Friday, September 6, 2013

When We Fall...

When a baby learns to talk... She babbles. She makes noise. She keeps babbling. She learns to talk.

When a toddler learns to walk... He falls. He gets up. He falls. He gets up. He learns to walk.

When a child learns to run... She trips. She falls. She gets up. She tries again. She learns to run.

When a child learns to ride a bike... He gets on. He falls. He gets on. He falls. He gets back on. He falls. He learns to ride.

You struggle. You learn. You experience heartbreak. You suffer disappointments. You get up. You dust yourself off. You continue on.

You sit in the office. You hear the words. "He has what we call Autism." You react.

You fall. You get up. You continue on.

You struggle teaching him to speak. To dress. To eat. To just call you "mom."

You fall. You get up. You continue on.

You sit helplessly as you watch your son rage against himself. He wants a new brain. He doesn't understand why it "doesn't work" the way people expect it to. Why can't he be like his friends at school? Why can't he understand what others do? He wants to die.

You fall. You get up. You continue on.

You find yourself holding him. He's raging. He's angry. He doesn't see you. He doesn't see his mom. You are there. But he doesn't see you. He sees anger. Upset. He surprises you with an amazingly powerful right hook to the cheek.

You fall. You cry. Your world shatters again.

What do you do?

What you do next defines you. It makes you. It breaks you.

What do you do?

Do you get up and try again?

Do you decide you've had enough and give in?

What would you do?

I see his frustration. I can see it in his eyes as he rages within trying to get a thought out.

I see him struggle to tell me an idea.

I see him fight to tell me how he feels.

I hear him rage verbally about his brain. He screams that he needs a new one. He doesn't understand why it "doesn't work" like he thinks it should. He beats his head with his fists, leaving scratches and bruises, trying to get it to "work."

I watch him struggle with who he is and the body he is in.

There is nothing I can do to make it better. Nothing I can do to help him make sense of it.

All I can do is hug him, tell him how much I love him, tell him he's perfect as he is, and duck.

I never knew just how much I would struggle as a mom. I cry more than I like to admit. I scream. I yell. I throw things. I totally lose my mind. I have nights where all I want is a drink so I can relax. I am constantly stressed. Constantly on my toes. Constantly in high gear.

I get hugged, kissed, scratched, hit, punched, snuggled, yelled at, smiled at, and gifted. All in one day. Sometimes all in the same hour.

And when I cry, I cry hard. Sometimes it's a single tear sliding silently down my cheek unnoticed, all the upset contained in that single drop. Sometimes it's the ugly cry locked in the bathroom.

When I crack, I crack hard.

But I do the only thing I know how to do.

Get up.

Dust myself off.

And continue on.

My baby is relying on me. He's the most precious gift I have.

Tomorrow is a new day.

We adjust. We adapt. We overcome.

**Editor's note: Whenever I do break down and lost my cool it is rarely in the kiddo's presence. I will leave the room. I will take him to Grandma's. I will do what I need to do to get a break and regroup. We all need a plan. What is yours?**

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another School Year on the Books

So another school year has begun. I'm sort of over the whole 5th grade thing. Sort of. I'm working on it, I promise! It's just hard to believe that he's reaching middle school (it starts at 6th grade in our district).

Thus far it has gone off without a hitch. I kind of feel like it's the calm before the storm, but we shall see.

Last Monday I took the kiddo to go see his classroom. Due to some major shifting in the district his AS teacher got moved to a new classroom. In order to keep things flowing and have very few surprises on the first day we decided that he should definitely see the room before school started on Tuesday.

We get to the school and we stop to look at the class listings posted on the door. We knew who his gen ed teacher was going to be but I wanted to see who was in his room. I'm reading down through the list of names for him and I pause...

"Hey buddy, you are never going to believe who is in your homeroom!"

I read her name, that sweet girl that is his 'girlfriend' that he made that Valentine for last year. He let out a yelp and grinned so big I thought his face would crack. He even started jumping around. He was so thrilled! I keep reading through the names and one of his friends, P, from the AS room is also in his class.


