Friday, October 28, 2011

Task paralysis

Waiting on work on the house is giving me time and space to think on a few things. As I've said before, I tend to overschedule in an attempt to outrun all the things I'm afraid of.

So. I'm in the figurative time out chair, confronting my destiny.

It's no wonder I don't know where to start. Hubby is thinking biomedical intervention for both boys; Nic's looking more ODD (oppositional defiant disorder, folks, but odd also works) by the day; G, my little opaque one, internalizes to what end, I don't know. My dead interrupt my dreams, each telling me to go check on the other until I yell "But you're BOTH dead!"

And I've figured out who they are really talking about, but I can't go there. Yet.

I'm overwhelmed in all possible senses of the word. I find myself finally unlocking some doors firmly shut, those surrounding my older son's first months and understanding simultaneously why I locked the doors in the first place and why I need them open now (but I find myself overwhelmed with grief to the point of not even being able to think). I've made some of the first steps, the first phone calls, tentatively setting first appointments, and I find myself stopping every few steps, wiping my eyes and am completely bewildered at the depth of sadness I feel.

I think I've contained a lot of this for such a long, sustained period of time that it just needs to come out.

At bed time last night, Nic came up to me, and asked. "Are you okay, mom?"

I guess a lot of this has been boiling closer to the surface than I thought, and the complete surprise of his question caused me to well up. He kissed me on the cheek (he can reach, he's now over 5 feet tall), and put his arms around me. "I'm going to be all right, mom. I promise."

He knows; he's always had a sixth sense for the hows and whys of my moods, even though how and why questions in daily life continue to stump him. Fortunately, dad saw this, and witnessed it. He needed to see this. For a lot of reasons.

He'll be all right, because he has determined that he will be all right. Whatever form that takes. He is owning that.

But I still need to help him do that responsibly.

So, with one task complete, and another, and another, we will get there.

And I need to help my little, quiet, opaque G to get there, too.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Climbing Walls

So this is what 2011 has driven me to:

Actually, I had made my mind up earlier in the week that I was going to do this. I had never climbed a rock wall, and I would never let a silly little thing like a fear of heights keep me down.

Onlookers told me that I scaled that wall quickly, and like I had been doing this kind of thing all my life. The reality? I wanted to get it done. I felt the wall rocking in the wind. Not fearless so much as staring fear in the eye and telling it to get out of my way.

This moment is so emblematic of my life right now; Nic want to his first school dance last night, and it was not a disaster. In fact, he had a great time, but the music got a little loud for him and he called me to come get him when it became too much for him.

He did well on a class outing this week, meeting the demands made of him. I think finally we are settling into a groove.

And for myself, well, I face moving goal posts where I am working, and the posts continue to move out of my reach every time I get within striking distance. Facing down that other demon, pride, will be harder than facing down fear; it is a much more insidious and determined foe. Fear can be vanquished; pride, well, that's harder to make go away for any length of time. The best I can do is keep it at bay until I figure out what I need to do next.

But I will always have the rock wall. And I did rock it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ask, and receive.....

So. I sit writing in my favorite spot, which is as good a place as any to sit in a quandary.

I had another note from AS at the middle school late Friday afternoon about Nic, disruptiveness and elevators--specifically, the elevator at the middle school that he is not allowed to ride. I mean, it may as well not exist.

Unfortunately, to Nic, it not only exists, but it looms so large in his consciousness that he can't concentrate on anything else.

As dad says, we have moved from obsession to pathology.

Get help? I supposedly have it, and it's not working. I've been looking since May for some one who can help us. And it would be easy if it were *just* elevators; it isn't. Elevators play a huge role in helping him cope with the demands of living in the community. That's a fact. Do I really want to strip him of something that is working for him?

Well, he's disruptive to his class on this matter. This is also a fact.

He insisted on reading the email I received. He read it twice. And I saw his eyes well up, even though he didn't speak. I realized that this is something he literally can't help.

But here's the thing. Even if we found a psychiatric genius on the subject, at the end of the day, it is encumbent on Nic to help himself.

"Here's what I hear," Nic told me from the back of the van yesterday. "Blah blah blah blah blah elevator blah blah blah."

I recognized the cadence of the mayor from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs reacting to Flint's warnings. "And you remember what happened to the mayor, right?" I reminded him. "He wound up in the middle of the ocean all by himself. And it was his own damned fault for not listening."

Nic got quiet. I knew my shot hit true.

"Nic, we can all talk to you until we are blue in the face, and you can tell us you can't help it, but the fact is, you have to figure out a way to help it," I told him. "Because no one else can do it for you."

