Is it wrong to look at a bruise and think "Gee, that would make a nice color lipstick."?
This is my arm. The bruise came as part of Kiddo's meltdown of "Daddy Fry" leaving the house for a few hours on a Saturday. Kiddo is the president of the Daddy Fry fan club and he wasn't to thrilled to be left behind with boring old Mama Fry. So he let his displeasure be known. Unfortunately, how he does that leaves a lot to be desired.
It starts with crying and screaming for his wants. One might even think, "Oh that's just a good old fashioned temper tantrum." Don't give into that, so I didn't.
This is where autism comes. This is not just naughty or spoiled behavior we are dealing with here. This is "The world is ending. I don't know how to handle this." desperate attempts of self soothing that often lend themselves to looking more like a wrestling smack down and less like a mom patting her son on the head and saying "There, there. It'll be okay."
His favorite thing to self soothe is to get sensory input. Mainly by slamming/digging his forehead and his chin into my face while grabbing at my arms. With the Kiddo clocking in at ninety nine pounds and being 5 foot 1, it hurts. Badly. I try to "defend and deflect", like I learned in my old restraint training days back when I used to be able to leave autism behind me after I clocked out with my time card. This time he cut under one of my arms and leaned in with all his weight with a vice like grip. As he was doing it all I could think was "Sonofabitch! This is gonna leave a mark.", and I was right. It did. One hell of a big one on my upper arm. Geez, Kiddo. You couldn't do this to me during long sleeve season? It's quite visible for all to see.
Which leads to fun conversations when folks notice it. (Did I mention I am Irish by heritage ergo, pale AF. As the kids say.) So it really, really, really, stands out. "Oh my god! What did you do to yourself??" is what I keep hearing and that leads me to this moment.
The reality is it was my twelve year old son. It wasn't be accident but it wasn't premeditated either. The reality is while I will be the first one to say "A tantrum isn't a meltdown.", it's doesn't mean that they can't turn into one. The reality is I'm not going to say what happened because they will want to offer unhelpful opinions, theories, and suggestions on what I should do to him without having any real idea of what the reality of our situation is on a day to day basis. The reality is when I do tell select folks because I know they get it, it's merely to get a much needed pep talk to get through stuff like this. I know they know I'm not looking for an instant fix but at the same time I don't want to repeat this even though it sadly will happen again.
The reality is the Kiddo keeps looking at it and pointing/poking it with his finger. He knows he did it. He knows I'm not happy about it. I don't lie about how I feel about it to him though. That would be completely unrealistic of me to pretend it was nothing. I know he feels remorse for it. Right now it's serving as a visual reminder to us both of all the work we still have ahead of us.
So I will redirect, redirect, and redirect him to find other ways to self soothe that don't involve me looking like I just came out of a caged match. "Chin on the wall, Kiddo. Not my face." Even though my face is apparently perfect for such input, I'm taking on those ways of self soothing on because the reality is that it's starting to look like plain old abuse. While I love a red lip, red marks and bruises aren't working for me. Plus the future just keeps creeping up on us and this is no way to handle oneself. Ever.
This is the reality of our autism. This might not be what you deal with and if that is the case, I'm glad. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I'm his mom. I'm the one who's job it is to make him feel better but it doesn't make me his freaking punching bag.
Did I mention we're leaving for vacation soon? The reality is I will be packing my corkscrew because it's gonna be a TRIP!
Wish us luck!