We have a lot of carebears around our house. I hate the things: they remind me of the cheerful, white-washed reality of the 80’s (for me, at least.) I lump them together with Pollyanna and the agressive cheerfulness of Cabbage Patch dolls. The Princess loves the new version of carebears. (Is she really mine? Seriously? Where is this all coming from?)
She takes them everywhere. They sleep with her, they ride in the car with her, and it’s impossible to get her coat off because she’s clutching them with a death grip.
This past Sunday we had an incident at church because they told her she couldn’t have her carebears in class. She started crying. I explained that she has anxiety. It didn’t matter: rules were rules, she couldn’t have them (despite having them last week) because kids would fight over them.
::sigh:: Can I just say that I’m tired of hearing this? It doesn’t matter where we go, what we do, or who it’s with. There is a certain way to do things, and if you ask to deviate you get the dreaded rules thrown at you. We hear “it’s not fair to the other kids” and “we can’t change it for one kid or we’ll have to change it for everyone” with sickening regularity.
The Princess has anxiety. It’s getting better. When she was the Destroyer’s age she refused to let me leave her in class. She broke down hysterically bawling if I tried to walk out the door. Every nursery volunteer knew me because I was always there with her. She finally started to outgrow it around age 3, and she’s doing much better now.
That is, unless the Sunday School lesson that talked about death. To 3-year-olds.
I’m not here to knock churchs. Our current church has been an awesome resource for the Engineer, and a great support for us as a family. It’s one of the only consistent social exposures our kids have because we’re so limited in extracurricular activities. So church is cool.
But, church in general has not been a good fit for our outlier, special needs children. In fact, we’re seriously considering quitting altogether, which goes against everything I believe in.
If I had a nickle for every volunteer who assured me that “he’ll be just fine,” when the Destroyer starts screaming, I could hire a babysitter. The leader in his current class, a former pre-school owner, actually lectured my husband about how the Destroyer needs to learn that other people can comfort him (they can’t.) Mr. Genius was not pleased.
It doesn’t seem to matter if I trot out the special needs explanation: rules are rules. I’m not even allowed in the Destroyer’s class unless I undergo a background check.
Because we’ve done this routine before, we know what works. Prove to the kid that class is a safe place with safe people (this takes months!) and we can eventually leave them in class without a meltdown. They might need a little help feeling safe, so they always have a backpack with their drink, their stuff, and a special tag on it with their picture, our information, and any special needs. And sometimes, they need a carebear.
Everyone knows better than us. We’re just the parents who cater to our special snowflakes. We acceed to their every whim, we spoil them with our presence. They need to grow up, mature a bit, get over it, and deal with it. We are the problem.
I reject that.
If my kid needs me around to feel safe, I’m ok with that. If my daughter needs a carebear to make it through class, that’s ok. It’s not a big deal to me until the rules say I can’t. Then I have a problem with the rules.