Saturday, December 02, 2006

Just Medicate Me, Please!

Last Sunday I took Oliver to the grocery store with me as usual and he did fantastic. Until we got to the checkout. We went later in the day than usual and it was really busy and when I tried to get him to help me put the items on the conveyor belt he started to get upset. I was surprised because I thought we had worked through this about a year ago when we made many, many trips to the store for just one thing so that he could quickly see that he always got the item back after we paid for it. So, surprised as I was, I didn't persist in getting him to help me. I switched modes entirely to let's just get this done quickly and get out of here. I switched into emergency mode. But it didn't matter because Oliver also went into full melt-down mode. I could see that people were trying not to look at us. And who knows what was going through the mind of the cashier and the bagger as I threw my credit card at them from where I kneeled on the floor next to Oliver. But when Oliver got up and we both walked out together, I made sure to tell him, loudly, how proud I was of him.

Later in the week Oliver twice went into the bathroom and used it. On his own. Without prompting. We celebrated with cake and ice cream.

Then, on Wednesday, we coincidentally arrived at the park at the same moment as a friend and her children. My friend has a son Oliver's age on the spectrum and I was so happy to run into her because it had been ages since we had time to talk. But watching her son talk and try to play with Oliver and try to get my attention was hard. For the rest of the evening a comment made by one of Oliver's therapists -- about how low-functioning he was -- became an uninvited sound track in my head.

Then I discovered that another mother I know has hired the same RDI consultant to work with her. We talked on the phone for 40 minutes and our mutual excitement and optimism bouyed me. An ally. We're on different ships but in the same deep, dark water. There is no way to describe how reassuring that is.

I often wonder how different my parenting experience is from that of others. I try really hard not to blame everything on the autism. Parenting is just hard. Period. And maybe some of it is MY neurological make up. Maybe the highs of my ups and the lows of my downs are such as they are because of the way I'M wired. I don't guess I'll ever know. But as I look back over my week -- over my year -- I have to wonder if I will ever get back to an even keel.


  1. Re: your previous question: switching to beta didn't do much for me except make me drop off everyone's radar, including my site meter.

    I also can't seem to figure out how to comment anymore- I just click the "other" box and type in my URL every time. (Some of our friends might be smarter about this than I am.)

    It does seem easier to add pictures now- used to take a really long time for them to upload, and sometimes blogger would seem to forget what it was doing altogether and the picture would never load at all.

    I haven't messed around with any of the layout, but have noticed that some folks have once they upgraded. Just give us a warning that you're doing it because we might lose you...

    As for today's post... I think most of us feel the same way. A few, maybe a few dozen, good days in a row and then a random backslide. And then spending some time with some typical kids and your bubble is burst (it happened to me this week at Kate's basketball game).

    I will be curious to follow Sam's development-- I have been particularly frustrated with my little NT one this week. He's just being VERY 2.5- throwing a tantrum because I won't let him wear shorts, etc.

    I don't know how, if at all, parenting an ASD kid helps or hinders parenting an NT kid. I think I am more patient with Tommy in some ways, but his language is so good that I think we are having an adult conversation, when really he's not hearing me any more than Henry did...

    A topic for a post of my own, I guess. Hang in there, and here's to a good week!

  2. I realized soon after Gabe's diagnosis, that I was also part of the equation. That I too am wired differently than what I was so desperately persuing for myslef to appear to be. It was saddening at first, only because I had to so quickly shift directions and that can be very scary, but that I had to embrace who I had been all along.

    As for the taped message playing over and over in your mind, I have one to, it goes like this..."He's rigid in his behavior". I used to call it stubborn and leave it as a personality trait like sensitive. The word rigid took my stomach, tied it in knots and made my eyes swell with tears. It's hard to let go of somethings sometimes.

    Glad you're finding support :o) My friends with children on the spectrum have been some of the dearest friends I have met in a very long time.

    Take care,

  3. you will find your even keel! you will!

    i'm so excited about your connection with the other RDI mom. how i wish i had someone like that close by!

  4. I don't have any training in dealing with kids on the spectrum, and Oliver is the only child I've been around with autism. So maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. But I have seen his progress over the time I've known you, both going backwards and forwards. It's been mostly forward! I can see how much he's learning and growing and it amazes me and makes me incredibly proud to know all of you. (And Tobin adores Oliver too!) I don't think of him as "low-functioning" at all! You are doing a wonderful job as a mommy Christine, don't let yourself forget that!

  5. Guess I've learned to row a little better in rocky waters----and to jump ship, and swim for it, on occasion.

    What is it about the grocery story? The difficulties of delayed gratification are ever-present----and then even after one buys groceries one still has to get home with one's child!

    I have had the same experience of talking to another mother about autism (just happened in Target) and then Charlie shuts down. Not entirely sure why, but I do see it as a sign of his alertness, no matter how little he appears to be paying attention.

    As differently wired parents, Jim and I are very happy to own up to our own differences----thanks to Charlie.

  6. First, what an absolutely insensitive thing for that therapist to say, not to mention completely unfounded. Oliver is still a little boy!

    It is soooo hard for all of us to not compare our kids to NT or other ASD kids, isn't it? But, we just have to concentrate on the CANs and not the CANNOTs. I often remind myself, when I see that Conor is emotionally 2 or 3 instead of his chronological 4, "Will it be a big deal that he is emotionally 28 when he is 30 years old?"

    We too had our own little meltdown in Target that went into emergency mode and we haven't had that in a looooong time. Maybe the holidays stress our kids out, too?? You're right: parenting is hard. But, how rewarding. We have to hang onto those rewards and remember them on the dark days.

    Hang in there.

  7. I really HATE those categories of low or high functioning. It is discriminating and judgemental. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
    I t is wrong to measure ones weakness against another's strengths.
    I don't think the therapist should have said that to you.
    I for one am always looking at the othe kids strengths when we are out with other children. It really makes me feel badly. It would be worse if someone else was doing that and pointing it out ot me kwim. I know I have a few pounds to lose but I do not need any one to point that out to me. I could be fairly happy with the knowledge and then pow someone says something to me...and what a downer.