Sometimes I hate autism

Most of the time I embrace the side of Beth that is her autism. I love her unselfconsciousness, her massive self esteem, her photographic memory when it comes to something she loves. I also love things not to do with her autism but perhaps enhanced by it, her sense of humour and her ability to perform in front of others. But sometimes her autism gives me the shits and I hate it.

My son Bill had what’s called mudbash today, a day with the cubs that they do all sorts of activities and get really muddy doing them. A real boys day, he went with his dad Paul and I was at home with the girls. They were bored and wanted to do something so I checked out what movies are on. There are no kids movies at the moment, being mid term, so I thought the new Aussie flick The Sapphires might be a good choice. It’s based on a true story about a group of Aboriginal girls who sang (in a similar way to The Supremes) and ended up going to Vietnam to sing during the war. My girls love music and I thought it would be a good bonding experience. I also knew that my Bill wouldn’t mind missing out as it’s a bit of a ‘chick flick’. Anyway, I ran it past Beth and Bridie and they both seemed keen.

The movie started at 1.15pm and it should have been an indication when Beth decided that no, in fact she didn’t really want to go after all, unless Madagascar was playing. I explained that it wasn’t until the school holidays, that she’d already said yes, that Bridie and I were looking forward to it. Basically that it wasn’t all about what she wanted. Of course that’s not the way she sees things. We compromised on food, we took maltesers and drinks but as we hadn’t had lunch yet we got chips from McDonalds and didn’t take popcorn. That was more than fine, a little bit of an incentive.

About 1/2 an hour into the movie Beth had fidgeted so much and turned around to look at other people that I ended up giving her her Ipad. I had thought it was a great idea as this meant that Bridie and I could watch the movie in peace if it turned out that Beth didn’t like it. Now usually I try to get seats in the back row but we hadn’t been to this theatre before and it was already crowded when we got there. We sat quite far down the front so there were people behind us. After a while the man behind us asked me to turn the Ipad off as the light was distracting him. I apologized and we moved to the next row down. As Beth had had the ipad at an angle originally I made her lay it flat down in her lap so that the people couldn’t see it. She had headphones on so nobody could hear it. About 10 minutes later the usher came to me to let me know that people were complaining. I explained that perhaps it was before we had moved but she asked me to turn it off. Of course we did. I then sat completely embarassed with one arm around Beth and one around Bridie, trying to enjoy the remainder of the movie while feeling incredibly self conscious. Beth kept wanting to go, Bridie and I wanted to watch the end. As the credits rolled and Beth got ready to go I told her that we’d wait til the lights came up, just in case something fell out of my bag. Truth be told I didn’t want to face the people who may have complained, I didn’t want to have them telling me that maybe I shouldn’t have brought my child to this movie, that I was too soft, allowing a child to play on an ipad when it was such bad manners to do so in a cinema.

Eventually we left with none of these things happening. I don’t blame the people for complaining, clearly it was bothering them and hindering the movie. I was more embarassed and annoyed that it had spoiled what was meant to be a nice time with my daughter. She’s 13 now, an age where movies like that are fine. I was looking forward to going to see a movie with my girls that I would enjoy on an adult level as well as a kids level. Bridie enjoyed it with me just as she loved our naughty day off last week when we went to IKEA for breakfast and shopping. We’re starting to enjoy our bonding time, doing things that we both enjoy together. I want that with Beth too and I hate that through no fault on either side it’s probably never really going to be like that. We do enjoy our time together but solely on her terms, if it’s not something she wants to do then she’ll let it be known. And sometimes it just sucks.

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
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