The gods of irony

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    easy child and her roommate and friend from school, S, advertised for a 3rd roommate (last yr's friend flunked out). They rec'd an email from the new roommate's mom, who thanked them for offering to room with-her daughter.

    They couldn't figure out what was going on because that was the first they'd heard of it. And why was the mom communicating instead of the daughter?

    School paired them up because of their majors. The new woman, C, is majoring in recreational therapy. easy child is majoring in art therapy (art and psychology) and S is majoring in social work and international politics.

    Then they spoke over the phone, and C had to ask for permission from her mom to meet for lunch.
    That made easy child and S even more suspicious.

    S and C met last wk. S refused to describe C except to say, "You have to meet her for yourself."

    C is 21.
    Turns out C doesn't drive.

    The mom said C had an Learning Disability (LD)...
    But she'd outgrown it.(Huh?)
    She had gone to a community college and had a difficult time but was doing better.

    S and easy child were very upset about this "helicopter mom."

    Turns out that because easy child got a ticket last wk and hasn't had her state inspection (due in May) I drove her to Richmond in my car and found an awesome Italian wine and cheese bar.
    We all met there.

    C is a bona fide Aspie.

    We never brought up the subject. I suggested the girls talk alone and I would shop.
    C's parents agreed.

    easy child and C went into a clothing shop and C said she couldn't stand scratchy tags on clothes. At that point, easy child couldn't stand it any more and said, "Do you have Asperger's?"

    C said, "Yes," and looked at the floor like she was embarrassed. "We don't talk about it."

    easy child said, "It's a part of who you are. You should embrace it."

    They exited the clothing store and could have had an in-depth conversation, but they literally bumped into me in the middle of the street, and easy child was late for work so we had to go.

    I'm sure they will have plenty of opportunities to discuss it at school this yr!

    easy child said C wanted to shop at a toy store, not just to browse, but seriously shop. I said, "Serious shopping, like the way you look for clothes."
    "Yeah!" LOL!
    "And then she wanted to go into a fantasy warrior store that had games and figurines."
    "She collects them, right?"

    easy child was practically banging her head on the car dash on the way home. I told her it was good field training.
    "What if she has rages? What if she can't stand the stress? What about all the people coming and going in the dorm? I can't hold her hand like difficult child and keep the peace. My goal is to get straight A's this semester. I have to study!"

    I told easy child that C was obviously a kind and sweet person with anxiety issues (at lunch they told us that C doesn't drive because it scares her) but I didn't think she'd be mean like difficult child.

    "What if people make fun of her? Do I invite her to everything? She won't mesh with-my friends."

    Detach, detach, detach.
    Come up with-a one-liner like, "She's my roommate. She's very sweet," and change the subject. Don't allow people to make fun. Period. You don't have to go into a long, scientific explanation, but you don't allow them to get their digs in, either.

    All the way home, easy child repeated, OMG, OMG, OMG.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    I hope it goes well for easy child. Give her a hug for me... sounds like she's having a little PTSD episode from having a difficult child-brother. ;-)
  3. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    So wonderful of you guys to accept and embrace this poor girl. It could turn out to be a very pivotal time in her life and you guys could turn out to be blessings to her. I hope it goes well for everyone involved. I bet she will just blossom with such well informed peers.

    Crossing my fingers!!
  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    All they have to do is treat her with respect and dignity. Her interests may seem different to a n/t teen but it isn't any weirder than what some of the teens do to fit in.
    Having a unique perspective may be refreshing. It's not anyone's job to baby sit. If mom hovers then easy child has every right to detach but if this young lady is in obvious
    distress, then the humane thing to do is call someone other than another student.
    easy child's obligation is simply to be kind and fair. If she invites everyone in the room to a function in front of C, then obviously, you want to invite but if easy child does it privately
    it will be easy child's choice who to include and who not to include.
    I would encourage easy child to stick to her own priorities and take care of herself.
    Every person who is different from yourself has something to teach you and something for you to teach them. It is a choice of what those lessons will be. Hope easy child is able to
    look beyond the label to who that person is.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    "She has an Learning Disability (LD) but outgrew it" my foot!

    I hate how some kids with LDs or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) are made to feel ashamed of it. As your easy child said, "It's part of who you are. Embrace it."

