I didn't even remember what website I blogged on that's how long it has been since I have done this. That's really strange for me. It's not like I haven't had anything to say for over a year. But the fact that I am taking time away from studying for my big physio test tomorrow so that I can jot down my feeling today means that there are many things prattling around in the brain.
Today at work I received the dreaded call from Ethan's school. I have been steadily getting calls a least once a week from the school about Ethan's behavior for the last 3 weeks or so. This means that I have to leave work, head out to the school, and go fetch my child and either, calm him down and send him on his merry way back to class, or pack him up and head home. On top of the IEP meetings and such. He is having a rough time again this time of year, and while last year we thought it was based around a certain life trigger, this year there was no such event that could have caused this. It's just his form of spring fever.
Now, when I have to come and get E from school I never know what state I will find him in. The first time I was called was because he was having an epic meltdown where he destroyed three classrooms, only for me to find him happily having lunch in the cafeteria. The next incident he was curled up in an assistant's lap crying his eyes out, it took me an hour to get him to calm down enough for me to go back to work. Today when I got to the school, I found Ethan in the boys restroom with a shirt and underwear on and covered in water and soap bubbles, he was in such a state that he didn't even seem to know I was there for almost ten minuets, despite me talking to him, he just looked right through me. It was such a weird feeling. I have always said that we are "blessed" that Ethan falls into the high functioning category of the Autism spectrum, lately I don't feel that way. It is hard. Harder than I would ever wish for anyone to experience. Maybe it's because he is so high functioning that we expect more from him? Maybe because of that we don't think that these types of behaviors should happen? Really though, no one told us anything.
I cannot even begin to explain how deeply frustrating it is telling your child that every time he goes poop he has to wipe, flush, and wash, because it's a miracle if he does so without us telling him. Or that we need to guide him through showering: Get in the shower, wash hair, wash body, get out of the shower, because if we don't he will sit in the running water and not do a single thing. The boy that most people see, even close family, seems perfectly normal for a 7 year old child, maybe a little quirky, but normal. The boy we see is vastly different. Can you imagine the emotions you would feel finding your son with out his pants and shoes on in the boys bathroom covered in soap bubbles and hearing that he peed on not only himself but was trying to pee on the aids in the bathroom trying to keep him safe too? You'd lose your damn mind, and that's what I did. Out of my frustration I started to cry, and I really hate crying in front of others. But I am just so damned exhausted, and frustrated, and tired. And I feel like a failure. I feel like I am a terrible mom. I punish him because I don't know what else to do. Because if I don't I am too weak and am going too easy on him. I get judged by my own family for the parenting choices I make, I am seen by my co-workers as untrustworthy since I am always having to leave work, to some of my friends I complain too much about how hard things are. Not to mention I can always feel the weight of folks stares if we go anywhere in public and he loses his mind. We have had people move away from us in restaurants because of the way the boys have acted. Sometimes I think that if E was a more severe case it might be better, people would look on us with sympathy instead of with judgement. That *might* make me feel a bit better, I don't know.
"I don't know how you do it!" I do hear that often, yes, my plate is very full. My therapist tells me that every time I go to see her. I just read an interesting article today that talked about this "I don't know how you do it" phrase. Like I have a fucking choice? I can't stay home, I have to work. I want to be home more so I have to go to school to be able to make enough money and work only one or two days a week. I didn't get to choose to have an Autistic child or a wicked little three-nager running a muck (though there are days I really wish I'd have stayed on birth control!) But I made the choice to have kids and these were the one's I was blessed to watch over and raise and I love them NO MATTER WHAT! I had no choice in my dad dying, I have to live through that, I can't just quit and say "NOPE, NOT TODAY LIFE! You don't get to be hard!!!" So I don't know how you don't know how I do it! I have to do it. I just need love and support and understanding. All the things that all of us moms need from each other. Not the other junk. And today, life wins, I am defeated. I suck, I fail. And that's ok, because tomorrow is a new day and a new struggle and maybe I'll win that one, and maybe I won't, but I won't ever quit.
(I seriously need to go study so I am not proofreading :P )