off that for my kids, they behaved excellent that night! Not a lot of complaining, not a lot of drama. But let me list some things that went on and you may be able to grasp a bigger picture.

  • My 13 year old was told to move over cause he parked his big old self in the middle of the bench in the booth and I couldn’t fit. (He seriously never thought that I had to sit down too), and when he tried to move, found out his foot was caught between the bench and the table leg. His feet were crossed like he was doing third position in ballet or something. HOW the HECK did he get his feet like that and stuck no less, simply by sitting down at a table?
  • My 8 year old, while sitting down eating what constitutes a full meal for him (tortillas dipped in cheese dip) started sliding off the bench till his legs were under him, his back was on the front of the chair, and his head was barely visible above the table while he CONTINUED to dip and eat. I watched him sit there for a full minute and a half and finally told him to sit up like a human. To which he blinked looked around, sat up and continued dipping.
  • Both my 13 and 8 year olds devoured 2 baskets of tortillas and 2 servings of cheese eating ravenously like my wife and I hadn’t fed them in 2 years. (Yes we have fed them and Yes we did get stared at.)
  • My 13 year old while devouring his chips and cheese dripped cheese ALL over our side of the table.
  • My 2 year old terror was quite the happy boy. They have one of those rides with the cartoon characters that go around in a circle like a merry go round, and they had skee-ball. (No I don’t know how it’s spelled or what the name of the game actually is. It’s the one where you throw the balls up the lane and try to get them into the different scoring holes). He spent most of the night on the merry go round thing and part of the night, climbing up the skee ball lanes and throwing the balls in from under the glass. And then he climbed INTO the basket ball game and started taking free throws from right outside the glass partition.
  • And of course neither his mother or I could sit for more than 3 minutes at a time, until we had to get up and walk him around again.
  • And no evening would be complete if my 13 year old didn’t knock over his drink completely drowning the table. He does this EVERY time without fail. I’ve considered taking his adult sized drink privledges away and making him use a travel cup with a lid from now on.

All these things were NOTHING. If this was as bad as they got every time I would never consider writing  this blog post.

Now let me just say that I have sat in restaurants and watched other people’s kids and some make me ponder why can’t my kids sit like that when we’re out? The youngest is in the high chair, eating his fries so nicely. The others are sitting there talking animatedly, yet still not so loud that everyone can hear them ABOVE the sound system, and they listen to to their parents and you wouldn’t glance twice at them.

And some make me ponder why adults aren’t licensed to procreate in the first place. (And then I remember what my kids are like and I wonder if someone isn’t thinking the same thing about mine).

My children are not severely autistic. They speak very eloquently, my 8 year old is such character he can be funny even when being “disobedient.” My 2 year old doesn’t speak fully yet, in fact he’s severely underdeveloped in that area but you wouldn’t look at him and think the was autistic. (Not that there is a way autistic people look, see my past blog to see my stand on this topic). Still sometimes it’s disheartening and discouraging to know that we have to pick and choose where we go, what we do, where we take them and who we can do things with, based on the fact that we know it will be embarasing and/or it maybe simply to overwhelming for us to take them certain places.

I know my wife sometimes may think I don’t cut them enough slack. Or that I would rather not deal with taking them out most places because of the above stated reasons and that is true to a certain extent, I admit it. I don’t like feeling like people are looking at my kids and thinking “oh my God what kind of parents are those?” Especially down here where apparently there is something wrong with you if you don’t go to this church, or am a member of this group, and nobody’s a stranger, cause they lived here there whole lives and never left etc. etc. and so on and I admit I do need to work on that more.

But the other part of that, and I’m willing to bet that I’m saying something that most NT’s feel and may not know how to articulate to their Aspie partners, is that it’s not JUST that. It’s also I don’t want my kids to be made fun of. I don’t want people to look at them and judge them by how they present in this area. I’m damn sure not going to go into a full explanation of social underdevelopment, not being able to interpret body language, tonal values of voice and inflection in conversation,  and seeming indifference of others feelings. I’m not justifying that my kids thinks everyone abides by the same moral code as them and can’t process why they wouldn’t.

I don’t want my kids to go through the finger pointing, the whispers, the judgmental glances. The teasing and the inevitable not being allowed to play with other kids. When we first moved to our new house/neighborhood here my 8 year old was beside himself. He finally was in an area with other kids he could befriend and hang out with. He would wake up head for the door and yell I’m going to this person’s house or this kids house and go. But then one day he came come in tears. He had went to one of his friends house to be met outside on the lawn by the kids father who told him, you can’t come over anymore, my kids don’t want to be friends with you any more. WHO DOES THAT TO AN 8 YEAR OLD? This parent never contacted us, never sent a note asking to please call or discuss anything my son was doing. Nothing. My son was heartbroken. He couldn’t understand what he did wrong.

I would spare them that. I would spare my wife that. And yes I admit, I would spare myself that.

I love my kids, as I’m sure all of you love yours. And quite frankly I don’t feel its worth the damage to their little hearts to have to ponder at night why don’t those kids like me? Yes they have to face these things and grow, and yes they will. I know this more than anyone believe me. But as much as possible, I want them to have a fair shot, and not be written off automatically as odd balls, freaks or whatever.

(I think this might lead into a part II)