We walk on in and start looking for his new AS room. We find it with little effort and Mrs. L is waiting for him. They also have two new, young, male aides this year... (They looked like babies to me but in all fairness they are probably 22ish). Having these two young men in there should definitely be an asset to Mrs. L and her other lady aide, neither of whom are getting any younger. They are probably thrilled to have these young guys available to chase the kiddos.

But I'm getting off topic.

We head on down to the 5th grade pod to find his homeroom. He stops by the LS class and talks to his teacher there and starts talking his ear off about Minecraft. "Hey A, did you read this summer?" Silence. Haha! Like he read this summer.... :D  We then walk over to the other corner of the pod to his new homeroom.

His new teacher this year is one of those annoying bubbly types. The kind that you just want to smack at times... This is actually a good thing for him. He needs that bubbliness to keep him going. He finds his seat, his friend P is next to him and.... Yep. His cute little gf is sitting kitty corner to him.

If I thought he couldn't possibly get more excited, I was totally wrong....

Naturally I kept teasing him about whether or not he was going to pay attention in class or if he'd be too busy staring at her. Haha! ("Mom, you are NOT funny!")

The next morning I walked in with the kiddo, sat with him through breakfast as I always do the first day, and walked with him to his room. This year he gets to go straight to his homeroom to check in. (He used to check in at AS, leave his stuff, and then travel to homeroom for morning stuff.) We arrive at the room, he kisses and hugs me, and travels on in. His gf sees him, her face lights up, and she waves at him.

Ok, I have to pause here. I've seen this girl on and off for 5 years. She was in his 1st grade class. She is deadpan. I have NEVER seen her smile. In fact, Mrs. L and I had just been talking the day before about how no one ever sees her smile. Ever.

She SMILED for my kiddo, folks. She SMILED. MY KID has that affect on her.

Holy crap on toast.......

I need a minute to absorb this....

Ok. Moving on.

I get a note home that the kiddo had a great first day and remained excited all day long. Well of course! From what the aide told me at the end of the day he got to hang out with his gf and his friend P ALL DAY. Naturally he's excited! She also noted that she thinks someone is ready for 5th grade. Well, I'm glad someone is..... ;)

He had homework. Of course. Cause some things are just too good to be true. We had our usual homework battle. Let's face it though, who is ready for homework, and reading comprehension at that, on the first day of school? Not even I am ready for that. But we made it through.

This excitement stayed with him throughout the week when on Friday morning he told me, "Mom, I don't know if I can do this 5th grade thing." To which I told him of course he can! He has thus far, it will be great! In my usual whaddayatalkinabout kind of mom way. He kind of looked at me funny, kissed my cheek, and went on in to breakfast.

So a couple of other things happened this week that are pretty awesome too:

1. He's made me breakfast every single morning. A S'mores poptart, toasted, that he would put on a plate and leave next to my laptop with a little note.
2. He wore a Sonic shirt on Wednesday because his gf told him Tuesday that she likes Sonic. So he HAD to wear his for her. (This is HUGE!!!!) Reports are she loved it.
3. He took a bath every single time I asked him to, all on his own. I realize this shouldn't be big news, but if you've followed me for a while you'd know the hell I'd go through and the battle it was getting him into the tub.
4. He has woken up and gotten himself dressed every single day. I honestly wonder how long this will last and how long it will be before he's sleeping in and I'm dressing him as he sleeps.... But I'll take it while I can get it!
5. His Minecraft playing is down. Like so far down he's only playing maybe an hour a day. As in, in the car on the way to/from school. Honestly, I'm not even sure he played it yesterday or today as of yet. I can definitely live with this... (Although he does still really want the computer version, which he will likely get soon, but on my laptop where I can limit it better than I can on the desktop.)
6. I got him to take an unannounced, unscheduled, impromptu walk on the beach. Successfully.

Let's hope for a repeat next week! Hey, a girl can dream, right? :)