    Something to share with easy child is my own observation that as a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid gets older and moves into adulthood, you get fewer rages. More anxiety perhaps, but they are adapting a lot faster by this stage and learning how to cope. However, an overprotective parent or a sense of shame can slow this process down. If the difficult child feels a sense of shame, then denial comes close behind. Most progress is made when you accept what you are but use tis to move forward.

    If the girl has outgrown her Learning Disability (LD), then why does her mother still need to hover?

    Idiot woman...

  6. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    your easy child is a sweetheart and your advice to her was spot on. Mabye C will find a few Aspie friends along the way and she'll feel less alone. Sad that her parents are in such denial.
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree you gave her great advice and I think your easy child is a very kind soul.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.
    Yes, I have my doubts about the mother. On the one hand, she has done a great job, taking her daughter to musicals and plays (C's fave is "Wicked"), introducing her to wine and cheese, traveling a bit. on the other hand, she does hover and really needs to let her daughter go off on her own.
    I know this is hard for the mother but it's got to happen.
    I just hope easy child, C, S and the others have a good school yr and that C can handle it.
  9. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Maybe you could slip the mother a piece of paper with the link to the detatch thread!
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

  11. ML

    ML Guest

    I'm with easy child OMG OMG OMG. Irony for sure. What a small world, Terry. Life is so facsinating sometimes.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Isn't it amazing the way events unfold? This might turn out to be a really great year for all involved. easy child may get insight into how adult women with aspergers function and how very different aspergers can manifest itself in females. easy child is already very aware of aspergers and some of the things that go along with it. It will be a way for her to experience the world in a different way, and it may turn out that if she can handle the idiosyncrasies of C that she develops a real friendship with her.

    It may also be excellent for C's mom. I imagine that letting your Aspie daughter go to college and not live at home would be pretty scary for a mom. Esp when your child has fears of things like driving which could make it hard for her to get around. Knowing that her daughter has a roommate who knows what Aspergers is, let alone has a sibling with it, would be very reassuring. Chances are it will make it easier for the mom to stop mimicing a helicopter so much. You may even learn some things about what an aspie can and cannot expect in a dorm/college situation. You may also learn some ways to prepare difficult child for college (or how not to), and possible connect with another parent of a difficult child in real life, at least a couple of times this year.

    As for "outgrowing" an Learning Disability (LD), the mom may have used that in order to make the other girls not reject C right off the bat. I am SURE that a LOT of people would simply refuse to even speak with her if they thought she "still" had a problem like Aspergers, often because they don't have a clue what it is but they don't want it to "rub off" on them. Who knows how many roommates simply refused to consider her as a roommate, or did so after meeting her. It may be why mom made the first contact.

    If easy child can gently explain things if it seems C is really struggling because she isn't grasping the social rules, it would be a very nice thing to do. Chances are C will find a group of people interested in gaming or whatever she is into. A while back a character in a tv show said she was just trying to hold on through middle school because anyone who ever accomplished anything was unpopular until college and they they were "cool". The mom had told her that over and over to encourage the girl to be herself. The "cool" in college would happen because she would meet people interested in the same things she liked, rather than the shallow interests of the popular girls who were tormenting her.

    I think that really applies in this situation. I lived in a coed dorm back when most dorms were NOT, or were only coed by floor with locks on the female floors. My floor the first year was honors and I had a LOT of floormates who would be at least borderline Aspie and two who would be full aspie. We all found groups of people who were interested in what we were, no matter what those interests were. in my opinion it is highly likely that the same thing can happen with C.

    C may need some gentle pushing toward groups, and it certainly is not easy child's job to do that. But if C is becoming a problem with wanting easy child and S to do everything with her, they might benefit from suggesting a group or two that she might like and letting her know when and where they meet. If they are in a dorm they can ask the RA to do it if they like, or contact whatever dept handles disabilities and get someone there to help.

