I’ve been amazed at the amount of support that I’ve gotten (and helpful suggestions!) after writing about how there are times that I just feel so very defeated when dealing with my son. Thank you. I appreciate it. A lot.
The last couple of days have had some improvements. Yes, there are still a lot of times that he is completely, utterly exhausting and infuriating… but there are times that I think I’m making some progress.
We’re having more moments of calm affection. He’ll be sitting down at the opposite end of the couch. I’ll look at him, he’ll look at me. I’ll lift my arm up to make room for him to cuddle up with me… and then he’ll pop his thumb out of his mouth, smile, and say “Snuggles?” And then I’ll either smile or tell him to come over, and he’s right up against me like macaroni on cheese.
And then it’s all right for a few minutes. Just a few peaceful minutes of bliss where I tell my little boy that he’s loved. Sometimes he tells me that he loves me back. Other times he just smiles and says “Thank you.” There’s kisses, and maybe a little bit of tickles. Every now and again, he decides he’s had enough and will either go back to his end of the couch or just sit calmly beside me. When those moments happen, it’s an extension of the peace. Mostly, it happens first thing in the morning after breakfast.
Of course, because it’s Norton and things are seldom easy with him, things are not always so peaceful after snuggle time is over. Sometimes he’ll cling to the point that I get panicky (that claustrophobia again) and won’t let go, even after I’m screaming at him to stop or let me go. This morning was one of those times when he didn’t let go; I accidentally scratched his face trying to shake him off of my arm. It was a good, hard scratch. I drew a little bit of blood. (As an aside, that was an accident while trying to shake him off. I’d hate to think of the kind of damage my little paper thin, razor sharp nails could do if I tried to hurt with them.)
He, of course, cried. He curled to me and snuggled close as he sobbed. Initially, I was angry. If he’d just stopped in the first place, none of this would happen. And now he’s clinging again?
Even though I was irritated, I held him and stroked his hair. And we both calmed down. He stopped crying. Life went on.
Bedtimes are getting a little bit easier. He insists every time that I send him to his room for anything, including bed, “No, I pee in da room!”
Yes, he’s been prone to spite peeing. Yes, his bedroom is no longer as nice as it was when we first set it up. But I’ve also been on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor with the Bissell Spot Clean Portable Machine. (It’s got some awesome, amazing scrub brush head with it for a deeper clean.) It’s gotten his off-white carpet back to nearly off-white. So now, every night when it’s time for bed, I tell him that it’s bedtime. He tells me he peed in his room. I tell him I’ve cleaned it up already (because I scrub some of the floor in there every day). He argues. I tell him I’ll clean it again and then ask him if he wants to sleep in underwear or a diaper. (If he chooses to sleep in underwear, his bed will be dry in the morning. If I push it and make him sleep in underwear, his bed will be saturated.) He chooses, and then I offer to carry him to bed. He accepts. I carry him off to bed, put him down, and then clean another random spot on his floor. Then it’s all better. I give him a kiss good night. He kisses me back and sometimes tells me that he loves me. Then he tells me that he wants the bedroom door “wide open” and the lights on. (The lamp is no longer good enough; we had to put the lamp away because he was wrapping the cord around his neck anyway.) I tell him to choose, he tells me both. So I leave the door open about four fingers wide and go back into the living room.
Just in case.
It’s been working without a hitch. At least it’s somewhat resolved the bedtime battles.
And I’ve heard from the pediatrician we were referred to. We have an appointment for that the Friday after I’m back from Vegas. His autism assessment is for just before I go off to Vegas. (It’s a business trip without the family. It will be wonderful.) I sincerely hope that we can get a diagnosis between those two visits and get squared away. If we know what’s wrong and can label it, maybe we’ll also learn how to handle it better. After all, while I personally think that it’s Oppositional Defiant Disorder, I don’t have an MD or PhD after my name… and since ODD seldom exists on its own, hopefully we’ll figure out the entire package.
I won’t pretend that suddenly everything is awesome. It’s not. But things seem a little less hopeless at least. I’ll take it.
Image credits: FreeDigitalPhotos.net| chubphong