I Scream for Ice Cream

Ice Cream From: HappieAspies

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?

Stephanie Stewart
I don’t have asperger’s syndrome, but I am married to a man who does and we have two wonderful little boys. Our oldest son, Wolfie, is seven and has asperger’s syndrome.
Stephanie Stewart

happyaspies

I don’t have asperger’s syndrome, but I am married to a man who does and we have two wonderful little boys. Our oldest son, Wolfie, is seven and has asperger’s syndrome.

0 thoughts on “I Scream for Ice Cream

  • July 19, 2009 at 11:09 pm
    Permalink

    @littleprofessor@xanga – I enjoyed your comments very much. Besides my husband, I don’t get to talk with adults with Asperger’s and much of what you said is very helpful. First, about that emotional place. I wouldn’t say that it feels good in the way that I would do something for pleasure, but it is a release and that makes me feel better. I am a fairly emotional person and when the emotions are running high, it is difficult for logic to prevail. Floating or swimming is a good analogy. I am not a wallower. What you said about hyper-analysing as being more fun made me laugh out loud. This is exactly what my husband does. He enjoys the debate and the banter of looking at things from all different perspectives, which I can engage in easily when my own emotions aren’t on the line.

    I am a person who likes a good formula for things. I will often eat the same things for days and I love a good routine. I am sure, in many ways that makes me a good mother for my children. The down side, or at least one of the down sides, is that my natural approach to parenting is one where I have a certain way that I handle things. It takes me out of my comfort zone to think on my feet and be creative with parenting in the moment. I am getting better at it and will keep trying because I recognize that flexible and creative parenting is what my children need. We have had many discussions at our house about what is expected and why, and one of these days I know it will stick.:)

    You are absolutely right that it is no big deal, the day didn’t work out as planned. One thing that I struggle with is accepting that when others are along for the ride. Had it been me and the boys alone it would not have effected me the way it did. Having my sisters there, witnessing the insanity made me feel uptight. It’s my own hang up. They accept my kids just how they are and make no judgements. I was just feeling sensitive.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2009 at 9:05 pm
    Permalink

    Three comments:

    First, you and I (an admitted aspie) must view “that emotional place” totally differently.  The only one I know is very lonely.  I’m primarily logical and mathematical, and when I get emotional it seems a raw state where I am even less verbal than normal.  Hence, I feel more disconnected and lonelier.  I cannot imagine sinking into “that place” as feeling good.  I actually fear I’ll get stuck in it and permanently be locked in loneliness and/or conflict — which is a good reason to play logical games that keep me out of it.  Besides, I like hyper-analysing things and putting them in different perspectives, including the big philosophical picture.  Hyper-analysing is a whole lot more fun than wallowing.  I don’t know how typical my remarks are for aspies, since I usually don’t talk about emotions much.  (Again, I’m not saying that you wallow in the emotional place, maybe you know how to float or swim.  I only know how to wallow in it, and wallowing isn’t any fun so I get out as quick as possible.  Maybe sometime I’ll have to write a blog asking what people — both NTs & other aspies — do in “that place.”  I’d love to know.)

    Second, you want someone who can relate to your life and help you handle it.  Sorry, I can’t even come close to helping you.  But maybe I can redirect your search.  I’m not sure how appropriate it is for your boys at their young ages, you’d know much better, but as they are able have a dialog with them.  Tell them what you expect and what you’re not happy with and explain why.  Then ask them for their input on how they’d handle things.  I certainly won’t guarantee that they’ll really improve their behaviour much, and change your situation.  But it seems like it would be helpful to them: hopefully it would prepare them, sensitise them, and help them to understand and respond appropriately to the feelings of others.  I’d recommend that you not be whiny (after all, like you note, you don’t want to model bad behaviour for them), but be a little overly, unnaturally, coldly logical for you.  It might be awkward to talk about your feelings hyper-analytically, but I think they would relate better and it would be helpful to them.  I’m glad you realise that “I cannot predict their behavior nor can I control it. I can only control how I handle it myself.”  Hopefully you can enlist them to see things from your perspective.

    Third, so the day didn’t go the way you planned — there was too much “complaining, whining, and no energy“.  Oh well.  It should have been a fun day; you tried to make it fun.  Oh well.  Not everything in life works out the way we want it to.  Some things are disappointing.  That’s a lesson we all have to learn sooner or later.  Your kids probably don’t blame you, they probably blame the zoo.  So don’t take their criticism overly personally.  Hope your next outing goes better.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm
    Permalink

    @aspiemamma – Thanks, I am going to try the Social Behavior Mapping when I get the chance. Yesterday I had the opportunity to create a social story for a young woman who is 24 years old and fairly high functioning – at her request! All the best…………..

    Reply
  • July 19, 2009 at 8:08 am
    Permalink

    @jeannicol – Thanks for your comment! We have tried social stories with great success. Mainly when Wolfie was a little younger, but I am thinking we may try social stories with my younger son. We have also tried creating Social Behavior Maps which is something suggested by Michelle Garcia Winner in her book Social Behavior Mapping. These outline expected behavior in a variety of specific situations, along with how others feel about it, how he feels about it and the consequences. On the reverse side you show the same situation with unexpected behavior. This has been powerful for us when I have taken the time to create a map.

    It is great to be reminded of how effective these tools are and can be.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2009 at 6:00 am
    Permalink

    Glad you don’t beat yourself up too much!! Your kids like so many others are always striving to be in control in an environment that cannot always be predictable – there are probably people involved! Of course the more predictable things are, the better the chance we have of being in control.

    For those of us on the autism spectrum somewhere, support is needed to understand new situations(or those we don’t handle well), what is happening, what folks are feeling, what is expected and even what consequences might result! This will likely have to be explained repeatedly until it is really understood and accepted; a difficult task for us to do because most often we don’t tell the story exactly the same way even twice – thus a different message for many on the spectrum!

    There is one very powerful strategy that can remedy what is described above – SOCIAL STORIES! Have you tried them?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.