Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"I just want to be able to have a conversation with my kid."

 The longer I raise him, the more I realize that having a Kiddo that can talk doesn't mean one that can successfully communicate.

As the school year is wrapping up, old behaviors are coming back. With a vengeance and I would not be keeping it 100% if I didn't admit that they are really, really, really, working my last frayed nerve. We had a time of "WTF Wednesdays", as I called them. The school did the whole FBA workup. We observed things from every and all angles only to really just figure out he just didn't like the schedule that day. He also wanted to rush through the school day to get music therapy which is after school and his favorite after school activity to do. Behavior plans were written and carried out and with time the behavior started to fade. HOORAY!

Or so we thought, because it's like someone flipped the light switch on this kiddo and we are back and this time it's personal. Seriously, Kiddo went full on Spinal Tap and cranked his behaviors to "11". (If you don't get that joke, we can't be friends. Go watch it.)  He's now gone past the usual screaming and crying to full on meltdown. (Now with new and improved throwing of furniture and classroom materials!)

It's also from the minute he opens his eyes on a Wednesday morning.  Walking on eggshells getting him ready.  Lots of crying and whining at the bus stop and me just hoping like Hell I don't see the school phone number on the caller ID. When he returns, he's better because he's about to go to the thing he likes.  By Thursday, he is a 180 Kiddo.

Today he decided to beat the holiday meltdown rush by starting his "WTF Wednesday" on a Tuesday.  It's like one of those Preview Sales before the One Day Sale at Macy's.  (Which, did you ever notice they do those once a week? Oh, I could use some new sandals. Hey, maybe I could swing by there and....STOP!  Focus Mama Fry!)  I don't know what it was about reading about all this in his notebook today that got me down but man, it just did! Like sonofabitch!  Here I was just hoping we could just coast out those last few "WTF Wednesdays". Power through them.  Just get to middle school, which starts in summer.  We'd be in a new place, new routine.  We could kiss the "WTF Wednesdays" goodbye.

But autism had to be like "Naw, Girl. We may like a routine but we are not always predictable!'

I sit here thinking "Is this going to slowly spread to taking over more of his week at school? So more and more of his last weeks of school will be nothing but dealing with this.  Is it because it's the last weeks of school that he's doing this? How do I get him to understand that we all get he's feeling anxious? How do I get him to say what's wrong?"

Ask him what hotel room number we stayed in five years ago, he can tell you that.  The birthdate of a dog that passed away four years ago, that too. Rattle off the start of any scene in The Polar Express and he will out act Tom Hanks recreating it line for line in front of you.

Ask him "What's wrong?" He can't tell me.

I just want to be able to have a conversation with my kid.  It's as simple as that.

I'd probably ask "Watching lawn mowers on YouTube. Let's start with that. What's the appeal?" 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Manners Matter

Two times on Mother's Day I got a "win". Neither of them were grand gestures or big productions but there was no doubt in my mind something we are doing is working out.

Win Number One. We ran out for bagels in the morning because one of the benefits of getting up at the butt crack of dawn on a weekend is getting fresh, still warm from the oven, bagels. Added bonus, because we live at the Jersey Shore, in the summertime we can do some fantastic people watching as we see Bennys (aka what we call the tourists)  who are on their way home from where ever they spent the night before in last night's club wear outfit and smeared make up. It's highly entertaining!  But I digress. 

Kiddo was sitting at the table and was getting kind of bouncy hyper howler monkey loud and I shot him a look and said "Hey!" and he immediately stopped what he was doing and said "Sorry!" and went back to eating his bagel.  So he not only listened to a non verbal BUT boy was my look LOUD request but he said "Sorry" to boot. Reading social cues and correcting his behavior while apologizing! Hot Damn! 

Win Number Two. As it was Mother's Day, the theme of "I'm not cooking squat" continued.  Out to get pizza we go.  Now as this requires more sitting and waiting for food and we had already done this morning, the Kiddo was having NONE. OF. THAT.  Waiting again? Oh Hell no. He is not about that life.  So he was getting antsy and ornery but we managed to kill time and the pizza finally showed.  As my husband and I were just about to take our first bites, the Kiddo declares loudly "I want bathroom!!!"

