After catching myself this morning saying, "Tyrannosaur, will you please open the safety gate for Tyrantina?", and realizing...wait a minute...I'm entrusting the operation of the safety gate to a 3-year-old. But he's a Mad-Scientist Aspie 3-year-old. I know he will unlock it, open it for Tyrantina, and then lock it again because those are the rules... It got me thinking. How far have I wandered from my image of an ideal parent? Is it just that he's the youngest, and the older ones wore me out? Or is it that raising difficult children has made me a different person, and a different parent? I think I have changed a lot. Four out of our five children have issues of some sort: - difficult child, well he's the child who brought me to this board all those years ago. Explosive rages, Aspergers, paralysing anxiety, paranoia. Finally a diagnosis of bipolar that helped us to make sense of it all. - easy child, with Dyslexia, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and anxiety. - Tyrantina, the Mood-Swing-erina. I suspect bipolar, but at 3 years old it's too early. She also seems Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)-ish. - Tyrannosaur. He just screams Aspie all over. And then there's Step-D. Normal, in that she's neurotypical, but she has a great whopping dose of PTSD from the years of torment she suffered at the hands of her bio-mom. I think if Tyrannosaur or Tyrantina had been my first child, I would have been in a flight of panic trying to figure out what's wrong with them. But after all the years in the trenches, I can't even quite bring myself to label either one of them a difficult child. Well, not yet anyway. Time will tell. So...how has parenting a difficult child changed you?