Sunday, April 7, 2013

Difficult Times

This past week has been difficult. Jonah is demonstrating major regressive behaviors at home. The very difficult silly tantrums have returned... Laughing hysterically or shrieking with anger all while throwing things, hitting, kicking, knocking over furniture, punching, spitting, scratching, trying to throw glass jars and drinking glasses, putting garbage in his mouth, hitting himself. Tonight as he took his bath, I caught him drinking his bath water, which he hasn't done in months. He knows it's bad for him. And as he was getting out of the tub, he thought it would be funny to pee on the floor. The Hib clear is proving to be challenging and exhausting for both of us.

He is remembering things from months ago, specifically all the bad choices that he made then. He talks about them constantly. CONSTANTLY! "Remember when Jonah made bad choices throwing glasses with Grandpa Bob and Grandma Pam? Yah. Jonah breaking glasses. Remember Jonah throwing lotion all over the old house. Yah. Mommy have to clean it up." This is an event he talks about constantly. I hear him say that exactly at least 150 times a day right now for the past 7 days.

It's driving me crazy. To think there was once a point when I had dreamed of him talking so much, and I couldn't have dreamed it could be this annoying. It's actually pretty comical when I think about the incident he is referring to. My dad and step-mom came to visit us from Minnesota for Jonah's 6th birthday. We were all able to go to Disneyland together, which is another memory Jonah is sharing. Tonight he asked to "Go ride pirates with Grandpa Bob again?" It's actually so incredible that he is able to express such affection. He really has made amazing progress.

Back to the incident Jonah keeps talking about... On the 4th and final day of their trip, I left Jonah alone with my dad and Pam for the first time while I ran to Trader Joe's for about 45 minutes. I was on my way home, a block from the house when my dad called to see how long it would be until I got back. My heart dropped. I asked my dad "What did he do?"

My dad said "He was good the whole time until about 10 minutes ago. Then all of sudden he came into the kitchen and just picked up a glass and threw it on the ground. So I sent him to your room so he wouldn't get hurt while we cleaned up the glass. Then he got a hold of some lotion and he has it all over your bedroom."

When I ran into the house, I could hear Jonah laughing in the bedroom. I went in to find him still flinging the bottle at the wall, the lid off, and small globs splattering out of the bottle onto the wall. It was everywhere. I mean, on the walls, the windows, the floor, the blinds, the closet doors, the clothes in the closet, the blankets, the bed, the furniture, the ceiling, the pillows, inside my dresser drawers kind of EVERYWHERE. I went into the kitchen and poor Grandpa Bob and Grandma Pam seemed pretty frazzled. Of course, this weekend was their first glimpse of autism.

When Jonah isn't aggravating, he is the sweetest, cuddliest, cutest little guy. He's funny and charming, and I just want to smooch his cheeks constantly. One of his favorite things is to play cuddle, where we snuggle in blankets and mostly I tickle him. He has got to be the best kid to tickle. He is hands down the most amazing person.

When he is aggravating, it's enough to make me question my entire existence. Am I doing the right thing? Am I a bad mother? I find myself feeling lonely because no one in our lives really seems to understand the depth of what we are going through. We are alienated from the public and friends because I can't always predict his behavior and constantly consider our dietary restrictions. I have a handful of friends left, and go figure they are the ones that have been around the longest. Of course, they all also live very far away, and I start feeling sorry for myself.

I hate feeling sorry for myself. If I say that I am a single mother with an autistic child, people look at me with pity, which I hate. I don't say it so people will feel sorry for me or for us. I say it because it defines my strength and my character. When I am feeling sorry for myself, I have to stop and remind myself that I am doing something that not many people could do. I am raising a child on my own, under difficult circumstances, with few resources for outside support, and I am recovering my son from autism.

Not many people can say that they ever did something so big.