Sunday, March 21, 2010

Different like me

"The next question that some of you asked," I said, fast-tracking toward the finish line, "was 'Does Bud know he's different?'

"And the answer is: I think he does, but it doesn't bother him. Bud loves being Bud. He feels great about himself. And he is one of the happiest people I know.

"Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes my toaster brain gets in the way and starts thinking that it's important to be like everybody else. So, sometimes I worry about him. But let me tell you a story.

"One day, not too long ago, Bud was watching Teletubbies – because, remember, things that are familiar to him are more comfortable than things that are new to him, so he still loves the things he loved when he was little. I started wondering if he knew that most kids his age don’t watch Teletubbies.

“So, I said to him 'You really like Teletubbies, don’t you, Bud?' and he answered 'Yes!'

“Then I asked him, 'Do other kids at school like Teletubbies?' He laughed out loud and looked at me like I was crazy, and said 'Nooooo!'

"So, I asked him, 'What do the other kids at school like?'

"And he said: 'They like me.'"

I looked around at their faces, some of them smiling, others deep in thought.

"I think that was Bud's way of reminding me that he doesn't need to be like everybody else. That was his way of saying, 'I'm doing just fine, Mom - just the way I am. So please - Back. Off.'"

The class erupted in laughter - its tone a blend of pride and admiration.

Bud the underdog.

Bud the rebel.

Bud the 'tween hero.

"So, you see?" I said. "It's just like I told you before - you already ARE good friends to Bud, just by sticking with him and letting him know that who he is, is just fine with you."

Noelle raised her hand, with a far-away look in her eyes.

"I was just wondering," she said. "Do you think Bud knows he's different?"

"I think he does," I answered, "but I don't think it bothers him." Then, silently, I added, And thanks for making that point so beautifully, Noelle. We are all a little different - just each in our own way.

Tomorrow: Question #10 - How can I help?


kristina said...

Bud's not alone in his liking for Teletubbies, noooooo way!

(It's good to know that our kids can be different in the same ways.)

Joeymom said...

My mom gets upset with me because I get Joey thinks like Max and Ruby stuff, or let him watch Oobi now and again. "He's too old for that!" is the cry; but I don't see it that way at all. I love my Disney flicks, and I'm 38 years old. He's only 7; like a preschool show is not so far off. Yes, I like to introduce him to age-appropriate things, but getting him presents he actually likes, and letting him relax with shows that are familiar and comforting? I don't see what's so wrong with that.

Marcy said...

I love this whole series!!! In fact, I may ask my 9 year to read it. I think he'll recognize himself in Bud a little.

Elyse Orecchio said...

My son obsessively watches Yo Gabba Gabba with his younger sister, and it's fine with me.

Unknown said...

I just finshed reading all your entries about talking with Bud's class. They are some very special kids! And Bud is very lucky to have them as classmates and friends.

I am definitely going to share this with Son. And possibly with his teachers.

Thank you for sharing!

St Alban's Reading Room said...

I have an 8 yr old son with NOS and just discovered your blog. Love it. I am not sure how old Bud is, but have you explained autism to him. It is something I am struggling with knowing when the time is right, but we have a Behavioral doctor that told us not to explain to his peers until he knows.

Kristen said...

Oh my god!! When are you writing a book? Our community needs someone like you to help us make sense of all of this! Please tell me u are working on it! Either that or going on tour and coming to all of our neighborhoods to talk to our kids' classmates!

Professor Mother said...

In my book, I also talk about the challenges of buying them "age-appropriate" or "them-appropriate" toys. We found that we would do a mixture of both- toys they WANTED, and then toys that would attract other kids to them. It's a balance sometimes...

TC said...

We go through this ALLLL the time. I wrote a long post several months ago about going through N's bookshelves...he was 8 at the time...and wanting to get rid of all the Blue's Clues and Teletubbies and Clifford books, because they were just so young, and I was afraid that the very few peers of his who come to our house would start to make fun of him.

And his favorite shows right now run the gamut from the very-socially acceptable Star Wars Clone Wars (that one's actually an obsession) to a strong fondness for Wow Wow Wubbzy. (And by strong I mean tantrums when we turn it off.) Which is better for him to be watching? Socially, it's obvious. But otherwise? I'd much prefer Wubbzy.

LaurenAct513 said...

I really wish I could meet you and talk to you. Just reading this makes me feel like I have a friend who really understands. My hubby and I have argued over my son still watching Teletubbies, Booba, Elmo, etc. He says J is too old for them and I say he still likes them and there is no reason he shouldn't watch them. Thanks for helping me make my point.

Unknown said...

God bless you... and Bud!