Wednesday, August 09, 2006

An equal opportunity post

OK, we've had our first bad day of the new school year! I nearly didn't blog about it, but that sort of feels like lying, so here goes!

After such a rip-roaring day yesterday of Austin handling making mistakes so well, today was just more than he could tolerate. He made mistakes in every subject, and kept flipping out over it. I tried to calmly talk to him like I did yesterday, and I tried to encourage him. It just didn't work. Finally, I told him that if there was one more outburst, he would not be watching the Braves game at 1:00. During his free reading, I placed the latest papers for correction on his desk and he melted down. So I told him he couldn't watch the game... and that's when the big meltdown occured. He begged me for another chance... begged and begged and begged. Cried, screamed, told me that if he could watch the game he would be calm. I'm sorry, but that's just not how it works. I sent him to his room until he could calm down. He stayed there for 45 minutes, when I had to go in and tell him to get his shoes on for therapy.

He had taken all of the coins out of his pirate money bag and thrown them on the floor. He had taken what appears to be baseball cards and shredded them into little pieces. He was still muttering under his breath and crying all the way to therapy. Both the OT and the ST spoke with me at length about trying to help him with his perfectionism(like I don't??), and the ST and I talked about the perseveration (him not being able to just get over stuff). She is making me a visual reminder for him of when he has been given his warning for his behavior, and the consequence that follows, etc. She said it's a possibility that it's not connecting verbally, so we'll take that aspect out of it and make it very visual.

We left there and went to get lunch like we usually do on Wednesdays. I chose Chick Fil A, and Austin started to cry that he doesn't like CFA. Never mind that we had been there last week and he didn't seem to mind. Today he wasn't "expecting" CFA and a meltdown came. Yeah, I know he needs advance notice... but come on! To me, it's ungrateful to cry because the lunch out is not what YOU want and there are 3 other people around. So I told him that the crying would stop before I got to the place to order, or he wouldn't be getting food. He said he didn't want any anyway. Fine. I reminded him that the option if you don't choose to eat what is offered is cereal or peanut butter. He said he wasn't hungry for lunch at all. Fine.

He's in his room now having rest time. Before he went in, he told me to call his friend and tell him he wouldn't be going to church tonight. He doesn't feel like going anywhere. Fine. Control, control, control. It's times like this where I wonder if he really does have Aspergers, or whether he's just a spoiled brat. It sure seems like a fine line sometimes. How often do we have to play out this same drama, all caused by this insane perfectionism? I just want it to go away. He's sleeping now thanks to the melatonin... he's taking the fish oil supplement that is supposed to help mood and brain function. I wish I could see some good results.

The girls did well during school. Riley has a bit of work left after rest time (it was hard for her to focus while Austin's meltdown took over the house). Reece and I did some more from her First Steps to Building Thinking Skills... working with a geoboard. She loved that! She also played with playdoh again, and with the wooden blocks. That was going so well until she ran out of the pieces she needed to finish what she was making and there was no substitution. She ended up knocking it over.

I think this is what I've been warned about with trying to homeschool autistic children. I am just mentally and emotionally drained now. It doesn't matter about the good days that have come before. They can only fill me up so much. This morning took everything out of me, and I am completely empty. When the days go smoothly, they are very nice. But the days that don't go well, where I can't avert a meltdown that can happen for any reason (reasons that yesterday didn't apply, reasons that tomorrow may not apply again, I can only guess... walk on eggshells and keep my fingers crossed that something doesn't trigger it)? Then it's completely gone. I can't get the day back. I can't get him out of the meltdown curve and back into a recovery phase.

So there you go. Part of me wants to delete this whole post. Better hit publish before I lose my nerve.


Sadie said...


Becca said...

Well, I want to say thank you for posting this. You sound like you are doing a great job with your kids, the kids that God gave to you. I know how drained I feel after one of my kids has a meltdown, and they are far from perfectionists! You are doing very hard work each and every day, so be extra nice to yourself on these bad days. I hope tomorrow goes better.

LisaQuing said...

Jen, I am sorry I didn't get to see you today but I am very glad you posted this. I think homeschoolers too often have a tendency to gloss over the bad stuff, so when it happens (as it always does) we tend to think we are ALONE and that it doesn't happen to anyone else. You are doing great! Lean on the Lord and rest not in your own understanding. :-)

Let's see if the word verification will let me post.

Niffercoo said...

Sadie, Becca, and Lisa, thank you so much for your cyber hugs and words of encouragement! They meant so much to me! I'm glad I decided to go ahead and post that message. It really helped to get it out!