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A harrowing ordeal

“I am a LOSER!!!!!”
That is what my son said to me tonight. Through tears, and clenched jaw.
You see, every night we go through the same night time routine. Every night, in hopes of speeding up their showers, we let the kids listen to a few songs. What started as a way to ensure that showers didn’t take an hour a piece, has become a distraction for an already distracted boy.
He must have his songs. He must choose his songs. He must pick which version of the song. And, to avoid having to purchase these songs that no one will probably want to hear in a month, we just use YouTube. So, it’s not just the song, it’s the video. So it’s not just listening, it’s wanting to watch. Even the “videos” that are no more than a non moving picture for 3 1/2 minutes, we stands still and watches!
Then, instead of moving things along once he’s out of the shower (ya know, drying oneself off, brushing one’s teeth and hair, getting pajamas on), he is now standing still, dripping wet watching a picture of Dee Snider holding a fake bone in his hand, a la the cover of Twisted Sister’s first album, while the song plays and he screams it out at the top of his lungs, while standing three inches away from my head!!
And I am getting frustrated. Then annoyed. I am repeating over and over “dry off” and “brush your teeth”. To which, my child replies, “Alright, already! Jeesh mom. I know. I know already.” And he begins to use a tone which I do not appreciate. He begins to speak to me as if I am annoying him. Which, to be honest, to him, I am. I am interrupting what it is he wants to do right now. I am stopping him from doing what he wants. How dare I???
I reach my breaking point. And I raise my voice. I tell him that he may NOT speak to me that way and that he may not disrespect me by speaking that way. All this as I grab the towel from him and finish the process of drying him off.
And I want to go on and say so many more things to my boy but I have been making a concerted effort to not speak so much. To not be at my children all the time. They don’t need that. They need clear, concise explanations of what it is I am asking them to do. I just need to shut up!
But, don’t ya know, two minutes later I am explaining to him why I lost my cool and why he has to listen to me. And do you know what he’s doing? He’s amping up. He’s getting ready to cry. He is about to lose it.
And I let him. And I hold him and tell him that it’s okay and to let it out.
That’s when he says that he’s a loser. That he can’t do anything right.
What kind of mother am I?
What kind of parent makes their child feel this way about himself? I feel I am mean, unfair, insensitive.
And he goes on. He says that he has all these things that he has to do and he can’t do them. He has all these thoughts but he can’t do anything. (Well, there’s the ADHD piece in a nutshell)
Lately we have been having to lay down some pretty normal ground rules. You see, J is very affectionate. Sometimes too affectionate. Nothing inappropriate, but just getting in people’s space without their permission kind of stuff. We are trying to teach him to be respectful of other people’s needs. Not everyone wants to hear you scream as you belt out some heavy metal at 8:30 am while waiting for the camp bus. Or maybe your sister doesn’t like it when you slap her on the arm repeatedly to the beat of a hard rock tune? So it’s a lot of telling him no, or to change his behavior. A lot of work, and little reward.
I have to help J understand the expectations being asked of him. I have to translate the world to him, but lately I have been struggling. Lately it seems like he needs more than before. He seems at moments more distant, and then has a moment of clarity about something I have never heard him express before.
Oh, and I should add that today J informed me that he needs to start wearing deodorant. Because his pits stink. His words, not mine. And, it turns out upon further investigation, he does. His pits do need deodorant. But, can he really be at a point in his life where his body is changing already? He’s only nine for goodness sake! Could this be part of the reason that things seem harder for him? I’m so not ready for that!! And I’m not sure he is either.
Either way, it is time for us to seek out some help. (Not with the deodorant, we got that part covered). It is fairly common for kids on the spectrum to also have some other mental health or anxiety disorders. I feel that we need to try to help him sooner, rather than later.
I want my boy to feel success, not failure. And certainly not by me. I want him to learn to express himself and his emotional state, in a safe place, with someone more qualified than I am to listen. And I need someone to ask questions to about how to handle the ever changing world of my boy.
Once the dust settled and he got into his pajamas and crawled into bed, passing on his mandatory reading for the night, he told me he was just so tired. He said some more things that made my heart ache. I held him and tried not to cry as I told him that he was my special boy. That I was so proud of him. That he was a good boy. A kind boy. And that I loved him so very much.
But that doesn’t take away the whirlwind of emotion he and I just went through. It doesn’t make it right that I made him feel poorly about himself.
As I write this, all I want to do is be upstairs, holding him. Like he was my baby again. Because he will always be my baby.


3 Responses to “A harrowing ordeal”

  • I read your posts… and while I know we don’t deal with all of the things you deal with… I read thinking I SO know how you felt while writing. I’ve had way too many moments where I’ve got a step further than I should, and as I’m doing it I’m thinking “hmm… I should lay off a little and shut up for a second.” Then the next thing I know Zoe is in tears telling me “you’re always yelling at me” (even when I’m not really yelling as much as repeating what she’s not hearing). And oh my God the tone of voice she uses sometimes!!!! UGH.

    Oh… and we bought Zoe deodorant about 6 months ago. I swear hormones are responsible for 1/2 of our troubles right now. Ugh. SO NOT READY for what’s coming.

    • Jbear says:

      Things are definitely changing in these kids. My heart hurts for what they are feeling. It must be so confusing for them! It sure is for us!! Thanks for the support.

  • natasha says:

    Hey. We all lose it a little when it comes to being patient. More than one time I have felt exactly everything you have just written about. My son has not yet turned five and on top of behaviors we are also still dealing with his struggle with speech. I hate when I have to be firm and the tears come because I know I have confused him. I have learned though that it is ok, to breathe deeply , to know I am doing the best mothering I can do and I am a good mother. You are too. And I also say, it’s ok to tell your son you wanted to cuddle him and make it better because that’s good for him to hear and gives him security to know you are there and he soothed himself. I say to my son even if he doesn’t understand, no one is perfect all the time and mommies included. It’s so hard some days. I get it. We love our special boys. I hug your heart with all my might.

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