Autism Watch: 2007

Cuddle Him Up and Protect Him Forever

Posted on: October 17, 2008

Do you ever want to do that with your child? Ever want to hide him away from all the problems and sit and watch movies and eat popcorn forever in your own quiet, safe home…on an island somewhere?

So that’s extreme…a little.

My son’s mood swings this week have been up and down. Up and down. Up. Down. It’s been a really long week, with ds snapping at us for the littlest of reasons, yelling at us for nothing, angry out of nowhere, mean words, throwing things, the list goes on. Then a little while later, he’ll smile. Sometimes apologize. And the most heartbreaking of it all? He truly seems unable to control it. He’ll sit on my lap and sob because he’s a ‘bad boy.’ Bear in mind, “bad” is not a word I’ve ever used to describe any of my children. Telling a child he or she is “bad” is bad parenting, in my opinion. Kids aren’t bad. Kids are kids. Kids make mistakes, get sick, or have health issues, like autism or mood swings. So for him to say he’s a bad boy breaks my heart.

Last night, after an evening of giving his respite nurse a hard time, we had to tell him that he wouldn’t see his nurse anymore. When we told him, in front of her, she wasn’t returning because she’d gotten a new job, he didn’t react other than to smile. Thankfully, the nurse laughed to herself. (“See? He’s happy.” Argh.) She understood him, and we’ll miss her. Ds didn’t appear to really feel one way or the other until her car was pulling away, and he couldn’t catch it when he ran out the door. “I really liked her, Mommy.” Another argh. So glad you did, Son, but why didn’t you tell her that when you had the chance?

Afterwards, we tried to talk to him about it, and the other mean things he’d said to her (one example is calling her stupid). We tried to discuss all his anger, and he ran off and refused to listen. A few minutes later, he pulled me, not speaking, to a note he’d written, on top of which he’d placed a ring and ‘jewels’ that were his. The note said that he loved me forever. I looked at his eyes, as eye-contact is rare, and he started to sob. That’s when the bad boy discussion came out. He mentioned how he can’t help it, he can’t control his mad, and how the mad just comes up. Then the sad comes. Should a child have to work this hard to be a kid? Should he have emotions so strong he labels them?

This morning, I dropped him off at school and watched him run off when he saw a boy he knew, a boy that plays with him — sometimes. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, probably looking crazy to any onlooker (but I wasn’t wearing my mercury/autism t-shirt, so no one was looking) because he seemed so happy, so different from last night. I was so excited to see him spinning on his butt on the ground, ‘breakdancing’ to the Jonas Bros music played on stage. Too cute. Yet when I tried to leave, he ran to grab me and hug me so tight, it was hard to leave. The Asst. Principal walked by then, after the third episode, and called to him…off he ran!

Dh is there at the school picking him up now. I’m hoping and praying for a good pick-up, a happy afternoon for ds, and less obsession about the kids and issues that bugged him throughout the day. I’m hoping his mood swings settle down, so he can feel in control and happy. Such a smart, funny, beautiful little boy with creativity, uniqueness and solid out-of-the-box thinking deserves no less.

Autism needs more funding, more treatments available to the average person at an affordable price (or covered through insurance) and more understanding. Less celebs bashing and showing their ignorance about it. More people refusing to do anything because that one child out of 150 is not theirs. Do me a favor — if you’re not a parent of an autistic child, you know one. Or you will. Understand them, and if you don’t, respect them. Ask about their child. See if they just want to talk. Don’t limit it to three minutes before you’re running off to watch a tv show, but give them your full attention. Hang out with them. Take a bottle of wine or a six-pack of soda and some cookies. Share stories about your children, and listen to theirs, the good, the bad, and the ugly. There’s enough people out there who ignore us, stare at us, talk about us, or otherwise want to pretend it’s not there. Be the support they need.

2 Responses to "Cuddle Him Up and Protect Him Forever"

Oh man, do I EVER want to tuck him under my arm and keep him protected from the world! Every day, I have this thought at least a dozen times.

You’re doing such a wonderful job. It’s obvious from his actions (i.e. the Love You Forever letter) that he knows he’s loved and valued. That part was tear-jerkingly beautiful, by the way. 😉

I love your last paragraph, too. So poignant, yet simple.

Of course I want to keep him safe at home! And, yet I am so annoyed with the amount of time we spend at home as a family–alone. The way so many family and friends don’t “get it” and disappeared from our lives because they apparently don’t care enough to be the supportive people we thought they were BEFORE autism entered our life.

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