Warning: The following story may only be suitable for mature readers, regardless of age, based on real-world mothering, the ugliness of Autism, flirting with TMI, and attention span (this one is a little LONG).
I had to call my son out on his -ish today.
He had a rough night. He had an accident while sleeping, his first in ages, and he was devastated. Weeping even after everything was all cleaned, and he was back in bed.
I assured him it was okay. We all have moments. I wasn’t upset. Everything – including him – was changed and fresh, and there was no reason to be sad.
Additional Note: Overnight training has been long, slow – and in some cases…brutal. I’ve tried a lot of different things, and have tried to keep additional caregivers (his Dad, his Oma) in the know so we could coordinate our efforts. I’ve had to let go of expectations and just learn to love my son for where he is – SIGH – that seems to be a recurring lesson in parenting. I had to learn how heavy a sleeper he is (ah, got that from me), how unprepared his bladder was for holding all through the night. And, through the years, I’ve had to make peace with doing a lot of bedding laundry.
I asked him if he wanted company, and he said yes, he was having trouble sleeping and didn’t want me to leave.
Our night was so peculiar, I didn’t push him when morning came. He needed extra rest, and I was going to let him have it. He didn’t feel well, didn’t rest well, didn’t like the idea of going to school. Well, we all have those days…and I’m about a little extra grace when it’s needed (especially since he doesn’t take advantage), so I figured, even if we needed to start late, that would be better than starting the day on empty.
I checked on him a few times after our normal get up time – he was out. Snoozed out. And then, the last time he was not. He had his 3DS out.
Ah, no. If you’re feeling better, it’s time for us to head to school.
Y’all. ERUPTIONS HAPPEN.
It was pretty bad…yelling, screaming, throwing things, self-injury.
It took a while, and a couple tries, but eventually I pulled out of him that he was still upset over the night before. He wasn’t really sick. He wasn’t struggling with something/someone at school. He was just over life because he had an accident.
But not his digital devices…
Aw, hell naw…(is what I was thinking, I didn’t actually say it).
You are sad and disappointed, but not sick. You are out of control, so you can stay home, but there will be NO DEVICES, NO hanging out at Oma’s. In fact, you’re fine enough to do chores. So you can grab the broom and sweep your room and the hallway for starters.
(And all the aforementioned badness…)
Or, you can choose to get on with life.
Because, really, why are you being so mean to yourself? Right now, you are your own bully.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN BULLY.
Everybody’s body does crazy things sometimes. Things that we don’t want to happen, or make us frustrated. Even grown-ups have accidents. And now, because that’s all you can focus on – the accident – you are in your own way of getting on with the day.
Him: Life sucks.
Yes, it does. But not all the time. So, you can take a few minutes, buck up and get ready for school (still play with devices afterwards and hang out with Oma), or you can get the broom. I’ll give you 10 minutes to have free time in your room to think it over.
In 5 minutes, he was out of his room, shoes on and book bag slug over a shoulder.
I tempted him with breakfast…Waffle Nutella Roll-up? Waffle Chocolate Chip Banana Taco?
(That one made him laugh…as intended. This mom likes to win.)
And then traded labor…
I’ll get your breakfast ready, and you can put this wash – I handed him a heavy basket filled with clothes fresh from the washing machine – out on the line.
(An OT trick of getting him busy with useful, heavy work – in this case using both gross and fine motor skills – to help him “reset” so to speak.)
And we were back on track.
Our family has a generational challenge with self-hatred and self-destruction…of being our own bullies. Of being in our own way.
I AM NOT about to let him fall into the same pattern without a fight, and I’ll give it the fight of my life.
If I can teach him to be aware of the pattern, to recognize the pit, to fight against the darkness, to love himself and give himself grace…now, not later, but NOW…then maybe he’ll be able to work through these moments better through his young adult and grown-up adult years.
Even with Autism, I want him to be ahead of the game…
Don’t lose time – and life – to the darkness, my dearest.
Fight for the light. Embrace love!