It seems a lot of bloggers I follow are blistless these days. I think about writing almost every day and then a case of the blahs overcomes me and the thought is gone.
This is always a weird time of year for me. The calendar is way too full. The days are getting shorter. In most parts of the country, the weather is finally cooling. Oddly enough here, on the northern California coast, this is the warmest time of year. The 60-70 degree days full of sun and little fog are glorious when you are outside. Not so glorious when you live in a very vertical house on the top of a hill with no air conditioning. So my autumnal need to sort of hibernate and hunker down is all out of whack. I'm yearning to wear sweaters and boots--and in fact can for the first two hours of the day--and then find myself stripping down to summery-ish clothes and wanting to take a nap by early afternoon. There's just not a lot of productivity going on for me right now!
We've also been in a weird place with M for so long that I feel totally whiny reporting our day to day ups and downs here. You never know which end of the teeter totter you're going to sit on when you wake up. And most of the time you end up being the sucker whose sitting across from the kid with that look in his eye, not knowing when-but knowing you will eventually be slammed to the ground with a thud when he decides in a split moment to abandon ship. I told my best friend, L, the other day that I wasn't sure if I was brave or stupid to continue to try and take M with me to new places or to run errands.
This after a very failed attempt at a Mommy/Son breakfast after dropping B off at nursery school. M was in a great mood...doing some great spontaneous labeling of things around us. The restaurant was quiet--only two tables seated besides ours. 'Do you want eggs, M,' I asked. 'Eggs,' he replied enthusiastically. 'Do you want bacon or sausage?' 'Sausage!' 'Do you want fruit?' 'Fruit!' And then when the waitress actually came to take our order all hell broke loose. He shoved the table away from his body hard enough to spill the container of half and half. He slithered to the floor and began to scream--loudly--and then dug his nails into me, pinched my arms, and clenched his jaw in anger as I tried to pick all 54 pounds of his limp weight from the ground without totally losing my shit on him.
I was very lucky this time--as bad as this outburst was (and it was REALLY bad), I was in a bit of a safe zone. The waitress had met us before on better days, and the hostess had seen us around town. They offered compassion and kind words and were ever so patient with me as I brought M to the car and then came back in to wait for our food to go. This is the beauty of living in a smaller town such as the one I live in, and I guess the one thing that makes me feel a bit braver than stupid when I go out into the community. I suppose in a way I'm educating the people I live near by showing them that even though my kid doesn't always have his emotions and behaviors in check, he is not just a badly behaved child. He has AUTISM, as do at least 1 in 100 other children in our world. This is becoming a way of life, folks, and we have to learn to accept and deal with it the best we can. Understanding is the first step. Of course, I say that, and half of the time I feel as though I don't quite understand all of this myself. The behaviors people with autism exhibit are sometimes so far beyond the realm of reason, or completely devoid of common sense, that it IS annoying and difficult to be around. I get this better than anyone because I live with it 24 hours a day! So I guess the message I am trying to send here is to really reach into your hearts and pull out an ounce of compassion not only for the children you see who have autism, but also for their parents. Their patience and mental well being is likely stretched beyond belief, and they--like their children--are trying as hard as they can to keep their shit together in a world that is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate with all of the noises, sights and sounds of those living typically around them.