He has gotten so good at figuring out ways to give himself an out if things aren't going his way. I need to figure out a way to show him how to give himself an out here, with this elevator.

Wow. That's my solution. Right there. He needs to give himself an out.

Game on.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Never Argue with a Reasonable Man

I have all kinds fun stuff to report. First of all, I show up here in a local news story.

That was pretty cool. We also had G's bowling party on Saturday. Saturday was a little insane, starting with bowling league, follow into swimming (please don't tell my husband, but while I was supposed to be mopping the kitchen floor, I was actually QCing slide decks for a meeting that's going on now..), party, friends over for dinner....what an awesome day, but hubby told me later I could have cut a thing or two out.

As always, he's probably right.

Sunday, he headed out for a road trip, leaving me with the boys, mass, PREP (Nic haunted our poor DRE, but what the heck, it's only one hour out of her life, right?), then lunch and hiking and bouldering through Valley Green. That. Was. Awesome. My kids are great hikers, and Nic is an adroit cliff navigator. G gave me a few moments of pause ("Hey mom, look, it's a sheer drop!" "Awesome, G, please keep moving.). Last year, he couldn't have made these hikes; he has come such a long way in terms of his endurance and agility. Of course the day would not have been complete without a trip to the bookstore and some elevator adventures. Everyone fell asleep happy.

Probably the best stuff happened Friday night. I meant to take the kids to the playground, but instead got pulled over. And boxed into a spot. And I knew exactly why.

"Ma'am, do you have any idea why I am pulling you over?"

I do, but in my usual scattered, artless, panicked way, I am inarticulate. "Yeah? Actually, I'm really sorry for whatever I did. My son back here is autistic, and he was telling me he is going to break into (secure location across the street) to ride the elevators, and....gosh, I am really, really sorry for whatever I did."

He looked like he could barely contain his laughter under his carefully controlled gruff exterior. His eyes gave him away. I have that effect on people.

"Ma'am, I am a reasonable man. I am sorry to hear about that, sure, but you have to promise me you'll pay more attention."

Nic (from the back seat): "MOM!!! You are getting me into trouble!"

Me; "I promise." (to Nic): "It's your fault for telling me you are going to go break in and ride elevators." Back to the officer: "I'm sorry, seriously, it won't happen again."

Nic: "Next time, mom, you need to ignore me while you're driving."

Amen. I will never argue with a reasonable man. But ignore either kid while I'm driving?

That's going to take some doing.....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The View from Under the Bus

Many years ago, a former classmate of mine found himself under a bus. Literally.

It's not really clear how he got there, but the general consensus is that he was indeed pushed. I remember the stories about the skin grafts most vividly, and how painful his recovery was.

I contemplated this memory last night as I consider my older son's predicament. I realize life is unpredictable and he needs to learn to deal with that. There are things he needs to own; but when the adults fail to communicate well with one other, things break down, and my son with them. He does the best he can. But he's still learning. And he needs help.

This picture somehow ended up in my bag this morning. It's a solemn reminder of my duties.

I pray for wisdom.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blessed is Better than Lucky

I left off with my struggles with pride. A few things have happened since that last post, all relevant, but some more so than others. I've actually began this blog several times, but I can't seem to settle on what my story is.

Suffice it to say, I'm not really sure. But it can be best said that life asserts itself, as do my priorities as a consequence. I know what they are, but occasionally, I need reminding. Life doesn't smack me down so much as tug at my sleeve; what looks like a smackdown is really a gentle reminder.

But pride plays a big role in perception.

Circumstance, I find, also plays a big role in perception. I find it funny that I am viewed differently as a consequence of the 'big save' a week ago; the irony is that I didn't do anything differently than I would have any other day.

The difference is that a lot of people paid more attention to me that day. And that is the only difference.

Just like other people's opinion of my parenting; before the ASD diagnoses of my kids, I was ruining both of them by the way I parented. Now people praise me for being such a wonderful parent.

I am not doing anything differently (accounting for the differences in their ages now, of course--I parent them in the same firm loving manner I have always had); but the acknowledgment of their differences, again, changes perception in the way I do things.

As I told a frantic young girl on Friday, you can't do a damn thing about what other people say or do, but you can control how you react to it all.

I opt for the high road, because it feels right to me. I don't see any point in talking or dragging anyone else down. Life's hard enough.

I have more to say about this, but my little one just came down (7:21 Sunday morning, and he has Sunday School homework to do) and needs to tell me about Buccaneer Bunny.....

....and I need to listen to him.