I don’t think it’s any secret that we are struggling. I have been pretty open about our financial issues as well as other physical health issues. While I have shared them here on this blog with you I do my very best to shield the boys from them. I don’t want them to know just how bad things are. Lizze and I go to great lengths to ensure the kids are blissfully ignorant of these issues. Autistics kids can be VERY sensitive and prone to anxiety so we don’t want them worrying about grownup things.
Despite our best effort to shield them from these topics we clearly are missing the mark. Elliott told me something today that tells me just how perceptive he can be. He was asking about the van and why we aren’t getting it fixed. I told him it just wasn’t time yet. He doesn’t need to know that we just don’t have the money. As I said before blissfully ignorant is our goal. What he said next showed me not only how sweet he is but also that we need to be more careful with our discussions.
This is what I heard come out of the mouth of my just turned 5 year old: “daddy, I have some dollars that I don’t want anymore. I told him that he should save his money. To which he replied “See dad, here’s the thing. I want my money to go to someone would doesn’t have any.” I said Elliott that’s really nice of you. Then he asked me “daddy, why don’t some people have money?”. I had to think because his questions were getting harder to answer on the fly. I replied, “Elliott sometimes things happen and maybe people lose their job or just run out of money”. He said ” daddy, I know what I want to do with my money “. I said, “ok, Elliott, what do you want to do?’. Then he just floored me with his response. He said, “here’s the thing daddy, I want you to have my dollars. I know you don’t have any money so I want you to have my dollars. Now you can fix the van.” I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say because I was both horrified and proud all at at the same time. We NEVER talk about money in front of the kids. I know they worry about things but all they need to know is that I’ll take care of them. I was horrified because it’s one thing for me to know that we don’t have any money and it’s an entirely different thing for my 5 year old to know. At the same time I’m proud because he showed wisdom, compassion and kindness well beyond his years and I’m in awe of who he is. I told him that was very nice of him but I will be taking care of the van and he needs to worry about being a kid and daddy will worry about grownup things.
The very next thing out of his mouth was another question. He said “daddy, I have a question.” I said “okay Elliott, shoot”. He said, “actually, daddy it’s two parts. First, what was the van squirting out yesterday?'”. I answered it was coolant and then I explained what coolant was and why we couldn’t drive the van. Then he say, “okay, here’s the thing. I really like the smell of the coolant when it turns to smoke.” sigh……… He just cracks me up some times.
I shared this because I think this demonstrates how much more kids are aware of then we think they are. As parents we need to ensure are kids aren’t burdened by our grownup problems. The other part of me just wanted to brag a bit because Elliott never ceases to amaze me.
My wife and I took the approach of including our youngest in every aspect of his care. We don't talk about him, we talk with him. We only do this because it really cut down on his anxiety. That said, when my wife and I need to talk about things that we don't want the kids to get wind of, we usually do it via txt chat even when we are sitting in the same room. No risk of little ears hearing things then… 🙂
Kids are incredibly perceptive of the reality around them.
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what empathy your boy has! it totally shows how well his needs are met..that is a well cared for youngling…
with his peer group he must know about stuff and goodies and expensive activities and he asks for none of that for himself? (cause he is so filled up with love)…..good on ya indeed!
ps…I was, on the sly (all kids at school) trying to sneak a vacation with just the little ones and myself for our first break from traveling with my really hard oldest..my pretend normal vacation. Well, somehow he got on to what was planning (RN care for 3 days) and I could not contain this child. He learned to unlock the very highest lock and I kept finding him sitting the his seat in the car.
In his nonverbal way, he was telling me he was going too. It wasn't until we all went on vacation some weeks later that he stopped. He was not going to be left behind. Like he ever gets in his seat when I ask him to load up for am drop offs…
Wow, that had to be a rough conversation.
What a great kid he is, though!
And yeah, coolant smells like caramel when it burns.
This is such an important thing to remember. I have no doubt whatsoever that some–or a lot, who knows–of my son's anxiety is totally my fault. He has heard me talking about him and then he worries and then his anxiety goes up and I worry and on and on………..I think I've only posted one other time, but know that I check in everyday…..if only to commiserate :)……….It truly helps to know that I'm not alone……