Today was one of those days that I almost lost it. I had gone shopping all day in Asheville to get business supplies, and finishing up my Christmas shopping. Kaylee bug and I had a pretty good day over there, although she got called a "boy" twice. I knew Will had to be picked up by 4:30 from preschool, so I hurried home to get him. We have the usual routine of getting his belongings, telling his friends bye bye, and heading out to the vehicle. One thing that I forgot to do was to fold my visors back up after having them down to block the sun. This was an automatic melt down. Then he dropped his "blankey" so another screaming fit. As I drive away, I once again forgot that the doors automatically lock, and Will cannot stand for his lock to go down. So he screams and screams until you unlock all the doors, or he pulls it up himself. We finally reach our destination of home sweet home!! As we get out, Maggie (my dog) always greets him with a slight lick, or nose to his hand. He screams and screams and smells his hands because she smells. We then have to wipe his hands on my pants because "that makes the smell go away" you know. We go inside, and if the ceiling fan isn't on, he will turn it on. If the Christmas lights aren't on in the house, he yells "fix it" until I turn them on. Then we have to plug in his small Christmas tree in his room, and turn his music on.
Today he was in rare form. Grouchy as all get out. He's going through this new thing where he doesn't want the fan lights on while the fan is on. Get it? So I am trying to break him of this, and it is rather stressful. Needless to say he wouldn't eat dinner tonight. I was absolutely FREEZING trying to eat dinner tonight in the kitchen. The ceiling fan was going, and the light was on. I turned it off, and the meltdown began. I try and try to explain that it is just way too cold to have the fan on! Will doesn't understand. He wanted the fan on, but the light off. Well who wants to eat in the dark? Finally I got so fed up with the screaming and crying I turned it on and went to the living room. I can't even eat dinner in peace and quiet without this OCDness. I have to hand feed him all the time like an infant. He can't use utensils very well, and doesn't like to touch a lot of foods. He is over 3 years old and cannot feed himself. He then found I bought a bag of treats for the dogs. He thought it was "chips" for him. He cried and cried and screamed and screamed. I kept on and on telling him those are treats for the dogs! He doesn't understand. I just had to listen to the sobbing for 20 minutes.
Life is so frustrating at times. You wish your child could understand you. Will cannot tell you his own name, can't tell you how old he is, can't blow out candles, can't close his eyes to rinse his hair in the shower (so soap gets in his eyes) can't pull up his pants, underwear, ect. Can't put on his shoes, socks, ect. Can't brush his own teeth, spit, tell me when he's not feeling well, hungry, what food he would rather have, prepare him for a visit to the dr or dentist, grocery store ect, or WHAT HE WANTS. Pretty much all Will does 24/7 is grunts and screams it feels like. I get so frustrated, because I know he is beyond frustrated, trying to understand what he is needing. He honestly cries more then Kaylee (his 9 month old sister) ever has. I pray and pray he will grow out of this crying stage. It's not just a regular cry, it's the long, drawn out cry that gets under your skin, and there is nothing you can to stop it. People stare when we are out in public wondering why my child is acting like he does. He screams at anyone who comes up to him and talks to him. I am getting to where I absolutely hate going out in public. I have had problems in the past before I even had Will with having to go out in public. I had such terrible anxiety. I felt like everyone was staring at me when I would go to the grocery store, or even out to eat. I couldn't enjoy a meal because I was too worried about what everyone else was thinking about me. I am currently on medications for that, and has helped tremendously! I now go out shopping to Asheville by myself with the kids. But now with Will, I am having to deal with the grunting and screaming at everyone.
Will has been diagnosed with autism. He is between mild/moderately severe. I have always know something was "different" with him, but just thought it was like everyone around me was telling me, that boys are slower than girls. He was a slow crawler, slow walker, talker, ect. He has always been a neat freak. If something spilled, or was dirty, smelly, ect. he would have an issue. I thought this was a good thing because his room is always clean! He also has a rather large head. They always tell me it measures off the charts. They are also wanting to do a genetics test. I am not doing that because I really don't see the point of telling me that he is autistic because of Jim or I's genes. I think that is just another thing to worry about. Since we have had the diagnosis, people are wanting answers, and ways to work with him. Well it takes time. We first have to find out how Will learns the best. IE: Visually, manually, auditorially, ect. They ask what am I supposed to do when he has a meltdown. Well, there isn't much you can do. You have to learn your own ways that work best with him. Some say you have to hold them tight during the meltdown, and that has worked with Will so far. I also try to get his mind off of the situation by changing it to something else. But the number one thing I probably do (and the dr said she would do it too) is to not leave open those options of a meltdown. I know it's sad, but I make sure things are the way they need to be before I get Will up in the mornings, pick him up from school, eat dinner, ect. This way I have to deal with a lot less meltdowns.
People may say that we just give in too much, or we don't discipline. Well those people obviously don't have an autistic child. I have spanked and spanked in the past. It does not work. Recently I have stopped spanking as much, and am trying the time out deal, or sit on the couch and chill out, sitting in his room until he calms down, or just ignoring it. Honestly you can beat an autistic child to death, and it will not help them one bit. They cannot control their emotions. I do beleive Will will improve as he gets older, and things will get easier for me. Once he can talk, I think that will help tremendously. Today was a lot of the screaming and crying. My head was pounding when I put him to bed. I often wonder why God gave me a child that I feel like popping his head off sometimes, and constanty pushes my buttons. Why couldn't I have a normal son? I know God does everything for a reason, and I am just telling myself that over and over. My patients used to run very short, but since Will, I have patience like you would not believe. Just keep thinking of us, we need it. As Christmas approaches, I hope one year Will can finally understand what it is, and will be looking forward to it. As of now, he has no idea what Christmas is, when it is, why it is. I want him to be able to have that feeling of excitement we all had when we were younger. I love him so much. Words cannot explain the love I have for my precious boy. I thank God everyday for him. Even days like today that I was glad to see him go to bed!