Pages

Friday, 4 July 2014

In which I make up phrases. Good ones.

Something that often comes up in conversation when you get a rowdy bunch of parent carers together (as if there is any other kind) is what I call the daft comment factor.  Pretty much every parent carer I know was actually a person before they were a parent (yes, really), so we (speaking on behalf of a lot of people I know) understand that you might feel awkward...

...which reminds me, have you checked out Scope's End The Awkward campaign yet?... 

• • • • •




• • • • •

A truism of social interaction is that sometimes, when we (the royal we in this case, as in we the species) don't know what to say, our brains, blank and empty, suddenly realising we are staring or smiling or doing something else that we worry might be taken as insulting or upsetting, panic.  That panic might show itself as a frown and looking away, which can create kind of a feedback loop of panic - oh no, they noticed I was looking, I must look away >> they saw me frown, I must smile so they know I wasn't frowning at them >> I can't stop smiling, they might think I'm laughing at them ...  You can see how this works!  

At some point over-explaining-ness might take hold - that can be pretty amusing to observe.
Hi, I just wanted to say that I've never seen wheels like that before, did they come like that, with the patterns on like that?  My daughter had a bike when she was little, the wheels had the same thing but a different pattern on and she loved that bike, rode it around when it was too little really, but she loved it that much...

• • • • •


• • • • •

Often just at the point where the over-explaining-ness has dried up and they aren't sure how to end the ... I want to say conversation, but up until this point it's too one sided to call it anything other than a babble session, or (as Petal calls it) a word vomit (I know, she's very ... descriptive), people start asking the FAQs - here are just a few...

Q:  Will he get better?
A:  No, he's not sick
Unless he's ill of course (duh), but something you 'get better' from is, by my thinking, something temporary, that will pass in time - closely linked to ...
Q:  Will he grow out of it?
A:  No.
Your genetic identity is pretty much set - aside from some exciting developments that so far have a very narrow applications, who you are is who you are.  Smiler is as likely to grow another arm as he is to grow the missing code in his DNA.

Q:  Is he really good at maths or music or art or something?
A:  Nope - are you?  So why would he be?
I've heard this described as The Rainman Effect.  Dustin Hoffman very convincingly portrayed an individual who would now be fairly widely be accepted as autistic, a condition which can very occasionally be associated with a talent in a particular area - often numbers or music.  Thought to be somehow related to the way in which the minds of these individuals process information, this is very rare, even though TV programmes and films often seem to give the opposite impression.  The vast majority of individuals diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum are not incredible musicians, amazing artists or gifted mathematicians.  I know - what a shock^!


• • • • •


• • • • •

I think that when there is something obvious that makes your family more noticeable for any reason, such as a child in a wheelchair, having 14 kids, or having two same sex parents, you kind of have to develop a response of some sort, a quick answer or two perhaps, otherwise you'll end up lost for words all too often.  Besides Smiler being far from general issue, the other common reaction we got was when people realised we had three kids well under three - we were asked if we were Catholic (we're not); if they were all both of ours (they were); and my personal favourite - don't we have a TV (we did).  The quickest way to shut people down (in a friendly, non-stroppy way) with the last question was always to say 'yes, we do have a TV ... We just found something more fun to do than sit watching it.'

How about you - what's the silliest or most personal question you've been asked about your family or your choices?  Do you have stock answers that dissuade further questioning, or do you answer everything?  Or does your response depend on how you're feeling?

Have you had experience of being on either side of the feedback loop of panic, over-explaining-ness or even word vomit?  I'd love to hear how you respond!  I'm thinking pointing and giggling as you tell the lady at the bus stop 'you just vomited words!' could be quite an interesting situation, so come on, share with the group!

• • • • •

^I apologise for the sarcasm, insomnia does not agree with me.  Or else it agrees with me too much and we get silly and giggly and sarcastic when we spend too much time together.

5 comments:

  1. If I had a pound for every time we'd been asked if we had a tv I would spend it on a huge widescreen tv just to stop the silly questions! Wonderful post and true on every level x #pocolo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My thinking is that if they ask personal questions then they can't really grumble about getting personal answers! Thank you for reading Louisa, and for joining in the discussion - it's lovely to know I'm not posting into the big black hole of the world wide Web, never to be looked at again!
      Take care
      Lucas

      Delete
  2. This is brilliant. I hate when people say (some smugly) that they guessed Gabe had problems before we did. We were taking him to appointment 4 times a week... you know what we did know lol xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. The other one that gets me is the 'helpful' advice people give, but that's another post entirely! When you're living it I think you have a completely different take on comments like this, and I honestly do think people feel awkward and don't know what to day, but for me, if someone I know even slightly said 'you know what, I really don't know what to say, I hope you're okay' that would be fine - I get that people look, I get that tyhery feel awkward, it's only when it is pure nosiness or just plain rude that I have a problem with it! Thank you, Alison, for reading, and especially for taking the time to leave a comment - i really appreciate it.
      Take care
      Lucas

      Delete
  3. Interesting post. I experience a different kind of 'word vomit': my baby son died in March this year. Many people are great, but some people just don't know what to say so come out with something insensitive or in appropriate. I've been told I'm a 'conversation stopper', and that 'my baby is now in a better place', amongst other treasures. It can be an awful lot easier if people just say 'I don't know what to say...'

    ReplyDelete

If reading this has made you smile, or left you feeling sad; if you're fuming in anger, or shaking your head in disgust; if you'd like to share something, or just want to say hi, please do so here. Thank you.