I’ve read my friend Jess’ post “physical” three times today.
I know that he can’t help it. He was up at 1am. We’re going his favorite place on the planet tomorrow. It’s the first real day of summer vacation. We have no routine.
In isolation I can take it. I can rationally understand the stimming, the crashing into me. When it is just the two of us, I can let it all go. Let him be who he needs to be. Let him scream, squeal, and climb all over me.
But we don’t live in isolation. It affects everyone in the house. Constant conflicting needs. I have an older kid screaming at me to make him stop. I have a younger kid mimicking it all and infuriating everyone. I have him trying to choke or push on his younger brother’s belly because he needs a squish.
Not malicious. I know he can’t help it. But it hurts everyone else.
So I have yelled. Screamed. Yanked him away from potentially hurting his younger brother and pushing him off of me as he tried to climb into my skin.
And now I have taken away the one thing that is causing the spiral – the trip tomorrow. He has to earn it back. Rationally I know this is wrong. Putting the onus on a kid to reverse his behavior that he cannot control.
But I have four other people in the family. Including me.
They are all mad at me now.
And this all combined makes me feel not only like the worst parent in the world but the worst autism parent in the world. Because I should know better right? Me, the advocate for acceptance and understanding and tolerance. The one who goes into his school and reminds them that he cannot help how he behaves in times of stress/anxiety/uncertainty. I shouldn’t yell because none of them – my whole household full of people somewhere on different parts of the spectrum – cannot help it.
And yet, I did. And now the empty threat of no trip.
He and I sat on the stairs for a while. I held him as he screamed that it was everyone else’s fault. That they were “blowing up his nerves.”
I brought him up to his room just now. Told him this was his safe space to escape just like the Learning Center at school was his safe place there. This was his place for a break. We brought out his train tracks and I told him to build one while I got a hastily thrown together dinner ready for Gerry before baseball in the 100 degree heat.
I told him we would earn the trip back together.
But I hate this. I really really hate this.
Not my kid. Not autism.
I hate my inability to handle it. I hate their inability to handle it. And I don’t know where to go from here.
“No one said it would be easy
But no one said it’d be this hard
No one said it would be easy
No one thought we’d come this far.” – No One Said It Would Be Easy by Sheryl Crow