September 17, 2008 by Marj Hatzell
Things had been going so terrible-no-good-awfully for Bugaboo that Bug Boy has kinda gotten lost in the shuffle. Honestly, he has had a FANTABULOUS start to his school year and has a teacher that is meeting his needs. The thing is, I know we aren’t giving him the attention he needs and deserves. We are so freaking exhausted from dealing with Bugaboo’s antics that we just don’t have any energy left for him. I feel rotten, rotten, rotten to the core about that. My heart aches for him. Until I get things squared away with Bugaboo I just don’t see how I can be stretched any more. I have to find a way to make this work.
Bug Boy’s attention-getting behaviors have gotten quite awful lately. If I am not standing over him coaching every bite of food or every medication into his mouth, he is sitting upside-down with his feet over his chair, making armpit farts (which he mastered in church this past week. HOORAY!). If I don’t coax him through every word of every sentence in his homework, he makes origami and airplanes with his homework. He has been defiant, rude and mean. Our bedtime stories and snuggles have gone by the wayside, swallowed by the monster that is consuming my precious Bugaboo at the moment. Our evening routines are hanging by a thread and our once peaceful existence (HA! If you can consider it was peaceful!) has become mass chaos. Things are so stressful and tense around Chez DG that DH and I fall asleep from utter exhaustion and have to drag ourselves out of bed the next morning, usually after hitting the snooze button a few too many times or turning the alarm off altogether.
We’ve been thrown into this vicious chaotic cycle. I am not sure how to bail us out of it. I consider it my job to keep our well-oiled machine going and running smoothly and right now I hear clunking and whining and creaking (DH would love the car analogy. If he’d read my blog.). Now that Bugaboo is back in school I am more confident that I can slowly get things back to normal. Er, normal for us. Um…the new normal. I may start with this:
Or maybe I’ll start with this:
The room I choose to ignore and close the door. Because I can.
I’ve already started sorting through clothes for this coming season. I’ve pulled together consignment items and I’ve dropped items off at Goodwill to help with our constant clutter situation. I’ve gotten a binder with pretty colored tabs and filed away all of the boys’ school papers and calendars. I purchased a new planner for my purse and have entered every appointment and phone number I need for the next year. And, I even PLANNED THREE DINNERS for this week. I’m off to a good start.
See, I feel that in order to get us back on track, I need to get our humble home, our sanctuary, back on track. I need to make it a place to relax and enjoy again. I need to get rid of the mess, get it clean and make it inviting and cozy once more. I want everyone to come home and fall on the couch and snuggle and read stories like we used to. I want hour-long tickle sessions on the family room floor without fear of being covered by dog hair and gosh-knows-what-else. I’d like the kids to WANT to go to the playroom with us and swing and play peekaboo and dress up in costumes and run around and be silly.
In the meantime, DH and I have been doing our best to divide and conquer. It’s fairly clear that Bugaboo is behaving the way he is to get DH’s GOOD attention. He’ll do anything to get DH to yell at him or swat him away from something (like coffee grounds. Ahem, Darling? EMPTY THEM!). Bug Boy will do anything to get my attention. So last night, after baths and routines and meds, DH took Bugaboo out for a loooooong ride where they bonded over filling gas tanks and revving engines and Bug Boy and I went to his room, where I talked to him for nearly an hour about anything and everything. We joked and read and played and snuggled and hugged. I REALLY MISS THIS KID. In fact, he revealed something very cool to me last night, something I had NO IDEA he even thought. He considers “his autism” to be what gives him “super powers.” He has better hearing and a faster, smarter brain because his autism gave him those super powers. And, apparently, that is what makes Bugaboo SO FAST! HE HAS SUPER POWERS, TOO! And Now Bug Boy want to write his own comic book. About kids who have autism super powers. Too cute.
Now, if only I can convince him that being removed to the back table BY HIMSELF during class is not a reward. Of course, from Super Bug Boy’s point of view, it is.