Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gaming the System

All of the sudden, little C is GROWING on me.  Between his youth and the struggles that his autism has brought to the table, he has been dependent on me for a long time.  Part of me relished this, honestly.  His needing me made me feel essential to him in a way that his older brother has long since grown out of.

As little C is my baby, I find myself clinging to his youth, sometimes.  I'm not ready to let go of my baby's baby-dom just yet, although I know it's unfair to him to cling. I've been using his autism as a crutch--a reason to do things for him, to put off teaching him new things, to excuse behaviors.

Luckily, I married a man who's very good at keeping me in check, and even better at raising children with me--an exhausting proposition, at best.  In our renewed effort to treat little C as normally as possible, we've been fighting a lot of battles lately.

Dressing, for example, has been a constant source of stress.  One morning, little C will dress himself from top to bottom without a peep, others we'll be in full melt-down mode because he couldn't get his socks on.  Socks SUCK.

[Enter: Crocs.  God bless you, Mr. Croc Company Founder Guy.]

We've mostly won the dressing battle, although there have been a few mornings when we've had to strap him into his car seat in his underwear, in an effort to follow-through on the If-You're-Not-Dressed-In-The-Hour-We-Give-You-For-Dressing-You're-Going-To-School-Half-Naked threat.

We're nothing if not consistent.

(And yes, he did get dressed once we arrived at school.)

The eating battle, though, we're losing.  Horrifically.

The kid is a slap in the face to the very laws of physics.  You know, the ones that state that food is converted into energy and humans need energy and hence food to survive?

Or something to that effect.  I dunno, it's been years and three kids ago since I was in school.


The POINT is that the kid doesn't eat.  He lives in horror of foods other than processed chicken nuggets (NUGGETS, mind you--not FINGERS, for the LOVE OF GOD), pizza and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  He will literally starve himself rather than eat something that's not in his lineup of Acceptable Options.

"Oh," you chuckle.  "I remember my little darling going through the picky eating phase."

To which I say, bullsh!t.  I can stand tough on many a things, but seeing my kid burst into stress-tears at the dinner table and planting his hands over his ears kills me.

So many things are going to be hard for this kid in the years to come.  Why the !@$%& does eating have to be one of them?

On the other hand, though, some things are getting better as he gets older.  The independent "Ima do it myself" attitude (you know, the one present in just about every 2-year old in the known world?) has come roaring forth.  It feels largely like something he picked up from kids at school (yay!), and then ran with (boo!).  This behavior asserts itself in very selective ways.  Apparently getting himself dressed is not something that qualifies for said attitude.  Opening the bottle of his nightly vitamins, however, does.

How the hell do you explain the concept of potentially sickening vitamin overdose to an autistic 4-year old?  Anyone?

You see the dichotomy, here.

Mama is tired.  Mama is proud, and stressed, then proud some more, and worried, and so, so bewildered.

Ima start over tomorrow, K?

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