I really debated with myself about posting this. A few days ago I had this long, written out draft...and deleted it. Because I'm a chicken. Because I'm afraid that if people really knew what goes on around here, they would judge me.
Well, today I'm putting on my big girl panties and getting real with you all.
On Thursday evening I completely lost my mind.
Yes, you may have seen my annoyed and exasperated comments on facebook or the pictures I posted on instagram. Maybe you pitied me. Maybe you laughed (I tend to coat my reality with a bit of humor to make it easier to swallow.) But you don't know the whole story.
|The Toothpaste incident of 2013- Part I|
It began with toothpaste. Rascal discovered the joy of coating his hands and the carpet with my toothpaste. He did this as I was having to deal with Diva Girl having turned on the kitchen sink, which is very much frowned upon ever since she completely ruined our dining room floor with 18 gallons of water.
|The Water incident of 2013|
So really, it began with The Sink. Then it was the toothpaste. Then it was about 5 other incidents involving damage to property or siblings within a few hours, the first few hours of The Husband being away for the weekend.
I was tired and frustrated, but keeping it together. That is, until I tried to put Vlad down to sleep for the night. That's when Rascal and Diva Girl found the other tube of toothpaste (that I wasn't even aware existed.) Without going into too much detail- I couldn't get Vlad to sleep due to all the squealing. I emerged from the bedroom to find toothpaste everywhere. Walls, carpet, doors, hands, hair, noses. There was yelling. A lot of crazy woman, terrifying the children yelling. And, much to my shame, there were swats to butts and rough carries to the bath tub. And of course, they started enjoying the bath so I had to yell some more- "THIS IS NOT A REWARD, MOMMY IS ANGRY!!!"
By the time the older 2 were clean and on the couch downstairs, they were crying. Vlad was still in the bed, exhausted, screaming his head off. I became aware of all the screaming and crying and become slightly afraid that the neighbors that we share walls with are going to call the cops.
I walk back upstairs. I look around our now minty-smelling hallway. I realize that there is toothpaste all over my sweatshirt and since I'm still furious, I have this ridiculous battle with it to get it off. Once it's over my head, I hold it in my hands and just throw it on the floor. And I kneel on the floor, sobbing in rhythm with my three children, beating my hands against the toothpaste encrusted carpet, until the fight is out of me. Until I'm left with nothing but regrets for how I responded and this overwhelming feeling of helplessness and heartache.
It's not about the toothpaste. I know friends of mine with neurotypical kids will tell me about how their toddler has made a similar mess, I've seen the pictures! But for me...the toothpaste is just another messy incident in a string of them. The lotion, the hand soap, the makeup, the vaseline. They all have at least one story. It never seems to get better and they just get bigger and more able to reach things that I try to hide from them. They never seem to understand that what they did was wrong, which just makes me more angry.
It's the overwhelming feeling that things will always be this way, however irrational that may be. It's the fact that I promised myself the next time that I would react more calmly, and each time I seem to explode a little bit more, and I say and do things I swore I never would. It's the sheer exhaustion of having at least one child awake from 6am-11pm on average. It's the insomnia, when I finally do get to lay down, from the anxiety. It's the filthy home that I can't seem to get on top of and the self loathing that I have from living this way.
THIS is autism parenting awareness.
We need respite care. And more therapy for the kids. And then some more respite care. And a weekend AWAY. Maybe a week.
This is an ugly point to reach, and I know I'm not alone. We are an overwhelmed bunch, and on top of it all we are constantly told that we are doing SUCH a great job. We must be amazing parents, right? Lemme tell ya, I don't feel even close to amazing when my kids are staring at me with tears streaming down their little faces because they don't understand why their latest discovery of sensory play has Mommy yelling like a banshee.
So, that's it. The ugly truth about me, as a parent of three special kids. I need help, as does every other Autism Mom that I know. But where are we going to get it? Right now I just have no idea, and no time or brainpower to figure that out.
The Woman Who Must Run And Clean Up The Water From The Leaking Dishwasher