Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

"Mother! Do Something!!"

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

"Mother! Do Something!!"

Article excerpt

Common words in households with more than one child, aren't they? And in households with a child with special needs, it's common in response to uncommon events!

One of the last times I heard these words in our home was the day of my younger child's high school graduation party. After having avoided having any but the closest friends (hers or ours) over to the house for years, due to the unpredictable behavior of her older brother, we were finally forced to bite the bullet and entertain on a large scale.

It'll be great!

Since a graduation party was practically required in our community, we decided to do it to the max and give our daughter a memorable event. Invite tons of people. Hire a caterer. Have a great time while responding in high style to years of accumulated social obligations.

We lined up a former teacher to take 22-year-old Pete to the movies and out to eat. He would have a delightful time, and his sister could relax. I would be free to mingle with guests and try to ensure that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Wing and a prayer

So, you know what happened, right? The sitter didn't show. Phone calls to her house were fielded by her machine. I didn't know her cell phone number. After an hour of trying to connect, I gave up. Envisioning body parts strewn across the highway, I said a small prayer for her well-being and realized I would have to come up with a Plan B.

I set Pete up in his playroom with a new movie I had been saving for an emergency. This certainly qualified. I got him a small plate of food from the caterer. I poured him a drink. I said another prayer, this time for the well-being of the rug.

For the first hour-and-a-half, Pete was fine. I circulated into his playroom every fifteen minutes or so to check on him. He was happy. Glued to the TV. Then the movie ended...

Trust me

He came out of the playroom. I asked him if he had to go to the bathroom, and he said he did. I took him into the downstairs powder room, which, in honor of our party, had been denuded of his books, spare undies, and other accoutrements. This now posed a problem. Pete's underpants were damp from summer perspiration in the west-facing playroom. Naturally, Pete refused to put them back on.

So, in my best Mom-needs-to-be-able-to-count-on-you voice, I looked Pete in the eye and said, "Honey, I don't have any clean undies down here. I need to get you some from upstairs. …

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