Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Desperately Seeking my Son

The two older kids started morning day care about a week and a half ago. Since I'm supposed to be staying off of my feet it was getting harder to entertain them in the mornings before school. Those few hours have been a lifesaver. It's a great place. There are lots of kids to play with and the teachers are wonderful. It's very structured which is very important for spectrum kids. My kids need to be given a task and a time to stop. They need those boundaries. "Free play" is too abstract a concept for them.

Each day I look online at the webcams that are set up in their classrooms. Sophie runs around with the little girls. They giggle and wiggle as they go to the bathroom in groups. (Already?!?) She chases after boys on the playground. (ALREADY?!?) She sits quietly when they do table work or go to Circle Time. She's doing beautifully.

Then I pull up Gideon's classroom. The first few days, he cried when Ben dropped him off. I would see him holding the hand of his teacher and following her everywhere. He would sit in another teacher's lap or right beside her during Circle Time. After a few days, the tears stopped but he would still attach himself to a teacher for a while. Slowly he's been inching away. However, the inching away has been to just go play by himself with no interest in what the others are doing. Today I watched as 29 kids sat in a circle and a teacher handed out some paper. They all waited as patiently as 3-year old kids could but all stayed seated. Then I saw my little boy over by a bookshelf with a ball. He was turned completely around from the kids and teachers. He was fully absorbed with this bouncy ball. One teacher passed out papers and the other was laying out plates for lunch time.

I don't begrudge the teachers working like this. This is not a PPCD class. There are two teachers and 30 kids. I'm not expecting a personal aide for my child. It just stung to see my little boy so isolated. He seems to walk alone in his own little world.

Gideon's PPCD teacher sent home a picture taken in class. I've never seen one so perfectly capture my Little Prince. He's incredibly handsome - those eyes! - but also seems...just lost or trapped. Not in a bad way but unavailable to me. I wish I knew how to explain.

I get glimpses of my boy. Sometimes we can reach him. He looks Ben in the eye every morning to say "Hi!" and kiss him. He tickles me the same way I tickle him and giggles while fully engaging me. When he is tired or hurt, he comes looking for me and snuggles against my shoulder.

But they are short little looks. A few minutes later, he is intensely focused on something else. (iPad, toys, reciting a script from a show.) I feel like the door is closed again and I begin waiting for it to open again. We'll just keep working on it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In My Head

Do I love my kids? Yes.

Do I hate being a parent of kids with autism? You have no idea how much.

My kids were given to me for a reason. I know that. I also know that whatever challenges God gives me, He will also give the resources needed to meet them. He has never once said that it would be easy. In fact, He says that it's more than likely going to be hard.

A battle.
A struggle.
A trial.
A valley of darkness.

All leave me tired. Physically, mentally, emotionally.

I'm tired of people watching my 5-year old have a meltdown and then looking at me like I'm a permissive parent who spoils my bratty kid.

I'm tired of people asking me why my son covers his ears, doesn't make eye contact, flaps his hands and babbles.

I'm tired of people asking me if Milly is "normal" and then saying that she's two and ready to be potty trained.

I'm tired of people asking me if I'm worried about Rory being normal or ignored.

Most of all? I'm tired of people acting like I'm a saint for taking care of these poor unfortunate souls. They are my kids. They are the most amazing little beings I have ever seen. There is no other option. However, I'm still allowed to be tired, frustrated, and angry at this whatever-autism-is disorder that causes me to be cut off from my incredible kids.

I have a rock, a strength, a refuge in my God. For this, I am grateful. He knows the outcome and is already stretching out his arms to embrace me before I even know that I'm about to break again. He anticipates my needs. He lifts my burdens if I am willing to give them up.

For this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bed Rest Conversations

Me: *contractions are hurting so I lie down on my right side*

Rory: "Don't like this side. Roll over."

Me: *sigh and turn to lay on my left*

Rory: "Don't like this side. Turn over."

Me: "Kid, I have no more available sides."

Rory: "Don't like that kidney."

Me: "Leave the kidney alone. It's not hurting you."

Rory: "It's touching me."

Me: "Deal."

Rory: "Don't like this side."

Me: "It's going to be a long 7 weeks."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ways I've Been That Mom

10. I regularly let my daughter walk around without pants. It's just us here, we ain't fancy and I don't want to have a half hour talk/fit trying to convince her to put her pants back on.

9. I've wiped noses with my shirt. In public.

8. My kids know the opening to The Simpsons and my daughter says "D'oh!"

7. I take advantage of my kids' echolalia by getting them to say funny things. Then I hope that they don't repeat it at school.

6. When my daughter obsessively smooths every single wrinkle from the blanket she's laid out, I smile proudly at my little OCD nutcase.

5. I have held my sobbing daughter through a particularly hard poop.

4. I sing along to Sesame Street songs and try to get the kids involved. There's visible eye rolling.

3. I've licked my hand to smooth down the boy's hair.

2. Sometimes it's just easier to serve noodles 5 days in a row than argue.

1. I've already considered grounding the littlest for making me spend 2 months on bed rest.