Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's Not Me, It's Him!

Have you ever had one of those times where you realise something about yourself that you sort of knew, but never fully acknowledged for whatever reason?

A few days ago, I realised that I stress alot whenever I have to take my little man anywhere. I mean, alot.

I realised that I become very highly strung. Very irritable. And sometimes, I get very upset when unexpected variables are thrown into the plan at the last minute. Hah... maybe I should have myself checked for Aspergers or something :).

But seriously, I stress alot.

As I sit down to analyse why I feel this way, thinking again that I have a problem, I realise that it isn't all me. It actually does have alot to do with my son. At times like these, I am worrying - justifiably I might add! - about whether or not he will cooperate; or whether he will have a tantrum and make us late ... even just him screaming in the car is enough to stress me out sometimes. It's alot to take when you're already dealing with it for a good part of the day. I won't say he's like this all the time, but the times when he becomes difficult are usually associated with being out and about and the process of getting ready to go.

From the first minute of the day, I am having to coax and cajole him ever so gently. Gently wake him up if he needs to be woken (I hate doing this, he is always grumpy); sweetly coax him out of bed; patiently tolerate his squirming and protests when changing his clothes and nappy; woo him out of his bedroom.... sometimes he won't even come out until I take his hand and walk with him.

To get to the car I have to try and get his shoes and jacket on. He squirms and wriggles and won't stand still. I am currently breaking his pattern for putting shoes on, so he does sit on the couch without too much complaint now. But he slouches. And squirms. And moves his feet so I can't do the laces properly. Then I have to get him to the car....

We walk the same pattern, but sometimes, for whatever reason, he feels something is wrong and won't walk willingly. I have to wait until he's ready. He might stand at the door and stare for a minute or two, until he is ready to move on. When he climbs into the car, he walks up and down in front of the back seat and then stares at his chair until he's ready to climb into it. Then he stays on his knees looking out the back window till he's ready to sit down and be strapped in. I have to be soooo patient, and sometimes that is just so hard to do when you've got time constraints.

Sometimes, it's just all too much. And this is just the day to day routine of taking the big girls to school!

When we go somewhere new or different, I don't know what he's going to do. Sometimes, he is perfectly fine. Other times, he is so upset at the changes, that he just cries and tantrums the whole time. I can't relax. I never know when he's going to do a runner on me either. So I'm constantly watching him... following close in case he makes a dash. People think I'm overprotective and paranoid, even if they know he has Autism. I'm not. But they just don't get it.

My boy doesn't understand the world the way other kids do. It's a big and frightening place for him sometimes and he doesn't understand it. New places often means tantrums and that means that I am occupied with calming him. Usually kneeling on the floor beside him, speaking calmly, gentle words, gentle hugs (when all I want to do is shake him out of it and yell at him to get over it). This usually means I can't carry on a conversation with anyone. Or attend to the baby, or the big girls. It's very full on. And I am so tired of it. I'm just tired of being so on the edge all the time. It gets so draining.

So I guess that is why I stress hard whenever I have to take my boy anywhere. I know what's in store, I know the mental resolve required of me, and sometimes I'm just too exhausted for it all.


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