Friday, November 12, 2010

In the Shadows of Autism

Tonight is a difficult night.

I purchased some board games for MW and I to sit down and play together with.

Easy ones. From ages 5-8.

MW is almost 13, but is just now beginning to enjoy the challenge of playing a game against another person.

I wandered the aisles of the store carefully choosing games that would not frustrate him.

Monopoly JR. Guess Who. and Trouble with R2D2 inside the bubble because he loves/loved Star Wars.

He chose Guess Who.

We sat down to play but there was some assembly required...meaning every plastic piece had to be put together and then the little face cards slide into the plastic things.

Much struggling but we got it all done and it was time to flip the pieces up so we could start.

He flipped a few up but others fell down. Out of frustration, he picked the board game up and shook it to make the plastic pieces all stand up at once...

but that made all the face cards slide out.


By the time hot chocolate was made, cookies set out and all the &%$# plastic pieces were hour had passed.

We made it through half the game and MW was struggling not to cry.

I pushed him to finish. I didn't want him to quit.

We made it but during the last part of play we talked about Christmas time and he asked if I was going to put out the Christmas box this year.

Ah yes. The Christmas box. A beautiful advent Christmas box that has little individual drawers you can put tiny presents in for him to open each day.

Except he's getting too old for the tiny box gifts and he fixates on wanting only the one thing he is fixated on.

This Christmas? It's Mario.

Everything Mario.

It's all he talks about. All he draws about. All he plays with.

He is consumed with Mario.

I explained how we were going to do something different this Christmas. A different Advent box. I had purchased an advent calendar that had Lego pieces inside each day where you could build a Lego character and by Christmas time there would be an entire Lego village.

"But I'll get Mario things, right?" MW asked starting to twist his hands in anxiety.

"No. Not this time. Not before Christmas."

"But WHY?!" He wailed, his man/boy voice cracking.

"Because, Honey, you fixate on things and only want that one thing. You want nothing to do with anything I or anyone else gives to you that isn't the thing you are fixating on."

"That's not TRUE!" He yells.

"Yes it is, Honey. You put them back in the bag it came in and don't touch them again."

"I can't help it!" He covers his face and struggles not to cry. "I hate that you think I don't like them!"

"I hate that I fixate!" He cries, slamming his hands down.

My heart is hurting but I cannot let him see. I calmly push him through this. "The advent calendar will be fun. You'll see. And it is my way of helping you not to fixate."

I went and brought it to him to show him.

He glanced at it and ran crying and screaming up to his room.

This, People--is the shadow land of Autism. The place where we push and stretch and struggle with our kids to get them to embrace pieces of life they resist.

It is a place of tears, sweat, anguish and incredible, unending, unconditional love.

I have a Mom's faith that with his tears a new fertile land will grow.

He will grow.

And he will thrive.

The tears hurt though. They seep inside my skin and jab at my Momma heart.

But I will be strong. Because he is worth everything.


Laoch of Chicago said...

Good wishes to the young lad. May he find profitable and healthy pursuits as he makes his way through life.

Cindy said...

You are an awsome Mum.

Peaceful said...

I find it interesting how my nephews were the same way...Would crush their world if something broke or wouldn't go together correctly...
Fixate on one theme for B-day or x-mas and everything had to be THAT..
And, oh, I remember my nephew crying "I wish I wasn't so crazy" when he was hyper, breaking things and running around like a nut.
And Change? omg. 'Change' is the end of the world.
I went through alot of hand holding with my stepson with that-very hard for a boy in two households.
Love you, one day at a time...
Oh, a GREAT video is
"Super Mario Bros"
--you will love it too!!

Haphazardkat said...

Loach, from your lips to the gods ears...

Cindy, thank you :). "hugs back at ya".

Jadey, life and all its miriads of complications can be exhausting at times. It is good friends like you who help grease the wheels and keep me moving :). Thank you. And thanks to everyone who takes the time to slip a comment to me. And a virtual hug. It means a great deal to me.

Aafrica said...

i admire how patient you are with MW. i'm sure he knows and appreciates.