Browse all articles Parent Info By Kat Abianac / November 8, 2015 You know you’re a special needs parent when… You pack exact required change for 2 chocolates from the hospital vending machine while waiting for an ambulance. You own more snot-suctioning devices than is either reasonable, or anticipated. Your invitations to BBQs and get-togethers dry up. You have a hospital bag, toy bag and food bag packed permanently and left next to the back door for a quick exit. Your family and friends don’t batter an eyelid to your child getting naked and raiding their pantry. You realise you’ve downloaded several hundred apps in the App Store ‘just to try.’ You know more government departments by their acronym than a public servant. You find yourself being more accepting of other parenting styles, and far less critical of the decisions other people make in their lives. You can translate an eyebrow raise from your child with 100% accuracy. You’re constantly told that God only gives his special gifts to people he thinks can handle it and the only way to reply to such a silly statement is by smiling and nodding. You visit someone who baby proofed their house just for you, and they greatly underestimated your warning when you said ‘he’s a runner!’ Any mention of prenatal testing in a group of friends is followed with a gasp and a awkward silence. Every new thing your angel does brings a tear to your eyes. The staff in your local Emergency Department know exactly how you have your coffee. You have a fine tuned 3 minute elevator pitch/crash course for people who ask about your child’s condition. You can recite the paid parking prices at the hospital. You find your child in the fridge and rather than get cranky, you’re excited that a) They opened the door themselves b) They climbed in to a tiny space unaided c) They can say strawberry with a mouthful of said strawberry. Whenever your child does something amazing like empty a whole box of cornflakes on the floor or smash a cake into a million smithereens, you grab you phone and take a picture before slumping to the floor and crying. Because if your friends laugh on Facebook about it later, you will too. You start instantly diagnosing people’s kids with things- and quickly learn to keep it to yourself! You discover that ‘specialists’ really don’t ‘know it all’- and you’re allowed to disagree with them and tell them what you think! You get overexcited about every bit of progress your child makes, and you cry in private at every backwards step that occurs. When you walk into daycare and your son is there entertaining a harem of his favourite ladies. Words you couldn’t even pronounce before, are spelt out to your GP. The love you have for your child overcomes all of those bad moments and days that occur, more often then you would like to admit. You have strangers you now call family. You talk about (and to!) your fellow special needs facebook mum friends more than your real life friends. You’ve heard of the MTHFR gene. And you pronounce it like a swear word because you’re badass. You refuse to commit to anything, ever, unless you’re standing in front of the monthly calendar pinned to your kitchen wall. You are brave enough to have ‘that’ conversation (without tearing up too much) with the young checkout chick to point out that your 22 year old daughter with Down syndrome deserves that you look at her not me during the transaction process. She’s the one with the money… You have more meaningful conversations with your child’s therapist, than your old friends. Your favourite therapists join your inner circle of real-life friends. You know ways to remove permanent marker from every type of appliance, wall and soft furnishing. You become the supplement fairy. Your other children are far more grown up and mature, than they should be. Your child just GOING in the race is a win for you. Even if they come in last every time, you know how hard they have worked to get to that finish line. Going up a size in nappies is a huge milestone. You use sign language across a crowded shopping centre to ask your partner if they would like you to grab some beer. Seriously handy! You feed a duck some bread and when you’re done, you sign ‘Finished’ to it. o_O Your Facebook feed is jam packed with stories of kids like your own. You get tagged in inspirational stories of disability- two years after you read the original story. 😉 You turn everything into a song. The potty song. The bath song. The school song. The ‘let mummy to go bed now’ song. When you think, ‘Thank god that hospital visit is over!’ You get home and there’s a slip for another one in the letter box. -_- When you’re beside yourself with excitement that your 7yo child says ‘f*** off’ to 2 children. 1 for standing up for herself.2 for getting the words out. 3 for using them in context! When your GP asks you for advice. When you are considering quitting your job and selling your house because you cannot find school holiday care for a 6 year old in nappies! When you get told all the time how special you are. I don’t feel special. I just feel like a mum. When everyone knows your kid, even though you have no idea who they are. My child is a local celebrity! Courtesy Mark Cranitch/Newscorp You celebrate what everyone else just takes for granted, because you know what an achievement it actually is. You use the parents with prams park for your 6 year old. When you are exhausted at the end of the day, but can still look down at your sleeping child and feel so much love. You realise that material wealth, the perfect image, the latest fashion, and the flashiest house and car don’t mean a thing about how ‘blessed’ you are in life… You’re just thankful to know what the real meaning of life and blessing means. Thanks to all my Facebook friends, who contributed these thoughts on what it’s like to be a special needs parent. You can view the original thread below in its unedited and hilarious glory. And make sure you SHARE it for your friends to read!