This used to be me.
The old me was in survival mode for about 14 ish hours a day. As a mom with a child on the spectrum, I would have done just about anything to avoid a temper tantrum. I am guilty of giving my child cookies for breakfast, endless Dora The Explorer (at times), and “one more minute” sometimes used to last for about 20 minutes. But on the flip-side, trying to “punish” a child with ASD, and ADHD to teach them a lesson in personal safety or for negative behavior, is like trying to smell the color purple while reciting Chaucer and juggling tourches that are on fire, all at the same time.
It was HARD. I was definitely in survival mode.
I remember one time when Willy was about three and a half, he was having a particularly rough day. He was running around the house like a chicken with its head cut off, and destroying everything in his path like a tornado. When we asked him to “stop and calm his body,” he just looked at us, smiled an evil little precocious smile, and carried on his path of total destruction! So I calmly asked him again to calm down, while taking him into my arms to try and give him a calming/deep pressure hug. Well, that was probably the worst thing that I could have done, because the second I drew him into my arms… he slapped me right across the face. ON PURPOSE!
This was a first for me.
I remember being stunned, and so was he. I tried not to show my feelings because I didn’t want him to get any kind of satisfaction out of his bad behavior, so I took his hand and walked him into his bedroom. I sat him on his bed, walked out of his room, and close the door behind me.
I never said one word to him.
First I remembered the sound of footsteps running after me, and then I remembered hearing screaming and crying from the other side of his bedroom door. It was a horrible feeling. I was totally and completely hurt by his actions. I remember the feeling of failure as a parent. And I also remember that there was NO WAY that I could possibly be a parent to another child until I “fixed” the first one. Jason I so badly wanted a second child.
At that time in my life, there was nothing outside of Dora The Explorer, Yo Gabba Gabba, doctors appointments, early intervention, and and a few trips outside the house here and there.
Our lives were a mess!!!
I felt like my life was out of control!!!
I felt like no one on earth could relate to what I was going through!!!
But BOY do I have news for you! With time, things got better. When I look back between the ages of 3 to 4, that had to be the worst time of Willys life and our lives as well. It was like he sold his soul to the devil on his third birthday, and got it back on his fourth. When he turned five, he suddenly started to have language bursts, and now at age six, he’s starting to make inferences, understand emotion, and use both of those to make thoughtful sentences with the correct facial expressions. He’s even starting to play around with his own feelings and use them correctly when he’s feeling sad, uncomfortable, hurt, or even angry. He’s even starting to use phrases like “thank you for your help” and “I need some more help, please.”
If you had told me three years ago that my life would be completely different, compared to today, I would have laughed in your face… and then cried.
The reason why I decided to share this story with you, is because things really do get better with time. I know how hard life can be with a child on the spectrum, but things really do get better and easier. We all grow and learn from our experiences, and so do our children. It helps makes us all better people because of it.
At one point in my life, I felt like I was suffocating and drowning at the same time. A very bad combo if you ask me. I didn’t have many opportunities to take time out for myself, to relax, and I was struggling to balance my home life with my work life; both miserable. But like I said, things do get better. Life gets a little easier, and we are changed people because of our experiences. I should be able to have super woman powers by now, and I do. Just not in the traditional way. 😉
If you ever need help getting though the tough times, please reach out to either me or someone close to you who gets it. I’ve been there and done that! It’s so important for you to not loose your stuffing, because your family needs you. You are a very important person who must chive on, and keep working hard towards success. AND there will be successes… you just might have to be in the weeds a little in order to get to the good stuff.