Monday, February 1, 2010

some days

I get enthused about ice skating success because the rest of life can get me down. Ever since Martin started his new school, he's been difficult at home. This is natural and to be expected. Martin is learning a whole new environment at school. He has a new set of expectations to navigate. It is no wonder that he gets home and crashes. And crashing has meant defiant behavior. Being physically rough. Getting loud. Refusing to do even the smallest thing we've done a thousand times. Like getting dressed.

Even though this behavior is normal and to be expected, I am not enjoying this period. In fact, I'm fed up with it. I'm tired of struggling every morning to get this child dressed. I'm sick to death of Martin plowing over his sister for no apparent reason. I just want him to behave decently. For more than one evening. For a few days at a time. Is it too much to ask?

In fact, it is too much to ask. This is why I feel a little down these days. No matter what we do, no matter what approach we take, we must deal with the fallout of Martin trying something new. Of course, he has all sorts of stress, too. I haven't forgotten that. But we are dealing with the seemingly irrational actions that have their basis in a child's experience of the world being a hard place to understand. I guess I'm having a hard time understanding, too.

I'm posting a picture of Martin and his sister at the Toledo Zoo. From this image, you'd think the only thing wrong in this kid's world was the bad haircuts he endures at the hands of his mother. The image obscures all the difficulty and sadness. It leaves out all the patience and heartache that this experience mandates. Moments like the ice rink and the Toledo Zoo get me through. But some days it seems that they are not enough.


  1. Jen,

    Heartbreaking love, unbearable patience, and a whole lot of getting back up and plowing forward even when we feel knocked down by life. This is what is takes to parent and love a child with autism. It's o.k. to get frustrated and sick to death with the things you are tired of, and I am glad you have a place to do it. I know how you feel, even though our boys are different, and I have actually been jealous of Martin's progress and tried hard not to compare where my son is with school and how awesome Martin's new school sounds. Just so you know, there is someone who knows how you feel, and I hope tomorrow is filled with more zoo and ice skating energy than not getting dressed energy. And one more thing, thank you for telling it like it is, the good and the bad.

  2. You will find your "footing" again because you are the best mother for Martin. :)

  3. While there are many times that you share and I don't REALLY understand...this time, I DO! While Toni is not on the spectrum...she finds it difficult to be a good girl at school all day and then come home and continue this behavior. Many days she gets into the car after school with a smile on her face and within seconds is yelling at me for one reason or another and calling me names...not because this is acceptable behavior, but because she is frustrated and all done being good for the day! I wish I had some great plan that made this all go away...I don't :-( I guess we just plug along and enjoy the few days that they are not to tired and stressed out to be kind loving kids. And eventually... maybe...they will learn to deal with the world the way we would like them to. I am praying for you! -J

  4. It makes sense that a change in one area moves the stresses to another part of Martin's world. I think we're all like that, perhaps we just cover it up better. Understanding that surely doesn't make it any easier for his parents (or his sister!). Thinking of you as you navigate this new path.

  5. Hey Jen,
    I'm thinking of you and the whole family on these difficult days of adjustment to Martin's new school. I hope for rays of light for you that make these changes more manageable. XO.

  6. Take heart... what J said is so true. All or at least most kids take out their stress on their family. I keep telling myself it is because we are safe, they know we will still love them tomorrow. (I know that doesn't make it less frustrating to us parents) And J, sorry to tell you they don't magically outgrow it. Or if they do, I'm still waiting. MB