Since I'm a lazy bitch, I can foresee myself inviting guest bloggers over to my little domain of cyber world. It just makes my life easier. Today is the first of these days.
Introducing Jeff Stimpson, proud father to Alex, who happens to have autism. I hereby crown Jeff as Autism's Bitch of the Day. He will receive an "e-tiara and house coat," just because I'm feeling generous.
My son Alex is 13 and has been watching Elmo and "Sesame Street" most of his life. "Sesame Street" has several characters; the voices of all of them drill into our skulls. "I want," says my wife Jill, "to kill Zoey."
With all our hearts we wish Alex wouldn’t watch "Sesame Street" in the mornings before he shaves and uses roll-on; it chills me to think he might be watching the show in a day program (should the funding for those even still exist) into his thirties.
One educational (and I admit it is educational – just wish it didn’t have to educate my new teenager) segment of Elmo involves babies. "Know ya baby!" says the deep-voiced lady who probably coaches field hockey. "Here’s what to know!" Crying. Sleepless nights. Spitting up. Tell me about it, coach.
To be fair, nobody except those who work at "Sesame Street" are supposed to listen to the these lines for so many years. That doesn’t help when Baby Bear cuts loose. "And looks, a wee little kitten up in a twee." Baby Bear pronounces every R like a W. Isn’t that cute, like the tender note to an old girlfriend that a sniper might leave before climbing into the tower? Baby Bear draws a character of his own, a superhero named Hero Guy (“What a hero! What a guy!”). Hero Guy fucks up getting the kitten out of the twee. Figures. "As a hero guy," he laments, "I have failed. I tried to get the kitty out of the twee but I … I … I couldn’t do it!" Cats get themselves out of trees, loser. Get into the tower.
Lately we’ve spotted Alex watching stuff other than "Sesame Street" on his iPad: Arthur, Bear in the Blue House, even "A Charlie Brown Christmas." We would welcome the sound of these words in our house. I’m afraid the words on "Sesame Street" are why we bought Alex an iPad. It’s also why we bought him headphones.
Jeff Stimpson is a native of Bangor, Maine, and lives in New York with his wife Jill and two sons. He is the author of Alex: The Fathering of a Preemie and Alex the Boy: Episodes From a Family’s Life With Autism (both available on Amazon). He maintains a blog about his family at jeffslife.tripod.com/alextheboy and is a frequent contributor to various sites and publications on special-needs parenting such as Autism-Asperger’s Digest, Autism Spectrum News, the Lostandtired blog, The Autism Society news blog, and An Anthology of Disability Literature (available on Amazon). He is on LinkedIn under “Jeff Stimpson” and Twitter under “Jeffslife.”