Really Kiddo? Really?  You couldn't have asked to go while we were killing time and waiting? And we both know he really doesn't have to go because the Kiddo is much like a dog and he likes to mark his turf everywhere we go that has a bathroom he can use. But there's no way we can take that chance and say "no" cause that will be the time he has an accident and off my husband goes to take him. We're both annoyed but what else can you do?

They come back and the Kiddo wants to get back into his seat. The place is crowded and we're packed right next to another full table. The Kiddo normally would not think twice about climbing over anyone and everyone to get back to his seat. He doesn't need you to move. He'll just happily flop over you. But he pulled out surprise number two. He actually said "Excuse me!" Color me shocked! So I and the lady at the other table scooted on over so he could squeeze on in.  He was totally aware of his body and our personal space and used manners! Heavens to Betsy! Who is this Kiddo?

So in the grand scheme of things, does it mean all our worries for the future are gone? NOPE! Not even close. It does make me feel slightly better that some of all this hard work we've been doing is paying off.  By no means are all the problems solved and I'm sure I will still have to remind him to use his manners again and again and again and again.  It's a start though. I'll take that. :-)

He sure didn't share any of this pizza though. Truth be told. Neither did I. ;-) 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Let's talk about something cheerful and uplifting, shall we?

I worry about the Kiddo. A lot. He is creeping up to twelve soon (EEK!) and while he doing some things that would would expect a twelve year old boy to do, he is doing so many other things where the average person is like "Wait...what with this???"

And I feel a lot of shame over noticing the stuff that just doesn't matter. So that makes me feel like even extra shameful that I am embarrassed by some of the stuff he does or is into.

And I am a proud member of #TeamQuirky. I just should not care what others think but I also know the world sure doesn't work that way all the time.

The last six months or so the Kiddo has become down right obsessed all over again with all things Blue's Clues, Thomas the Tank Engine, Backyardigans, The Wiggles, pretty much the whole Noggin channel era of TV. Thanks to YouTube, those shows never die. I'm not sure why at this age he's ALL IN with this stuff. It could be that he finally has the language comprehension to follow it. I'm happy he enjoys watching it. Certainly gives me a twenty two minute break if he's deep into an episode of Blue's Clues trying to solve the mystery before Steve ever does. He'll even play pretend with his own mini notebooks around the house recreating the episode, line for line. It's like living "Murder, She Wrote."

Steve, you're going places. College however, isn't one of them. 

But outside of the house, yeah, that's when Shame pops up. Cause he's deep in his world of cartoons and expecting all around him to be exactly right there with him.  The average kid his age is not.  Even the most understanding adult we encounter usually isn't ever aware of what he might be scripting about.

And this is when I see how NOT ready for the world he is and I feel a ton of shame because as his mom, that's my job and my fault.

And here we are all these years trying so damn hard with him to get him ready and he so isn't there.

And I feel shame every time I have to act as his interpreter, explaining to all we meet what it is that he means. They hear him singing "Dorothy the Dinosaur" at the top of his lungs but it just means he's very happy at that moment and chooses to express it in song by Australians kid musicians, as you do.

And I feel shame every time I have to explain to him "Time and place, Kiddo. Time and place." because I find myself getting annoyed at him doing these things.  I want him to be himself but there are social norms.  Like it or not. As much as I would love to just sing all the live long day too, it's not how the real world works.

And I feel shame that I simply don't take a page out of the Kiddo's own book. I need to not give a crap like he does.

Does this look like the face of a Kiddo that gives a crap about what other's think of him? I think not. 

I feel shame about shame and that's when I start thinking "Shame is such bullshit." In situations like this one, it's completely worthless.

If I focus so much on what the world won't like about my Kiddo, I won't get to see it for the things they will love about him. I don't want to miss that. Shame makes you miss the good stuff.  I've already missed enough. I don't want to miss anymore. I won't miss anymore.