    I hope this turns out to be a good situation for all of the girls.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    In defence of C's mother - when you have an Aspie child, you DO need to hover a lot more. I get a lot of flak at times for not letting go, but it has to be a careful, slow let-go over a long time. Bit by bit. They seem to cope really well then in surprising little things, you discover they are struggling with this or that.

    difficult child 1 finished high school several years late, at 20. I then told him that he would not be allowed to sit at home and do nothing, he had to either work (including volunteer work) or enrol in a college course. I got him into a course but also enrolled his Aspie friend in the same course. They needed each other to support one another. On the ay of enrolment, those boys would not have coped if I hadn't already put a lot of things in place, including the disability support. We met with the disability counsellor (double appointment) and from there, the boys helped one another. I stayed in touch with the disability counsellor over he phone from then on. difficult child 1 was more capable tan his friend in a lot of ways, but as not a good traveller. Friend was used to getting around the city on his own, so they ravelled together and over time, difficult child 1 got more confidence. But friend found the study challenging, so difficult child 1 held him together with that (and I rang friend and talked to him too, when he was stressed and wanting to quit).

    Over the years in lots of little ways, I help. Some of my friends tell me to back off, but I know if I do, nothing happens. For example, right now easy child 2/difficult child 2 is having difficulty making phone calls. So I'm working with her to help her. If I leave it, if I let her continue to stay home on her days off and not go out at all, we risk this sliding into agoraphobia. My friend says, "She's married now. That means she thinks she's ready to play at being grown up. Let her sink or swim."

    Not with such a difficult child. I want to hand her the water wings for a while longer. It's a better alternative to letting her drown. So instead of making phone calls for her, I talk her through writing a script, then sit with her while she makes the phone call.

    Some helicopter parenting is justified. But it does sound like C's mother is protecting rather than supporting. But when you raise a difficult child, unless you find a mob like us you are working in isolation and you do what you feel you have to do.

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I can understand the not driving thing. My Billy didnt drive until a year or two ago...his anxiety was just too great for him to be able to handle it and we live in a pretty rural area. I grew up in Richmond and I cant imagine he would have tried it there! I do have to say though that not 6 months after learning to drive he drove all the way to Northern VA to see his I was worried sick!

    This girl will probably learn to drive, just later than most.
  15. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Not allowed to talk about it?????!!!!

    How very sad!

    I hope easy child takes care of #1 first, but makes a lasting improvement on this young life.
  16. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Hi Terry,

    My first thought from the gut for your easy child was "Watch your boundaries."

    I don't mean boundaries as a defense from C -- I mean that if it was me, I would have a hard time separating my responses from home, from how I responded to S at school.

    It isn't anything to do specifically with C being an Aspie -- but it's the same thing that easy child deals with at home with her brother. I think I would be confused by that. in my opinion your easy child has no particular obligation to help C or her parents out at all, other than treating C with respect and dignity and a little more insight than most. Your easy child is there to study and have fun.

    You can see from this post that the subject is triggering me a little bit.

    Anyway I think that if easy child thought about her boundaries ahead of time, maybe journaled about them -- not about boundaries from AS, but about her boundaries as a person. This is one of my personal journeys -- if I'm not paying attention to my boundaries, I'll quickly fall into old patterns of enabling, people-pleasing or being triggered by something that has nothing to do with the current situation.

    Anyway. Obviously something personal with me (was that a people-pleasing remark?)

    P.S. I just re-read this thread more carefully and realized I'm repeating the same advice you got from everyone else. Oh well.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all!
    (Barney'smom, you didn't repeat at all. Each note was similar but with a different emphasis.)
    I appreciate and value all of your comments.

    easy child said her main concern is C's initial transistion to the dorm and classes and the whole routine. Plus, she has a job in the cafeteria. easy child said she cannot think of a worse job for an anxiety ridden Aspie. It's loud, demanding and fast paced. I suggested that maybe C will be in the back, doing dishes? And easy child thought that would be a better idea.
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    easy child's Aspie roommate, C, showed up a day late in the dorm room. She had a special pass to get in early, to avoid the huge crowds on Sat. It really threw easy child into a tailspin because she doesn't have a key, and C does not retn phcalls or Facebook entries. (We know she spends a lot of time gaming online though, with-her fantasy network friends.) Very frustrating.
    easy child is moving in as we speak, said C has moved in and things are fine for the moment.

    Now I have to P/U difficult child from camp. I can hardly wait for that transition ...
  19. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    All of it sounds like wonderful advice- I think easy child has grown so much over the years I think time she will iron out any issues she has and she is pretty open with and hopefully will come to you with any issues or concerns. What a strange turn of events and a possible exciting journey for her and C!
  20. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I realize easy child's concerns, but I, too, see an opportunity. For everyone.

    She won't be the first college kid with a weird roommate. And I think at that age, most kids are past judging by who your school-picked roomie is.