Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you about my daughter, Peaches.

I may have to give her a new nickname, because at the age of twelve, that name really doesn't suit her anymore.  She used to be a cute little girl with a peachy complexion and dark pigtails.  Now, she's almost as tall as I am, and frankly, she's starting to...ummm...fill out.  I tell you, it's freaking me out.

And, as I said before, she hates me.  Okay, she doesn't really hate me, but her preteen metabolism has convinced her that the best way to communicate with her mom is to yell a lot and slam doors.  I get that every young girl goes through this.  I know I did, and I know all my friends' girls did as well, which is why it doesn't bother me, and here's why.

For a couple of very good reasons, Peaches has some pretty severe problems.  I'll go into these in a later post, but for now I'll say that she was born in another country to a biological mom who probably did a lot of really nasty stuff while she was pregnant, then she spent the first couple of months of her life in traction in a hospital bed, then a couple of years in an orphanage, before we brought her home.  For all of that, she's actually a pretty pleasant kid.  She's pretty smart, very perceptive, and has a good heart.  On the other hand, she has a lot of trouble learning and keeping her thoughts organized.  She gets a lot of special services at school.  She's in fifth grade and has trouble doing things like telling time and figuring out what you can buy with twenty bucks.  She reads on about a third grade level.

My mom feels sorry for me for having a special needs kid.  She's out of her mind.  She has no idea how good I've got it.  Having a kid like Peaches means I get to sit out of the parenting fray.

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a bunch of friends (yeah, okay, I was playing hooky.  I can do that sometimes) and found myself sitting next to a supermom.  She was the one person at the table I didn't know, and her name was Trista or Tricia or something like that.  Now, I'm not saying that Trista/Tricia spent the whole time bragging about her kids and what a great mom she is.  We all had to put up with that when our kids were younger, but now that they're in late grade school I'm happy to say that most moms have tired of that by now.  She was actually kinda cool, and had a good sense of humor, but she also had kids in Middle School, and that's when kids start taking Band. and she believed that every kid should take band.

Now,  I believe in band, really I do.  I was a nerd myself in school, and I know how great it is to learn a musical instrument, have a great activity that isn't a sport, and develop your brain.  I would love nothing more than for Peaches to be in the band, but I also know there's just. no. way. that kid would survive.  She can't sit still, let alone stand still.  And I won't even go into what it was like to have her try to learn to play an instrument.  And marching in formation?  No, band is not for this kid.  She would try her best, sure, but she would fail anyway.

And, more importantly, there are things she can do that she would succeed at.  Like art, or theater.  Maybe even dance.  I could see her doing these things, and so can she.  She's already met the drama teacher at the Middle School and can't wait to get started next year.

But tell that to Trista/Tricia.  I think the conversation went something like this:

T: So is Peaches going to be in band?

Me: No, she's going to be in Theater Arts.

T: Oh, you have to have her change that.  Every kid ought to be in band.

Me: No, she can't be in the band.

T: Why not?  She would be great!

Me: No, she wouldn't.

T: You should have more faith in your kid.

I was rescued by Elaine, my friend across the table, who jumped in and changed the subject.  Trista/Tricia tried to change it back a couple of times, but Elaine and I were finally able to steer to another topic.

Now, I'm looking back on what Trista/Tricia said.  You should have more faith in your kid.  Let me think about that.

Not two days later, Peaches and I were crashed out on the couch watching Doctor Who.  She paused the show and said to me, "Mom, there was a kid in the park today, about eight years old."

"Yeah, what about him?" I answered.

"Well, he said to me, I think you had a concussion.  And I said, 'Why?' And he said, "Because you talk like you had a concussion'.  And I said, 'Well, I didn't'.  And he said, 'Then why do you talk like that?' And I said 'I'm not telling, but I didn't have a concussion'.  And the kid said 'I think you did'.

(Like I said, she's twelve. That's pretty much how she talks).

"So what did you do?"  I asked.

"I decided not to cry."

So, Trista/Tricia, wherever you are, I know that you are a good mom, and you have great kids, and I'm really sorry I don't remember your name.  But take this home with you.

I have all the faith in Peaches that I need.  She knows that her problems are not her fault.  She knows I love her no matter what, even if she does slam doors and scream a lot.  She works hard to make up for her disability.  And even at her young age, she has faith in herself.

You don't need Band for that.

1 comment:

  1. As the mom of a mildly autistic son I completely understand what you are saying and thank you for saying it.