So, my household is in a state of unrest. The holiday season and schedule throws us all into a tizzy, and our over sensitive neurological systems can just not handle being out of routine and out of schedule for any length of time (except for Mark. He’s a rock!).
I wish, just sometimes, that each of us (moms) could have a button that would allow us to feel each others’ anxiety, pain, panic, whatever it is that makes us uncomfortable. I wish I could see just how much someone else’s brain could handle before I proceed to make a judgment about them, or the situation they are in. Is my youngest really that cold, for instance, that we need to immediately go inside and skip raking leaves or a horse riding lesson? Is my son really in pain when he is outside in the sun, or is it a ploy to get out of walking to the pool? Is the middle girl truly panicking, or does she just want to get out of whatever commitment I know she doesn’t want to go to? Is the spouse really so tired… yes, actually. He is really that tired. He works super hard. The kids, though… they make me wonder at times.
I am guilty of pushing my kids when I think they are just being dramatic. Sometimes they are just being dramatic, but sometimes they are really truly telling me an absolute truth, and asking for help to deal with whatever situation they need to escape. The oldest and the youngest have sensory issues. I know we all do, to some effect, but those two truly just can’t even. Too loud, too bright, too quiet, too scratchy, too soft… it’s exhausting, but it is very real. I found out two years ago that my son can hear colors. For real. I was reading an article about synesthesia out loud marveling at such an occurrence, when he said, “Well, doesn’t everybody?” No wonder the kid hates being out of the house. He can manage it better now, but the toddler years were very interesting (read: crazy, crazy, crazy). The youngest doesn’t hear colors, she smells them.
Anyway, and bear with me here because this does all tie together: we are once again trying to be gluten free at our house. I am already and have been for three years, because it turns out that I probably should have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease ages ago. Well, inflammation is a very real thing for everyone else in my house, so I’m just not buying the stuff I’d normally buy, and just blanket-stating that we are all gluten free. This was NOT a good idea. It was not a good thing to say out loud, within earshot of any autistic people that may be currently living in my house, in any case. One would think I just announced that we are giving up wi-fi forever. The emotional barometer of my house right now is idling around edgy, or at all-out-panic if it's after four in the afternoon.
So, if I had said button to see if people (the oldest and the youngest, namely) are really emotionally distraught, or if they are just being ornery, would be oh-so-helpful, because, truthfully, it’s really hard to be sympathetic! The lack of enthusiasm about this healthy lifestyle change is making me kind of angry. That being said, I also understand that everyone in my house is sensitive, so I’m in a quandary about how to respond to them. I can’t send people to bed without anything to eat for eternity… the grocery bill would be less, though, I guess… but seriously. With spectrum kids it is really a challenge to weed out behavior from true anxiety. I need that button! It would be good for them, too, to see that I’m not trying to harm anyone, and I have their best intentions at heart. Also, moms get angry too, and sad, and we stress about things being good for our families, and we aren’t trying to torture anyone, etc…
Goodness! It’s tough stuff to love people so fiercely, isn’t it? We may not be able to see inside their complicated heads, but we need to keep doing our best, even if it means eating healthy and enduring the sun, the cold, or the wind.
Keep calm, love fiercely, and parent on!!!