Sunday, August 27, 2017

Do you know how hard we worked for that "Hi!"?

In an effort to help keep the Kiddo busy and for me to stay a bit sane, we went away for a couple of days to a resort that has an indoor water park.  We've been to it before and the Kiddo absolutely loves it.  We like it because it's just big enough to keep him busy but small enough to keep him contained or be "on" him if trouble or an autism misunderstanding comes up.  He was pretty excited to go. I was excited to not have to cook for a few days. It was a win/win all around.

One of the times Kiddo and I hit it alone so my husband could go get his presidential history buff on and go spends a thousand hours touring James Buchanan's house. Despite enjoying all the numbers that go with the presidents (Number 15!), that is pretty much where the Kiddo's interests ends.  Since that home was without pool slides, that was not an activity for him.  I was happy to go with the Kiddo to the park because I knew he would be happy. I was happy my husband was getting his historical jollies on without having to rush or tend to autism at the same time.  I also knew he would tag me out later and take him out and I'd put my feet up and read. It's how we do vacations.  A non stop game of "Tag, you're the responsible adult!".

It wasn't too busy when we hit the park. I set up camp with our towels and stuff and tried not to think too much about the soup of kid pee and germs I was most likely wading in. This seemed to be the visit where Kiddo really didn't need me to run autism interference.  At all.  He patiently waited his turn at the slides.  He didn't cut in front of any other kids.  He followed the rules of no running and making sure he got out of the way at the end of the slides as soon as he went down them so the next kid could go.  After a good fifteen minutes I realized I could get out of the petri dish umm I mean, pool. I could go sit down! (In a seat with the best vantage point to see the whole area and be by the one escape route...ummm... I mean, exit.)

I could be like one of those parents of those neurotypical kids.  GASP!  I know.  So bizarre.

But because I am still a "Smother Mother", I made it a point to lap around the place now and then to keep tabs on him and make sure everything was okay.  This is is when I noticed that the Kiddo was in fact trying to be social.  In his usual way, he was pretty much ignoring/tolerating the kids.  He's never going to be the one to engage first. That's just him.  However, he does gravitate towards adults. I think he kind of understands that adults are "in charge" and will gladly lead him along to where he needs to go.  Be it in a conversation or when it's okay to be the next one to go down the really big slide.  As I expected, I saw him trying to engage with the only other adults in the River of Ringworm. The lifeguards.

"Hi Lifeguard!"

He might not know your name but he knew who you were.  He knew you were in charge and keeping all the kids safe. (Well safe from possible drowning. There was nothing they could do to save someone from the "Lake MRSA" they were swimming in.)  So every time my Kiddo passed by one he would stop and say hello.

We were in there for about two hours that time.  Guess how many said "Hi" or "Hey" or "Do you know anywhere else that is hiring because I can't soak in this giant pile of exploded swim diapers another day?"

None. Of. Them. Not that I saw. Not a single one.

Now, I get they are at work. I get they can't be having full conversations every single time my son swims by them.  They have to keep their eyes on the water.  Not a single one of them could smile and say "Hi" back?  Like take the 5 seconds and greet a kid. Is it that hard to do? Do they need a social story? I have plenty.  Seriously, I travel with them.  I have an app on my phone.  You never know when you are going to need one.

But here was my Kiddo happy to engage with another person, multiple times, and he was being ignored. Now because he is the original gansta of giving zero fecks, he would say it again and again.   He wasn't going to let it hold him back or get him down.  I can't help but wonder what he is thinking about it though.  We have worked so hard for years to get that kind of polite spontaneous engagement out of him and here's his moment and Pfffft. Nothing.  No response. No acknowledgement. Was he wondering to himself "Well, what's the point of all that work they keep making me do in speech and in school about how to be polite and then no one does it?"

Since I have had the Kiddo I have noticed that adults often ignore other kids that aren't their own.  I mean, I get it. If I hear a kid screaming somewhere I do the quick check of "Is that mine? No?" and breath a sigh of relief that I don't have to be "on" in that moment.

 Now that I have a Kiddo who has worked so freaking hard to get where he is with his speech and communication, any kid that starts talking to me, I answer them. It takes little effort on my part. We as adults are always on kids to be respectful to adults and yet when they are friendly and say "Hi Lifeguard!", they get ignored. It's kind of hypocritical, don't ya think?  So that's how I pay it forward into the universe and say Hello back.

Because it's the freaking polite thing to do and shit.  Be nice and say "Hi" to my Kiddo.  We worked hard for that god damn "Hi". Spot him a head nod or a ""Sup?" back.  It won't hurt you.

I might though. ;-)

Kiddo climbing the steps to the slide so he can jump in to get a fresh coat of kid cooties all over him. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August Angst Part Two. Electric Boogaloo

*clock strikes midnight ushering in August first*

August. I freaking hate this month.  If you follow me on Facebook, you know already that Kiddo hates Wednesdays so much we have dubbed them "WTF Wednesday" because we have just grown to accept that the day is going to suck donkey balls.  It's just how it is.

How he feels about hump day is how I feel about August and Autism. It is not a good combo. Not a good look for the House of Fry.  Not. At. All.

I do not know what it is about this stinking month but the Kiddo, like clockwork, falls apart every single year.  Maybe it's the ending of ESY and the long stretch of no structure ahead.  Well, no structure from school.  Trust me. Mama Fry runs a tight ship around here. Correction, Kiddo runs a tight ship around here.  Maybe it's being away from his classmates and being an only kid makes him feel lonely. Maybe it's the planets being out of sync with the Sun and the position of the Moon.  All I know is, it's it's consistent with being Hell wrapped in chaos topped with a mayhem bow.

But we power through because despite me trying to convince my doctor that I need to be placed into a medically induced coma for the month, I have no choice.  I'm not really taking it one day at a time but more like one moment at a time.  It's all I can do.

What I do have in my corner is a little help from the state's Perform Care system.  We finally have some people coming to the house to work with the Kiddo and it's been going pretty well.  We have successfully gone through the stages the Kiddo getting to know them. Phase 1, act adorable. Phase 2, act mischievously. Phase 3, question everything. Phase 4, raise HELL. Phase 5, Accept the fact these folks are coming to the house.  The honeymoon period was definitely over when he first melted down hard in front of them.  He usually only saves that for folks he loves, so honestly, they ought to take it as a compliment when he tried to lunge at them.

Since it's going well, we're adding to it.  Behaviors are our priority right now, followed by being an independent person a close second.  It's also made me aware that while I need to add more of that to his routine, we need to end some of the parts of his old one.

Like finally breaking up with the magical speech therapist who graduated from Hogwarts.  You may be thinking "Isn't this the one that gets him to eat all sorts of different foods? Are you crazy?? Wait, she'll have an opening. Does she take my insurance?"

But it's absolutely time.  Speech wise, it's as good as it's going to get with him.  I knew there would be a time where we would have to make choices like this.  When to stop things even though those things weren't completely fixed or done or I don't know what to call it.  I've had to break up with therapists before.  (Read all about it here.) I don't know how this is going to go over with the Kiddo as he absolutely adores her and I have a mad respect for that woman. I'm sitting here thinking "Can I bring a six pack to the final session? Cause she's really earned it."

There's a small part of me that's like "Girl, why on earth are you making a big change like this in August?" but I also know that I accommodate my Kiddo A LOT. Delaying things a month or two isn't going to give him what he needs.  If things are going to be topsy turvy,  might as make the changes that need to happen anyway.

Oh August, you make me your bitch every year. I know I've said it before.  Autism is easy. It's the anxiety that comes with it that needs to go kick rocks in flip flops.

Wish us luck and a quick month!