Are your kids perfect? Are they MENSA members before their 5th birthdays? Are they infallibly polite to their elders? Do they co-operate with siblings and peers and talk their problems through?
Or do they scream, fight, bite, kick, fail their classes and in general make you miserable and wonder why on earth you thought you could ever parent?
I was reading a thread on a parenting forum by the lovely Katie who posed this question. I love Katie, she makes me feel normal with her tales of throwing I-pods out the window and running in the street in her pjs.
Thing One is autistic. You can't tell, because she is amazingly intelligent (sorry! But she is, she's in the Gifted and Talented programme - so there!). She observes and learns how to interact with the world by copying what she sees. Sadly she copies her younger sister and American teen programmes so her responses aren't as accurate as they could be. She quite often comes across as shy (her view) or rude (my view) and tends to behave quite badly in new situations. Holidays are a bundle of fun, as Posh and Ally can attest since they were brave enough to holiday with us this year. But she is loving and funny and clever and you take the bad with the good and make the best of it. And persistent - no you may NOT have a degu!
Thing Two is lovely. She is a sincerely nice child. She is loyal and brave and smart. She's clumsy and sometimes sly and revels in getting her sister in trouble. She is at the dishonest stage where she didn't do it, really! Even when the evidence is all over her (case in point; playing with my perfume last week. Her room and hands were very aromatic, ugh. Her punishment was having to sleep in it mwah-ha-ha). She isn't perfect but she is a nice kid who tends to find the good in any situation, a trait I hope she carries to adulthood.
The Babe is a brat. She is spoiled by her sisters and father. She can't count, doesn't know her colours and refuses to learn farm animals. She has an amazingly advanced sense of humour and is very affectionate. She throws amazing tantrums and is a little velcro cling-on. She's inherited my insomnia but she's always so happy to see me that her infectious joy almost makes up for it. Oh, and she loves to dance, which I must tape one day because I'm telling you - FUNNIEST THING EVER.
Are they perfect? Hell, no. Do I adore them anyway? Hell, yes. Will I continue to brag about them and stuff their bad sides under the carpet? Hell yes again. Will the carpet bulge and give me away? Hell yes too. Ah well. I'm not perfect either. (Practically though...)