I feel like I’m spending a lot of time venting about my frustrations lately, but mornings have been really intense here lately. Today was no exception: tears, screaming, stiff-bodied flailing from 7:00 until I left him in the cafeteria at school with his teacher, still crying, at 9:05.
First, he cried for 18 minutes over pants again. I ended up doing a load of laundry just to get him to shut the fuck up. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But my day begins, EVERY DAY begins, listening to him wail like that. It makes my head pound. The sound overtakes all my thoughts. He isn’t consolable. He isn’t reasonable. I can’t hug him because he’ll hurt me. It’s just every day, I have to listen to it go on and on and on.
After he calmed down about the shoes, he cried again because he wanted two waffles and there was only one left.
And then it was time to put on shoes. Shoes. Sigh.
Mikey’s feet are growing, and his big ole’ foot ripped through his beloved “red and black” shoes. Cody took him shoe shopping on Sunday and he came home with a pair of sneakers that resemble bulldozers, and they light up. As soon as I saw them, I felt hesitant. These didn’t seem like sneakers Mikey would agree to wear the day after purchase.
I was right. As with the heaps of non-returnable clothes upstairs still with tags, these shoes were quickly relegated to the “I hate this and won’t let it touch my body” pile.
Monday, we let him wear the holey shoes to school. He wasn’t having specials on Monday and it was cold, but dry outside.
Today, he needed to wear the new shoes. We got snow overnight and it continues to fall. He needs warm shoes to walk to/from his classroom trailer to the main building for lunch and specials, not to mention recess. It’s 30 degrees and snowing. My son is going to wear his $50 brand new sneakers.
I’d probably be more inclined to show compassion over the shoes if I weren’t already dealing with daily, multi-hour meltdowns over weather-appropriate clothing.
I had to forcibly put them to his body while he kicked and thrashed. I had to put Alex in his high chair to keep him safe during the shoe-donning, because he’s so curious and empathetic, he kept wanting to watch and pat his sobbing brother.
Then, I had to carry his stiff body outside and wedge it into his car seat for school, where I happily left him for other people to manage for 6 hours. Isn’t that awful? Isn’t that a shitty way to think about my child?
People who know Mikey often say to me, upon my confession that he has an autism spectrum disorder, “What? Him? He’s so talkative!” Then they imply that we’ve been caught up in a wave of overdiagnosis, that my high-functioning child couldn’t possibly have something technically “wrong” with him.
These people don’t spend the hours I spend watching him writhe in agony over a long-sleeved shirt that “burns” his wrists or freak the fuck out over a pair of shoes he no longer wants but owns.
Every now and again, one of these folks will bear witness to one of Mikey’s milder meltdowns–he seems to keep himself together (just), seeming like maybe he’s a quirky, nerdy kid, until he’s in the safety of his home and family to really let loose–and I see their face change a little.
I’m having a really blue day, which makes sense because I spent my first 2.25 waking hours listening to my child sob. My primary sadness is that I don’t even think I spoke to Alex today, didn’t even read him a book or do anything other than shove a diaper and clothes on him while simultaneously talking to/screaming at Mikey to CTFD.
I’m glad Mikey will be in school tomorrow morning and I can focus on Alex. We’ll do something special together, like spend the morning petting his stuffed owl and talking about boats.