I was saved from the brown rice, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, or at least -I- can.
Sometimes I let my child do things on his own to see what he will do – if he can handle certain things. Sometimes it is like rolling the roulette wheel. Like last fall – I stopped escorting him to the bus, and stopped waiting for the bus outside. I still stood by the window. I still watched. But he was pretty good about running out to the bus and coming into the house on his own. It was a huge deal, it was a great thing.
Tonight – I sent him into the kitchen to toss some garbage away and put his silverware in the sink. I told him he could get dessert. Part of me sort of knew I should supervise, but sometimes we have to experiment, and so I sat in my chair and pretended that I wasn’t watching or aware of what was going on in there for a minute before I got up to take my own stuff into the kitchen.
I wish I had taken a picture – because it may not seem like a thing to some people but it was kind of funny. I wish I understood the thought process that went on behind his decisions but …
Out he walks with one of those huge pickle jars.
Remarkably, nestled into the bottom is a scoop or two of ice cream…. and in his hand is my measuring tablespoon, all bent up and mangled.
Why not one one of the spoons with a longer handle?
I don’t know.
Why a huge pickle jar? Why not a measuring cup, why not a bowl? Why not… any other more reasonably sized vessel?
I don’t know.
Why did I transfer his very reasonably sized chunk of ice cream to a bowl, creating another dish I will have to wash later?
I really don’t know.
All day today I was trying to do something, I was trying to accomplish things. I wondered what was wrong with me – why can’t I just sit down and finish something? Somewhere this afternoon the answer hit me, I had just had some sort of .. OH! That is the secret key to what I am trying to do here…. … when …
“Hey Mom?” .. .. .. Damn it. All thoughts flew out of my head.
‘Hey Mom..”‘s often lead to 5-30 minute or more monologues on video games, video game systems, Episodes of the Simpsons….. all sorts of things. I say they are monologues because he often won’t let you also discuss what he is talking about with him.
Days like today I feel terribly guilty because sometimes I just want to do something. Sometimes I just want to think.. or finish something, or have a conversation. I will feel put upon or cranky. Instantly – irritation will flare up when I say anything to someone and they feel they have to tell me how “Aw, but that’s what normal kids do all the time! It’s a kid thing!” and then horrible, soul crushing guilt because you see…
He CAN talk to me. He can hug me and tell me he loves me and he is only trying to share something with me. He is only trying to communicate with me because he loves me and we are buddies. It could be so much worse, he could not speak at all. So many other parents I know with Autistic children have such bigger issues than we do.
And then I’ll feel as if I keep failing him, over and over and over again. I should be more patient. I should try harder. I should be *more* for him.
Sometimes …. I wonder where the other parents vent. I look at their blogs and they are full of love and happy and peace and they hint at the frustration they feel but… there is so much light there that I feel even worse when I have my irritations.
Who are they talking to when there has been one melt down too many that day?
You don’t need to tell me that he does normal kid things. I know.
I know how beautiful and smart he is. I know how unique and awesome he is.
I know he struggles each day, and how hard he tries.
I don’t need you to tell me that.
I remind myself all of the time, and sometimes I think you* say those things because you want to make him seem more normal to you, or maybe you want him to seem more normal to ME.
But I don’t need you to do that either.
I suppose all we really need sometimes is for someone to listen.
(Even if it is the eleventy-hundredth time we are taking about the history of Nintendo today.)
*You does not necessarily mean YOU, but the general “I’m not really talking about anyone in particular right now.” You.