Raising an autistic child
Comments 8

The Less-Than-Easy Moments Of Raising A Child With Aspergers

Tucker was a fellow graduate student in my husband Neal’s doctoral program. His wife Betty was a stay-at-home mom like I was, they had two preschool daughters and lived in the same university family housing complex. You would think we had so much in common…


Tucker told Neal when his girls woke up in the morning he could hear them in their room singing and when they came out to greet him and Betty they held hands and skipped…

And Betty told me she and the girls were at the McDonald’s Playplace when a woman whom she had never met before came up to her and said,

“I have been watching you and your girls. You are such a good mom and your girls are so well-behaved. I want to be friends.”

From that day on they did everything together…


I hated Perfect Betty.

She really was nice. She was. BUT I HATED HER.

Perfect Betty was raising Perfect Kids. She cooked Perfect Meals. Her kids LIKED vegetables. She breastfed forever, they were potty trained in just days and they were holding hands and their house was like this Perfect Place.

Meanwhile at the other end of the quad we were CLEARING playgrounds. People practically RAN when we came out…


Teddy ate FOUR foods and I couldn’t get him to go anywhere near a vegetable and we didn’t hold hands and skip. Teddy didn’t even like to be TOUCHED. We were happy when we made it through the day without hitting someone or having a meltdown. We celebrated when Teddy used the potty MOST of the time.

And this is how our McDonald’s visits went:

Ted would almost always end up on top of some kid in the ball pit. Ignoring the “You Must Be No Higher Than This” sign I would climb into the play structure, hanging over the side of the ball pit with my butt sticking out of the yellow tube slide, pleading…

“Teddy come here.”

Teddy would keep hitting the little boy.

“Teddy come here RIGHT NOW.”

Teddy would keep hitting the little boy.

“Teddy I’m coming in to get you.”

And with that I would plunge into the pit of French fry covered balls.

Teddy would be thrashing as I picked him up and I’d be working just to keep my balance while walking on a trampoline which kids are jumping up and down on, up to my knees in a thousand red, blue, green and yellow plastic balls, determined to get out of the ball pit of hell and home…


I was also trying to keep my composure. It’s pretty hard to miss the grown woman surrounded by a half-dozen preschoolers in the ball pit carrying the screaming child. I always appreciated the people who would pretend they didn’t see me. I just didn’t want to be the CRYING woman with a half-dozen three-year olds in the ball pit of hell carrying the screaming child. I would cry when I got home, when no one could see and I almost always did.

No one ever came up to me at McDonald’s and said “I was watching you and your kid and I REALLY want to be your friend.”

Epic fail.


  1. I’m picking a random post to comment on. I found your blog today and I’ve been reading through and I really love your take on things. Oh, and no-one has asked to be my friend at Mc Donalds either. Well, not yet anyway.

    • Hi! I am so glad you stopped by and left a comment. Thanks! This is one of my favorite posts. The stark contrast between Perfect Betty and Teddy and I at McDonalds just sums up the early years on the spectrum! :-)

  2. WonderfullyFi says

    Oh I hate that Betty bitch as well!!
    Seems you and I live parallel lives :)
    Great post!

    • I busted out laughing when I saw your comment! So glad I had just swallowed my water otherwise it would have been all over my keyboard! So glad too that you read the post. Hope it brought a smile to your face! :-)

  3. welcometograndcentral says

    I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Liebster Blog Award, but it’s a great way for bloggers to recognize and encourage each other. It’s a compliment, blogger style. I recently received the award and, because I follow and enjoy your writing, am bestowing it on you. Read my post here http://welcometograndcentral.com/2012/09/10/my-first-blogging-award/ then write your own and link back to me. I hope you’ll enjoy paying it forward as much as I did.

  4. I love how you’ve told this story! It’s beautiful and enlightening (upon the subject) in a very humorous way. From the few posts that I have read about your experience as the mother of Ted, I gather that you’re a great mom for him- maybe not by the standards of “normal” or perfect people like Betty, but you and your son’s circumstance is hardly normal. I’m truly glad that you’ve chosen to share your stories of raising Ted…. You’ve shed light on a beautiful yet trying relationship between a mother, her family, and her son with Asperger’s, and that relationship just makes me smile :]

    • Thank you! Your comment makes me smile! I really like the Perfect Betty post. I like when I can take that which challenged me and flip it and be able to see the humor in it. I know I am okay when I can do that! I appreciate you taking your time to stop by, read, and leave a message because I really am enjoying sharing our story and when people such as yourself reply in such a positive way, well, it just makes it all worthwhile! :-)

  5. Pingback: A Day In the Park Was Not Always A Walk In The Park « Life&Ink

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