When I first started on today’s post, my intent was to talk about the progress C’s made in the last two years.
And yes, there have been quite a few.
At some point in the near future, I hope to do him justice with that post.
But not today.
Today, I want instead to talk about the lack of progress on my part, as well as his.
Call it getting the unpleasant out of the way first, or just plain venting. Either way, I need to put this down by way of release, as well as by way of a record; one I can refer back to some day in the future.
Hopefully to remind myself how far he and I have come in this raw and unfinished journey with autism.
It’s been two years
Two years ago I wrote about how I wasn’t managing my own expectations about C and his “leisurely” development very well.
It was August 2019, and I wrote about my meltdowns when it came to caregiving C. He was then eight-and-a-half years old. That post touched on an afternoon of pain for me as I succumbed to my impatience and bad temper over a piece of homework he was supposed to complete.
[You’re welcome to check out that post here, though I’m sure you can already guess what transpired!]
Reading it again for myself, I sense once more my frustrations then. While the trigger was that piece of homework, clearly it was for me more than just that. The fact it takes him so much longer to master daily living skill (like toothbrushing and homework) compared to many children, all because of his autism, is like a daily reminder for me.
A reminder that this journey is sooo far from over!
So it should come as no surprise that, since I’m but a mere mortal, there’ll be days when I simply implode.
Or is it explode?
Frog in the kettle!
Fast forward to today, and I’m sorry to say little has changed.
What? No progress you ask? Yep, that’s right.
In many ways I still struggle because I’m still fixated with the fact that he’s not quite behaving the way I think he ought to.
More than once, I’ve written about my autism journey with him. In particular, I have acknowledged the fact that he shouldn’t be judged for levels of performance based on chronological age. So you would think by now I would have adjusted my expectations. That I’ve made progress.
Yet I recently had another near-meltdown that showed I haven’t. Oh please, who am I kidding? I’ve had more than a few “recentlys” these couple of days/weeks/months/years!
The frustrating thing is that these are nearly always caused by the day-to-day, “rinse and repeat” events of our lives. Wake-up times. Toilette times. Meal times. Homework times. Outdoor times. Play times. Bath times. Devotion and prayer times. Bed times.
Every one of these has enough materials for me to write more than one standalone blog post! Which, come to think of it, I have done before with a few, though I (and likely every other special needs parent) can tell you, I’m barely scratching the surface!
But not today. I’m too drained to revisit each of them, simply because I’m feeling ALL of them right now.
I’m like that frog in the boiling kettle, unaware the water around me is heating up until it’s too late. Then “ka-boom” I explode, carcass bits spewing everywhere!
A total and complete mess.
A silver bullet? Or a silver lining?
The difference is that in recent times, I have tried harder to take deep breaths and speak to C in as even a tone as I can muster, in between letting fly my displeasures.
For instance, his homework on say visual text comprehension, where a bulletin promoting an event is given, along with multiple choice questions related to it.
Knowing his propensity to pick answers based more on expediency than accuracy, I would try to patiently go over each question. I would have him read each possible answer out loud, then show me where in the bulletin those answers could be found (or not).
In essence, slowing down the process, and the little man’s impatient hurriedness to finish the homework, in order to give us both time to mull over the learning, select the best answer, and keep our cool.
Being generally impatient myself, this exercise often feels nothing short of Herculean in the effort it wrenches outta me!
And when it’s done and dusted after what feels like eternity, I just wanna crawl into bed. To shield myself from him and the world with a well-placed, oversized blanket. Or find the nearest pool and swim 100 laps!
This past week, I have been feeling like the more I try to be patient, the more I lose it.
The little man is completely oblivious to his effect on me of course, but when he throws at me his usual protests, his “Why must I ______? Why can’t I _____? Why is it_____?”, and his signature grunts and whines, all of which have been honed to total perfection these past two years, I am just a bullet away from going ballistic!
But rather than a silver bullet, what I desperately need to see right now is that all of these incidents are a silver lining of sorts. That I’m not quite there yet as the paragon of patience, but I’m making progress. Getting better with each encounter with my little man. Maybe even above the national average. (Assuming there’s such a thing as a national patience barometer!)
I desperately need to know all’s not lost for me (and C), though daily this past week, I feel like I’m watching a train wreck in slow motion.
And I’m the train driver, with C my poor child the unfortunate train passenger!
Yes, if you’re reading this Mr Silver Lining, don’t stay in the far horizon still ok? Come and show thyself!