Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Cost of Independence

When you find out that your child has a developmental disability like autism, you immediately start to wonder how independent he or she will be able to be.  I want B to be independent.  But I also know that his development is uneven.  He's very advanced in some areas, right on target in others and very behind in others.

I struggle to find the balance of helping B with things that are hard and pushing him to do things for himself. Some of that struggle is purely selfish.  If I do it, it's done correctly with very little mess.  But there's no learning or growing there for B.

B is definitely a maker. He's forever making things.  At least once a week he wants to set up a stand in front of the house to sell things he's made.  Last week, B went to art camp and made some awesome things.

The first day of art camp I was at the allergist with Zac so Sam took B, but Zac and I picked him up. When the art teacher brought him to the car she mentioned how much they enjoyed the cheese toast B brought to camp for everyone.  I smiled and said "Oh great!" but I had no idea what she was talking about.

As we drove off B told me he had made grilled cheese for his friends at art camp.  I thought Sam had made him some sandwiches on the griddle and let it go.  When we got home and there was no dirty griddle, I had to investigate more.

Turns out that B had made the grilled cheese sandwiches himself while Sam was upstairs getting dressed.  In the toaster.  My shiny new toaster.  Not a toaster oven.  An actual stand up toaster.

I was irritated at first but then I was proud of B.  He had fixed himself some lunch and thought enough of his friends to fix them some as well.

We did have a conversation about toaster safety, what you can put in the toaster and what you can't.  We also enacted a new rule that you can't use the toaster without someone in the kitchen with you.

There's always a price to pay for independence.  If you're lucky, it's just a toaster.

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