I read a lot of parenting blogs constantly looking for ideas. Ideas to save time, energy, money. Ideas to entertain and create. Ideas of how to relax. Perhaps you do the same thing. Lately I have been ranting on our Facebook page about the lack of depth of these blogs. "Oh poor me, my child wanting so much of my attention is wearing me out" or "Baby wipes can be used for more than cleaning a dirty bum". Really? I have ranted about parents of typical children calling a typical temper tantrum a meltdown. Sigh...some of these parents just don't get it. Maybe I am a little jealous?
Maybe I am a person of fantasy?
In my fantasy world life is, of course, perfect. Reality sucks sometimes. However, I am not deterred. I will keep up my fantasy even though every day reality slaps me in the face and says, "Hey you! Your son has autism! Get over it and go on". But, it is hard and so many days I feel, and my husband too, like we are at our wit's end.
The thing with having an autistic child is that you never know how one day will be from the next. One morning may be perfect with Sir Dantes waking up and settling into the morning with some juice and Sesame Street. He may sit down at the table and eat a good breakfast and bring his plate to the sink when he's done. Other mornings...he may bang his head against the television, throw his cup and smear his food all over the table.
Some trips to the grocery store he may sit calmly in the cart he's chosen and enjoy the ride. Other trips...he may fight, fidget, and throw items out of the cart onto the floor. Some weekends playing outside he may chase bubbles and other times try running away or break the garage door. You just never know how the day is going to go. Some days, we are at the point of feeling like we are just going to lose it! It is not fair to us, him, or his sister.
Tonight he almost burned the house down. I put the babies into bed and they both appeared to be asleep. Daddy decided to put some fish sticks in the oven for a snack. He opened the oven to check it and then started the pre-heat. Sometime after he did that and we sat down to wait for the beeper, Sir Dantes got out of bed and put his daddy's tape measure in the oven and got back into bed! Once the smell hit we ran upstairs to the kitchen and smoke was pouring out of the oven! Once the situation was secure, me and daddy got into an argument about how Sir Dantes got a hold of the tape measure in the first place. Does it really freakin' matter? This is a "wit's end" moment.
Do they make an oven with a security code to turn on? If not, I am going to patent the idea. If they do, they are probably so expensive we could not afford one.
We're not super-human with the ability to watch Sir Dantes every second of the day. But, we try and it is pushing us to our limit. Yes, there are times when we get a "break" and Sir Dantes is really into a show or his computer. However, they are not the normal lately. His actions are not meant to hurt anyone as he is actually very sweet by nature. I don't think he intends to destroy or hurt anyone although his actions may actually do so. For example, the other day he took out the chocolate cocoa and dumped it all over the floor, and while daddy was cleaning it up Sir Dantes filled up the bathroom sink with water (he closed the stopper) and flooded the bathroom. Earlier today he got the eggs out and smashed two of them on the floor.
I have been totally against the idea of putting Sir Dantes on behavioral drugs, but lately I have begin to rethink this position. He is such a smart boy. Sir Dantes turned five in February and already can spell and read. He navigates a computer better than most adults I know. He makes the most interesting designs with his train tracks. He usually uses items in appropriate fashion. I hate the idea of what drugs may do to his cognitive abilities. However, something has to be done. ABA therapy? He received some ABA therapy while still participating in the Early Intervention Programs, but they ended when he turned three. It may be time to start some again and hope that insurance will help with some of the cost.
I mean, really...what made him think that putting the tape measure in the oven was a good idea? His scientific study could have put an end to all of us.
Two nights ago I had a dream that woke me up in a panic. I had went to bed about 10:30 in the evening. The "beep beep" of the outside door being opened woke me up and I ran full speed outside in my tank top and panties yelling Sir Dantes' name. Once outside and heading to the garden my husband stopped me. "It's just me", he said, "I was checking the garage door and everything is okay". My breathing slowed down and I turned around to go back inside. Sir Dantes was in his bed sound asleep. I should have looked there first. The effects of being at your "wit's end"? Dreaming and acting out a fear that didn't even happen...
So, all you parents blogging about your problems raising a typical child with an age appropriate issue or about to go into tears because your spouse is running a little late home from work...try surviving a day with a child with autism. Then you'll realize what a wonderful fantasy life you really get to live.
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