Autism. A down day.
It's Show time in our town this weekend. The children all had a day off school on Friday so that they could attend and they were all encouraged to enter items in the pavilion and go in some of the events.
Last year Bright Eyes endured the show and didn't cope very well with all the noise, excitement and stimulation. This year I was expecting more, and for the first hour everything went pretty well. Unfortunately the 'dog with the waggiest tail" competition was late to start and Bright eyes was not coping with the waiting.I tried to make things better by going up to see if the new exciting ride had started yet, and it was all good as we walked up and saw it going round but all terrible as Bright eyes found out that he was not tall enough to go on the ride.
From that point on, the Show was finished for him. He refused to come back to the dogs, he had to be picked up by daddy, and then he loudly protested that the Show should be canceled.
Even the next day, I still could not get him tempted to go back into the showgrounds – even when I mentioned dodgem cars and hot chips.
My husband took the other two kids back up for some more events this afternoon, and I stayed home with the grumpy one and the baby. And I was becoming very grumpy myself.
It wasn't that I necessarily wanted to go to the Show – it was just the depression that I carry around about the autism coming back to the fore. He scripted his way through the afternoon and I found the conversation boring, annoying and ridiculous. The most upsetting part was that I found myself not liking my own child. How terrible is it when every reaction to your child is negative or correcting or annoyed.
On this blog, I have recorded so many great steps that he has taken, and I am so grateful for all of them, but I still often feel sad because the autism is still there, controlling his brain, no matter how many hours a day he spends at school, or how many new foods he tries, or whatever.
This is a hard thing about a chronic problem. It never really goes away, and solutions are more about making do or finding a way around or adjusting expectations. A solution to a chronic problem is rarely an actual solution, where the problem goes away.
Unfortunately, chronic things wear you down. At least, they wear me down. And I was feeling so down that I rang a friend to unload a little bit. She listened exceptionally well, understood me and allowed me to cry and tell the truth about how I felt without trying to make it all better.
Just doing that actually gave me the renewed energy to solve the current Show issue. I wiped my nose, felt a bit better and then suggested to him that we go out to our regular shop for hot chips. He was very clear that he wasn't going up to the Show at all, and I said that was okay. I knew, however, that once we were out of the house, his protests would lessen and he would be more amenable to doing something different.
While we were waiting for our hot chips, he got tempted by the ice cream freezer in the shop and asked me to buy him one. I said no, I wouldn't buy one here, but if he wanted to come to the Show, I would buy him one there.
"Okay, let's go to the Show," he said and we bounded up the street to the showground.
He had a great time, of course, as I knew he would, and he came home with happy memories rather than negative feelings about it all.
There are two morals to this story.The first is that bribery is not always bad. The second is that even the simple act of telling someone how you feel when you feel like rubbish can change the situation enough so that you can see a way through it.
So thank you to all of you who allow me to tell you how I feel.