Friday, June 1, 2012

A little comfort for Austy.

Last night my 13 year old adopted, autistic son had another major meltdown. These temper tantrums - oops Austy hates that term, let me rephrase - these flare-ups happen when he feels that we "dis" him (disrespect - thank you gangland terms).  Hmmm...let me consider this for a moment.  Ok.  Considered.  Done.  Exhausted.

"Sweetie, it's time to take your bath.  Please stop playing.  I asked you to do this ten minutes ago..."

"I KNOW MOM!  GEESH, GIVE ME SOME SPACE ALREADY!" He screamed this nastily as I heard him continue playing in his room. 

Eric then suggested that he go in and gently move him along.  I greatly accepted.  A few moments of talking transpired and then I heard Austynn's voice raise to a low growl, "Get out of here!!"

"I will NOT!  Now knock it off, buddy.  What's goin' on with you?"

"GO AWAY!"

"NO, I WON'T!  NOT UNTIL YOU TELL ME WHY YOU'RE ACTING THIS WAY!

At this point I got up to see what the Hell was going on.  That's how Eric and I work.  When one of us gets escalated with the kids, the other one steps in and takes over.  It's just easier this way.  Our boys know what buttons to push.  Things can get out of control far too quickly.

"I've got it, Eric"  I looked straight into my husband's eyes and nodded slowly as if to say, "I totally understand.  Go breathe and get away from this kid."  He nodded back.  He was angry and hurt and disappointed.  It's amazing what a little boy can pull out of an adult man with just a few words, actions, or completely lack thereof.

"That's it, go to bed.  Don't take a shower, Austynn.  I really don't care.  It's seriously not worth your nastiness.  You'll just be smelly and gross tomorrow.  Oh - and as a consequence for being so rude and taking your time earlier - you've lost your radio privileges tonight.  See you in the morning."

"NOOOO! Don't you DARE take my radio!  I'll kill you!  If you touch anything in my room, I'll murder you!!"

"Too late, Austynn.  I've already taken it and put it away.  If you need something to comfort you, you have the things in your Comfort Basket.  Good night."

To explain, the Comfort Basket is literally a basket of things that his occupational therapist recommended we keep nearby for blow-ups exactly like this one.  He can turn to it and look at things that might settle him down when he's extremely overwhelmed.   There's some special stuffed animals to touch, one of my sweaters to snuggle into, some laminated pictures of fond memories, words that will spark his brain into a concept, etc.

It eventually worked but not until Eric and I sat in our room and listened to our son rage four-letter murder plans at us for a second night in a row.  Respect??  What's that?  We certainly don't receive any.  It's hard for us to to be expected to dish it out to children who lie to our faces, steal from our nightstands, threaten to murder us in our sleep, and never consider thanking us for anything without a nudge from the other parent.

I know our boys have been dealt a rough hand in life.  Aspergers and horrific trauma.  A double dose of horror.  An autism which is nearly impossible to detect without a nasty social stigma and memories of abuse, neglect, and trauma so terrible we could never even begin to imagine; however, parenting these boys for as long as we have, we're tired.  Pooped.  Some days we're just ready to close our bedroom door and say, "No mas (no more).  Mom and Dad are done for the day, the week, and will possibly just go fishin' for a few months (I don't even eat fish unless it's deep fried to the point of tastelessness)."  Basically we're exhausted and we need to do some brainless activity for awhile.  Something where we don't hear kids screaming accusations at one another, slamming house doors, kicking feet through dry wall, and threatening  to blow up the house with natural gas.  I'm thinkin,' is this too much to ask, is it?

***********

William and Austynn,

I'm sorry.  You do have my respect.  I love you up to the moon and back again, around the stars and to me again.  Respect is a tough thing in a family like ours.  You see, it's something that comes with a lot of hard work and time.  As a group, we've been struggling with it for years.  I know you love your Dad and myself.  It's just really hard for you guys to show us.  It's hard for you two to show a lot of things because of your Aspergers.  You don't know how.  But we know it's there.  Sometimes, even after you say ugly things and try to hurt us with your actions and fists, you want to sit with us or snuggle.
 
William, you want to just "hang out".  You want to be with us in our room and talk about everything.  That's your way.  You want to make us proud of you.  I get it.  I understand you.  I love you.  You want me to look into your beautiful brown eyes and tell you that you're good and that I forgive you.  You're looking for forgiveness and that's your way of saying, "I'm sorry".  My son, you're forgiven.

Austynn, you want to be snuggled because you were never held or snuggled as a baby.  You were never told how lovable you are.  Well, no matter how many strings of 4-letter words you throw at me, how many ways you manage to come up with killing me, how many holes you kick in your bedroom walls, or how many ways you figure out how to destroy your body or this house, you are wonderfully lovable and LOVED.  You, my little terror, are forgiven too.

Ok, now I'm really pooped.  Time for an emotional nap.  Goodnight, boys.  Mom's goin' fishin'.