Bad Mommy

May 14, 2008 at 11:35 am 6 comments

     Today was one of those days…you know the kind – where nothing seems to go right? From the moment I woke up, at 6:15, to the ear-splitting scream (via baby monitor, which apparently sits WAY too close to my ear) of “MOMMY!!!!!!!!!”  to this moment of going to bed, typing hunt and peck style due to the bandaged and very sensitive finger, it has been a rough one.

     After hurling myself out of bed and running across the house expecting giant aliens to be coming through the windows or at least some blood, I entered C’s room and found him sans UFOs or major injury to life or limb. “What?” I asked, not altogether nicely, yet still expecting some unseen disaster to appear before me. “Ummmm, I can’t sleep. Will you snuggle with me?” Now, darn, if this isn’t just adorable, and sometimes might even work, but not today. After a brief, few sentences with choice words about when it’s appropriate to yell at Mommy in the wee hours, I went back to bed. It was short lived, however. Only mere minutes after I fell back to sleep, came the next most pleasant way to be awakened, which is “I NEED A WIPE!” This one is a constant occupational therapist’s nightmare as it’s particularly difficult to teach a body unaware, fine motor skills challenged, can’t place hands on something unseen even if it is part of one’s body, and still doesn’t wash hands very well little person how to wipe his own bottom.

     This was day two of C staying home with a cold. He’s not particularly sick, but if he overdoes it, he will be. So he’s been home hanging out with his humidifier and doing his best to drive me to drink. Today, however, determined to do something productive with him, I decided we’d do a craft together. We searched the Highlights magazine craft pages, and I picked out two crafts that seemed doable and for which we had supplies. Naturally, when presented with the two options, C picked out a third. I reiterated the two choices and he picked yet another one on the page. This went on until he had chosen every single craft on the page except the two I said we could choose from. At that point, I left him in his room.

     Once he decided to participate, I asked him to get four pieces of recycled paper. Predictably, he said he wanted new paper, and I repeated the request for recycled paper. He went and picked out new paper anyway. Then he went back to his room. This went on for quite some time, during which I had the usual argument I have with myself while in the midst of these episodes. I recognize the need for bending to C’s idiosyncrasies, but I also recognize the need to have a child who is capable of completing a task I request. This is a difficult balance, and one which causes great struggle for me. C is so high functioning that at times I wonder if I’m too hard on him and am forgetting the challenges he faces; that recycled paper (with printing already on one side) likely bothers him on a deep sensory level. It sounds silly, but I suspect it’s true – the writing on one side probably distracts him, catches his eye, annoys him. And the constant need to debate, discuss, and argue is probably not only resultant of his feeling crummy, but also an effort to exert some control over his environment. So I feel like Bad Mommy lady, but I know giving in at this point will make all future debates and discussions far more difficult, so I hold my ground.

     When he does come around, we happily sit down to make our cut out butterflies, and my punishment for being Bad Mommy is quick to come. I promptly send the scissor blade right into my index finger, and while the blood is dripping down my arm, I am reminded of this morning’s worry. It has come full circle, and I expect the UFOs to be landing out in the backyard any moment now.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

C-isms from writing journal Barack who???

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. awalkabout  |  May 14, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    oh no! what a day. but I think you’re right to insist he do what you requested–what you asked wasn’t unreasonable, and certainly in school and in The World, if someone in authority asks for something, they don’t mean” please do this–or anything else you feel like instead.” So it is good practice. 🙂 Will you have red or white with that UFO???

    Thank you, I think I needed a little reassurance on that front! I question that stuff constantly. And can I have red AND white??? 😉

  • 2. lookingforlifeshumor  |  May 14, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Oh Bad Mommy… You are crackin’ me up. I suppose this wasn’t so funny for you, but it certainly cheers me up to hear that other parents have the same “blessings” we have in our household. Especially with the wipes 🙂 Hang in there!!!

    It wasn’t funny at the time, but it quickly became so! The wipes drive me nuts, but the alternative of having him do it completely independently is far, far more disturbing! LOL!

  • 3. LoisR  |  May 15, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Not-so-bad-Mommy…you are right to insist C follow your directions. You’re not asking for the impossible and it is a good learning experience for him, which he may or may not transfer to other situations as they arise. Sorry you cut yourself…yes, both red & white are appropriate!

    Well, you would THINK I was asking the impossible, for all the fighting (on his side, anyway, I just mostly calmly stick to my guns) that goes on around here! I am laughing about it today, however. 🙂

  • 4. looksgoodinpolkadots  |  May 15, 2008 at 4:59 am

    I have these same struggles with 3 yo Little Critter and 6 yo K3… neither have autism of any form (although one does tend to be ADHD inclined and I’m starting to think the younger maybe as well… or she could be the demon spawn… joking… I think).

    You are not alone.

    K2 has wacky sensory issues, but is otherwise a completely “normal” child (what is NORMAL anyway?). I have to buy her seamless socks or all heck breaks lose in our house… do you know how hard it is to find seamless socks? Thank you Stride Rite. This is finally starting to improve now that we are almost 8. I think there are always battles to wage… let’s hope they just get easier as time goes on. 🙂

    For the recycled paper issue…. we have two kinds of recycled paper, printed on and scrap pieces. I use the printed on to go back through the printer for un-important items, etc… we use the scraps (from projects, scrap-booking, school art projects, etc…) to make NEW art projects. You might try this, so you have non printed paper and therefore don’t tweak the senses of little C. It could even become a choice (if you are brave) “Do you want to use printed recycle paper or scrap paper today?”

    It always cracks me up when we are out in public and I stick to my guns with wacky Little Critter (my major button pusher) and get kudos from people. The school counselor commented on how well I handled choices with her… the choice was to put shoes on and walk or to be carried. Staying put wasn’t an option… even though that was what she wanted to do… (so good for you for giving choices and expecting that C select and then follow!).

    Good days happen… Bad days happen… Then we get a fresh start the next day.

    I won’t share our “wipes” story… its really disturbing. Let’s just say Little Critter went through a phase of wearing jammies on backward all day so she couldn’t unzip them and take them off… because I was sick of the messes. Now we are on to picking the nose in bed and causing bloody noses. Why oh why… Can’t wait until this phase passes. It is a phase… right?

    Good idea on the paper – will have to try THAT choice! I can only imagine what was going on with your wipes story – we used to safety pin C into his jammies so he wouldn’t get in there and do “poop art” in weird places. I never thought that would end. And we too are in the bloody nose on the sheets phase. Like you, I hope it’s a phase. My Mom assures me they all are. 😉

  • 5. hfamom  |  May 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    You couldn’t be a bad mommy if you tried! Something about loving him… 🙂 There are days like that… I’ve learned that Mommy baths– long soak with a good book cure even the worst of days!

    I’m trying to catch up with your blog!… could take a while I’ve been off line for a month!! Love your stuff! Keep up the good work!

    She’s BAAAACK! Welcome back! I’ve missed reading you! Yes, the bathtub is a salvation, for sure. I’m glad you are back, friend.

  • 6. Goldie  |  June 5, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Hi! Great site! I I am seeing more and more how much we have in common. I just wrote a post SOOooo much like this one called “The Mom I do no want to be”, ‘cept I am called “Mean Mommy”. So, from Mean Mommy to Bad Mommy, hang in there.


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