Thursday, March 26, 2015

Because He Cries

Last night was a rough one here at the House of AuSome. Liam got upset with me because he wanted to watch a certain movie and I told him it was inappropriate for him. He got mad. So mad, that he shut himself up in his room to pout. For AN HOUR!

Liam is never too far from me. He won't stay anywhere. He follows me around the house. You get the idea. So I was shocked. I let him pout. He even wrote me a letter on strips of paper.

It came time for melatonin and he still wasn't speaking to me. I waited half an hour for his gummy to kick in, and I told him I was going to bed. He wrote me a note saying he wasn't talking to me, and he was going to sleep in the living room.

Again, I was flabbergasted because we share a room. He can't sleep by himself, and for any of us to get any sleep at all, this was our only course of action. I told him I understood. I bent and kissed his forehead, and told him I loved him. Tears were streaming down his cheeks.

I walked back to our room. As I was standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth, I heard the pitter patter of little feet. Then 2 little arms embraced me with such force, I staggered for a moment.

I looked down to see his face. All red, tears flowing down his cheeks. He started to heave with heavy sobs. I quickly rinsed my mouth and managed to walk him, still grasping me with all his might, over to my bed. We sat, and he immediately climbed into my lap. 

My heart sank. He hasn't cried this hard since his last severe depressive cycle. That was last year. It could come at any time, since the severe cycle always comes around the same time. We are on pins and needles, fearing it could come everyday.

I started softly asking him questions. "Are you okay? Are you still angry with me? Do you understand why I said no? Do you know how much I love you?" He wouldn't speak, only answering with nods.

You see, if he were having a meltdown, I wouldn't be barraging him with questions. I know that would only make it worse. With a dual diagnosis such as Autism, and Bipolar, it's usually one or the other, or one making the other worse. (Example, if he has a meltdown and screams nasty things at us, he sometimes then goes into a depressive cycle because he feels bad for his behavior. Or, if he's in a manic cycle, he is so high energy and stimming off the walls. If that makes sense)

He started pushing against my body to rock him. And so, we rocked like that for a good 40 minutes. The crying became softer, and then stopped all together. I took a moment and I silently thanked God. Seeing your child in a major depressive cycle literally sucks all the life force out of you. I pray everyday that it will skip this season, and we won't have to watch our son in mental agony.

He asked for the Kindle, and we sat and played a few games together. We laughed. We giggled. I kissed his gorgeous forehead. He told me he was sorry. He told me he was sad because he was afraid he hurt my feelings, and he doesn't like to do that. I smiled and assured him that I too, (believe it or not) was a kid once. And I too, had been in a similar place with my parents. 

He handed me the Kindle, snuggled into my arms, and fell asleep. I left him like that for a bit. Staring at his peaceful face. Silently wondering, how I got so lucky as to be his mom. With all the struggles, the good days and the awful ones, I wouldn't trade this child, or my life with him, for anything in this world!

When Liam is going through a depressive cycle, this song always comes to mind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

If He Doesn't Care, Then Why Do I?

  It's a gorgeous spring day here in Northeastern Pa. I stand in my kitchen, in front of the window, preparing
baked potatoes for dinner. I gaze out of the window in a bit of a daze. The time change is still wreaking havoc
on mine and Liam's sleep schedule.

  I see all the neighborhood kid outside playing. Smiling. Yelling. Laughing. Playing together and having a
blast. My heart sinks. My son isn't outside having fun. He hasn't been asked to take part in the games being
played. He sits in the other room, on his computer. Googling and reading about edible and non edible

  I feel my eyes begin to swell with tears, and I move my work further down the counter. This way, I can't stare
out  the window. In that moment, rational thought takes hold. Liam is happy. He is doing something he likes, and
he's having fun. He's also learning, and it's not forced learning. 

                                So why am I so sad?

  I enjoy time to myself. I would much rather be alone, with a good book or creating something, than to be outside
with a bunch of people, wondering when I should speak, or fearing I may cut someone off unintentionally. I think
that sometimes, as parents, we see what all the other kids are doing, and we long for our children to be taking
part in that too. That doesn't always make them happy.

  Yes, there are times when Liam longs to be included, and that is truly heart breaking. But in moments like these,
when he is perfectly happy being himself, and doing his own thing, why do I long for him to be included, where he
doesn't care to be?

  Sometimes I think that we need to step back. We need to assess the situation, and we need to think.
Is our child happy? Does he/she care that they are alone? Why do I care? If my child doesn't care, then neither
should I.

  So I asked him if he wanted to go outside and play. His answer? "No mama! I'm learning about plants here!"

  Matter of fact, just yesterday as we came into the neighborhood on our way home from town, there were kids playing outside. Liam commented nonchalantly, "Now that all these kids don't like me, or are mad at me, they don't ask me to play. But that's okay. I don't have to worry about anybody bein' mean to me."

  From the mouths of babes folks. Sometimes, the best advice comes from the mouths of babes.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Could Autism Parents Be Contributing To Narcissistic Adults?

 Cruising on Facebook this morning, and I saw the following headline trending:

  Children who are overvalued by their parents may develop narcissistic traits, according to a study

It made me think. As  special needs parents, everything my son does,we make a HUGE deal of it! You know what I'm talking about. He tried a new food, we do a victory dance. We reward with his favorite junk food. Writes his first sentence, reward and huge verbal display. Ties shoes for the first time, same thing. It goes on and on. Each milestone that some take for granted, we make a big spectacle of it for our son.

Could we be molding him into a Narcissist? You see, many of our children are left out by peers. They are socially awkward, and playing with NT children is hard because they play so differently. This bruises their egos. So it's our job to boost them up, right?

But what if we are wrong? Take a moment and consider this. Our autistic children are very blunt. They are direct and to the point. So, if we keep telling them how great they are, what hard workers they are, and so on, this could backfire on them in the future. It's not hard to fathom how that will play out when our children are around other children.

I have personally heard my son repeat some praises I gave him. When a particular neighbor bully called him the r-word, my son went on to tell him his IQ score and then ask him what his was. (He knew his IQ score from his latest school testing) The instant he was made to feel less because of his disorder, he pulled that sucker out like a

Also, when my son has been teased for being clumsy at sports, he'll spout off, "So I know more about computers and video games than my parents!" (Which by the way is true) This isn't how we want our son to be, and I'm assuming, you don't want your child to behave that way also.

Many of us advocates are reaching out to the world. We want them to know how special our children are. How special we are. But in that attempt, are we too sounding narcissistic?

So, while I think we do need to make the milestones our children reach a big deal, I think that maybe going about it differently, would be best. I'm still thinking of how to do that. All I know is, when my son starts to brag himself up around others, we stop him and tell him that no one likes a bragger.

We need to find the balance between ego stroking and narcissism....