So this morning, I woke up to an interesting comment on social media regarding my blog, where someone took umbrage to our nickname for our eldest. (Nevermind, of course, that there’s an explanation in several locations elsewhere in this blog.) I won’t post it here, but suffice it to say, said person called me a horrible person… and well, my give-a-damn about people thinking I’m a horrible person is broken. So, my response to the poster was – don’t be so judgemental and grow up. But I’m going to go further here.
For starters – yes, we do call him the Monster, even offline. But what does his nickname have to do with the price of tea in China?
Just to remind folks – as I point out on the About page and elsewhere, we’ve called him “The Monster” since he was two days old. He was over eight and a half pounds at birth, which was very large to us, and we’d at that point jokingly started referring to him as “Monster” on that basis alone. As is the nature of nicknames, those things stick and acquire a life of their own.
As anyone on this cruise with us knows… you don’t end up getting a diagnosis for Autism until much, much later than that. That he was diagnosed with Autism didn’t change that we were already calling him it, and… well, let’s be honest. He even answers to Monster. (For the record, he also answers to his real name in English and in Hebrew, and to another nickname that we use in the house with him.)
But seriously. The only “monsters” that the Monster knows are the ones on Sesame Street. Fuzzy, lovable, fun things that all children love. I don’t see any of the “monsters” on Sesame Street (or heck, on Avenue Q if your imagination prefers to skew that way) feeling stigmatized based on being called a monster.
And more importantly, and what perhaps upsets me more about the situation is the assumption that it’s based on “something he can’t help in his brain”, and the judgement that’s rendered that I’m a horrible person who should “look in the mirror”. It’s the judgement of someone who is reading “child with Autism” and his nickname and deciding to be Judgy von Judge-a-lot…
And bluntly? That person can go f*** themselves. Seriously.
The Monster is a sweet, lovable, intelligent child – everyone who knows him sees this and says it. No, he’s not anywhere near as verbal as we would want, and he’s behind academically compared to his peers. He has serious developmental delays, still needs quite a bit of occupational therapy, can be a picky eater, has the occasional meltdown… but he’s our son and we love him without reservation. If the biggest drama in your life is criticizing the nicknames that children get… you need more help than my child does.
End of rant.