Wow! Ages since I last posted anything. Why? Well, crazy… lots of crazy! My baby started walking at nine months old and he’s quite mental. Walks, falls, smashes his head. Climbs the oven door, out of the high chair, out of the walker, up the back of the lounge and now out of his cot!!! Argh! Basically it means we have to have one of us on him at all times. He needs to be followed, tracked and grabbed or he just crashes and breaks himself in one way or another!
Mr 10 is having suicidal episodes and really struggles with stuff at the moment so that’s quite hard work. He is up one minute and really really down the next. He is back to throwing tantrums, although not as bad as he used to. Still, it’s hard work. Take today for example.
He does a trampoline class that has been moved to Tuesdays. I try to arrange every second week to take him up to the central coast to visit and play with his ‘cousins’, (actually they are my husband’s uncles’s children) and give him much needed peer contact and practice socialising. Probably about 1 out of 4 of these organised days gets cancelled due to the kids in question being ill. They go to regular school, and there are three of them, so it’s bound to happen! Unfortunately, Mr 10’s autistic aspects really can’t deal with this change of plans. We couldn’t go last week as they were sick, then the play date was cancelled again this morning as the youngest brother became sick. I did all the necessary emotion coaching required around telling Mr 10 that we couldn’t go. He didn’t really cope.
He kept asking me all day to text and check if the sickness was better now and could we still go. This continued right through his trampoline class every five minutes asking me to text. I kept explaining patiently, that it was not the socially acceptable thing to keep asking when the answer had already been ‘no’. That people find that quite annoying and intrusive and it’s just not appropriate. I also kept emotion coaching him that I understood this was frustrating, disappointing and difficult for him to accept. Finally he had enough and left the trampoline class. He went next door to the out-of-bounds baby play area. If he keeps doing that, eventually they’ll just say he can’t come to the gym anymore. That will end up being another activity he gets thrown out of and I can’t take him to. 😦
I got him out of the area calmly. Then instead of going to the car, he decided he was going to walk to his cousin’s house by himself. That being said, he left. No shoes on. Just walked up the road by himself without me. I can’t chase him, I was carrying the baby and a heavy bag. I got in the car, strapped the baby in and drove off to try and find him. Fortunately I managed to get him to get back in the car. I patiently explained why that was not safe and not OK and that he can’t just do that despite having all those feelings. He didn’t care. He insisted that I drive there right now. I ignored him. Repeatedly. For 20 minutes.
He then threw a water bottle at my head and insisted that I turn around as I was going the wrong way. I ignored him. His baby brother sat silently watching. 😦
Finally he realised I wasn’t going to give him what he wanted. He asked if he could go for a bike ride to calm down instead. I agreed, but his Daddy had to go with him. Daddy is home a bit more at the moment as he was recently made redundant and is contracting at the moment. He returned from the ride much happier and ready to do the lines I had set him for breaking the rules. Fifteen times of “When I have big feelings, I still need to follow the rules.” He hated that statement. But he wrote it out fifteen times. Then he did all the schoolwork for the day. And he was very well behaved all the rest of the evening. Argh.
Hard work at the moment. I can’t get him to go to the social homeschool gatherings at all. He hates being lonely and wants friends, but he was even preparing to tell his cousins off for losing interest in his current obsessions and not wanting to play those games with him! Most kids won’t tolerate that. Rightly so.
He’s also had a number of good and bad run-ins while on holidays and out and about generally with people. More bad than good lately, and I’ve found myself apologetically stepping between him and an angry parent or two saying, “sorry, he doesn’t mean it, he can’t help it, he has autism”. Usually the parent will then simply remove their own child and I see them whispering and talking and looking at us. Sigh. I don’t care. And I care a lot.
Sometimes my mum will say stuff to me like, “why don’t you try telling him this, or that, or try to get him to try this or that?” and it makes me feel like she thinks I’ve never explained to him how people expect him to act. Of course I’ve explained that it’s not OK to be rude to your grandparents. Of course I’ve told him not to run away. Of course I’ve told him over and over that schoolwork is important. He doesn’t learn from what I tell him. Or if he does, he just can’t bring that lesson back up in times of anxiety or stress. I pick my battles, and to other people, including my husband it may look like I don’t battle him on anything at all. In reality I actually battle him on almost everything! I just don’t voice it out loud or my whole day, my whole life would battling with him.
So, I am in a bit of an unstable area at the moment. That’s not too bad though as I am tough. Mentally and emotionally. I keep going. I quietly fight with those who think I’m not doing things right. I keep going because there is no other choice really. I keep trying. I keep finding new things and I keep myself if order so that I can support those around me who struggle with Mr 10 more than I do. I step in carefully when needed, but still try to allow them to learn. Yes, it’s tiring. It’s hard. But I do it. I’ll keep on doing it.
I can only hope that one day we’ll get the right mix of medication and therapy that will help Mr 10 to really settle into his life and himself. I try to focus on that even though I also find myself preparing to find him one day having followed through on his threats to kill himself. Why do I do that? Because he’s impulsive. He has a mental illness and there is a real possibility that one day when he’s in his teen years, he may just make the wrong decision and do it. I can’t watch him so closely as I do now, forever. All I can do is keep working now to make that less likely.