I know that Asperger’s sometimes looks like your child is spoiled or over indulged, but that doesn’t mean they are. I know that kids with Asperger’s tend to fall apart sometimes and that it really is no ones fault. I know that I am a good Mom and not a complete failure at raising children. I know all these things. Some days it is hard to convince myself though.
I have a shelf full of books offering advice and opinion about my Asperger’s, out-of-sync, sensory sensitive, over-stimulated, sometimes just typical little boys. What good are they really? I mean, I’ve read them like they were the bible, and sure, there are some nuggets that have been valuable and that work for us occasionally. But when push comes to shove and I need something to work or I need a strategy right NOW, I’m getting nothing from these books. What I need is a comrade. Someone who gets it. Someone who can share a specific story from their life that I can relate to, and tell me how they handled it.
Here is how I handled the fall out from today. Mint chocolate chip ice cream and Scooby Doo. The ice cream was for me and the Scooby Doo for them. It is working beautifully. It is the reason I have time to write. And I am so thankful for that too.
See, earlier today we went with my sisters to the Zoo. I never know what to expect from an outing like this and today it was lots of complaining, whining, and no energy for walking. That is, of course, until I decided it was time to go home. Then it was complaints about that and plenty of energy for arguing, hitting and general mayhem on the way home.
I sent both kids to their rooms and cried while listening to them laugh hysterically and say the word “vomit” to each other over and over again. I didn’t mean to cry it just sort of happened. I was sitting on the floor in front of my bookshelf, talking to Eliot and I felt so desperate. I looked up to the shelf searching for something that would give me the answer to my situation. It occurred to me as I looked from cover to cover that the answer was no where in these books. It never was.
Poor Eliot, after hearing me say that the books were meaningless, tried to have a philosophical discussion about how the books are just one tool and the answer lies within me. I was in no shape to have that discussion. This was not obvious to him because he also has Asperger’s and it is easy for him to shift from his emotional mind to his logical mind. I don’t think he understands that sometimes it feels good to sink into that emotional place. To not fight the emotional with the logical.
Sometimes I just have to give in to the, this is just really, really hard and what the hell did I do to, blah, blah, blah. Today is one of those days.
I don’t stay there long. But it is just long enough to know that I don’t want to be there. I think it is hard to feel strong all the time without sometimes feeling weak. If you are never weak, how do you know you are really holding it all together?
It takes a lot more than just one bad trip to the Zoo for me to feel as desperate as I was feeling today. It didn’t help that a few days ago my children unleashed the severity of their behavior onto my unsuspecting in-laws, which made it so we had to pick them up from the sleepover they were having at 10:30 at night. It also doesn’t help that Hammy hasn’t actually fallen asleep before 11:00 once in that last week. This isn’t because he hasn’t been in bed at 8:30. He just won’t go to sleep.
When we have weeks like this, it is so hard not to look at the big picture. I feel compelled to look ahead to be prepared for or to predict what might happen in another situation or too look back to see how we might have handled something differently. This leaves me feeling somewhat desperate and very short on time. I am desperate to control a situation that is never going to change. It is uncontrollable. And it has not much to do with me. This is the hardest part of parenting my children for me. I cannot predict their behavior nor can I control it. I can only control how I handle it myself.
So now we are back to modeling again. It is so hard to model the behavior I want from them when I want to scream at them to stop whatever behavior they are engaging in. So much harder than it sounds. That it is the hard thing to do means it is most likely the right thing to do.
After all, nothing in life comes easy, right?