A family's story

One of those days…

Yesterday I felt like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day. Things were just off from the get-go. I had a hard time waking up in the morning–even a shower and coffee didn’t get me going. Tate was obnoxiously goofy while we tried to give him his medication and talk him through dressing himself. (We totally caved and dressed him.) He kept calling us versions of poop. Yes, that is still a hurdle we haven’t overcome. Then, he got on the bus, greeted his friends with potty talk and was off. I sighed and hoped for the best.

I talked to his teacher when I picked him up from school. She said he was calm and well-adjusted that morning. He did well in class, in independent centers, and only was put in the “off-topic” area once…which is an improvement. I thought things were looking up. And then….his therapist called and cancelled. She had the same virus he has. She had a fever. She was taking the day off from clients. Ugh.

When we got home, I sat down to do homework with Tate. We made it through spelling and reading his poem. Then he needed a break. However, he didn’t want to stop his break to do more work. I made him put the tablet aside and work on his sight words. That didn’t go so well. He purposely read the wrong word..and stopped even trying. I told him he could resume his homework after we got Jake and the neighbor kids from school. He seemed ok with that.

Cole decided that it was a good day to instigate his brothers. Jake just blew it off. Tate took the bait. The two of them sparred for the rest of the evening. I was so tired of playing referee that I decided that we should run to the grocery store. Worst. Idea. Ever. Oh my God….fifth circle of hell. Tate whined the whole time, even when we followed his preferred routine in the store. Cole just *had* to walk with Jake. Which meant he was running 20 paces ahead of the rest of us, causing several elderly patrons to freak out. Jake perseverated on getting his Chef Boyardee Ravioli. (I am so winning Mom of the Year, right??)

We made our way to the produce section of the store. I had to get some veggies and fruit for lunches. Tate required us to stop and pick up some bananas. I literally had to look at every.single.bunch. I am not exaggerating. We looked at each one. The store employees stocking the section were giving me the stink eye, as Tate dubbed each bunch unworthy for various reasons…most of which were nonsensical. (I will give him that some of the bunches looked past their prime…) As Tate sat in the back of the cart, in tears, Jake suggested that we should go to the deli counter to get some American cheese. That is a treat for Tate and Cole. We got there, and of course, had to wait. That did NOT fit into Tate’s plans. He started to cry again, and shooed away several patrons. Many of them were older…like could have been my grandparents. They did not like this whining, crying, dysregulated child. I could feel the judgement as it poured over us. I tried to calm Tate, but it wasn’t working.

As I worked with Tate as the evil eyes bore down on us, Jake was in charge of Cole….and, well, Cole almost contaminated the fish in their display case. The worker had the side open to arrange the fish or something and Cole was spinning in circles. He was “thisclose” to dropping his Duplo blocks in there. Luckily Jake’s attempt at stopping his brother propelled Cole forward, and the blocks went shooting out into the main aisle…and not into the fish. Of course, as they picked up the blocks, my sensory-sensitive children kept commenting, quite loudly, about the smelly fish. More nasty stares and looks. It was great…

We got our cheese, and then walked back to the bananas. By then, we were all fried. If Tate couldn’t find bananas that he liked, I think we all were going to melt down. By the grace of God, Tate picked up a bunch of bananas (previously dubbed “too squicky”) and proclaimed them to be satisfactory. I flew to the check-out lane. All 3 boys made a beeline for the bench and waited while I paid for our groceries. Thankfully, the cashier was good-natured and could tell we were all done. She made a reference to remembering what it was like to go shopping with helpers. I was too tired and frustrated to make much small talk. I thanked her for her patience and dragged my chaos out of there.

When we got home, the boys played in the backyard as I unloaded groceries. I got everything put away, and sat out on our patio. The neighbor boy came over. It was just enough to change the dynamic. Tate started to call the boy “pooper”. The boy got irritated, as many would. He shoved Tate. Tate threw dirt at him. They then went their own ways..for a bit. Cole and Tate started to throw wood chips at each other. I intervened again. Then, all 4 boys started to dig in the dirt for worms. The dirt was finding its way all over our yard. I asked them to stop. Tate spit at me. I pulled him aside for a few minutes.

Tate rejoined the boys on our playset. We have a seesaw. He wanted a turn. Jake got off. Cole tried to swoop in, and Tate shoved him. I talked Cole into going on the glider, and Tate sat on the seesaw with our neighbor boy. The boy didn’t want to do the seesaw with Tate, so he just sat there. Tate tried to engage him, but he wouldn’t budge…until he thought it would be funny to roll off of the seesaw and send Tate down. Luckily Tate found it amusing. It could have ended very badly, but didn’t. I asked them to play appropriately on the seesaw. They moved to the swings. The neighbor decided to “freeze out” Cole. Cole started whining. Again, I engaged him to play on the slide. He seemed ok. Then he moved back by the other 3 on the swings. The boys started slapping each other. Tate threw wood chips at his brothers…thankfully he missed the neighbor boy.

I was done. I sent the neighbor boy home, and directed my boys into the house. They groused, but seemed ok with it. I made them wash their hands. Tate was dysregulated, so he started to slam the faucet on and off. I asked him to use the faucet appropriately. He shouted at me. I walked away to compose myself. Tate began to yell, shout, command that I come into the kitchen. I did, and he started to call me stinky and poopy and spit at me. I asked him to sit in our quiet area to compose himself. He hit me. Not hard, but he hit me to let me know he wasn’t happy with the situation. I asked him to use words, not his hands. He spit. I directed him to the chair in the living room to compose himself. I sat in the kitchen holding my head in my hands…praying for it all to stop.

Then, as quickly as the chaos began, it calmed down. Jake turned on the TV and put on a new episode of Team UmiZoomi. He shouted to Tate that it was a new episode. Tate mumbled and asked through tears if he could go. I said yes. He went in and began to watch the show. Cole played with Legos. Jake played with a few animal figurines. Tate flipped his stimmy stick. And I took a deep breath and started to make dinner.

Hubz came home, we ate, and then I did my 25 minute Jillian Michaels workout DVD. We ran through the bedtime routine, and the boys were in bed, asleep, by 8:30. I collapsed onto the couch…and was grateful that we made it through the day…

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Comments on: "One of those days…" (2)

  1. Hang in there. We all have those days. At least it had a happy ending. Your stories take me back, as mine are a bit older, but I remember the “quiet chair” the “timeout chair” etc. (and how none of them ever worked when we needed them to! It also always amazes me how children can go through these wild emotional mood swings and emerge absolutely fine on the other end while us parents are left with something resembling PTSD.

    We had a few of these days last week as things were hitting a boiling point. But we all hit the collective reset button and everyone has kept their temper much more in check (even me!) for a week or so now … fingers crossed that it continues.

    Hope you find some more peace in the coming days.

  2. Ugh. I feel your pain! Sometimes when B flies off into meltdown mode it takes all my energy not to respond. It’s so difficult and I would love to go to my timeout as well. {HUGS}

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