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February 1, 2012 | The Slacker Mom

February 1, 2012

by Erin Clotfelter on 02/01/2012

It’s a nice clean slate.

I feel like all I’ve done this month is talk about diapers (and mostly I have!) I love them, but I am happy for a little break.  Last month both flew by and crawled at a snails pace.  It’s been chaotic and stressful and also full of some great moments (like when Lincoln pointed at a picture of fat Elvis and said “Daddy!”- I can’t make this up).

On the home front we’ve had a lot of autism issues to deal with.  Just when you think you have a handle on everything you get thrown a curve ball.  When the curve ball comes from family it hits particularly hard.  We like to think everyone is on the same page, that we are lucky, that we aren’t one of the families who on top of the awesomeness (heh) of autism, has to also deal with the super critical eye of family.  But we were kidding ourselves.  Or maybe we just wanted to believe everyone got it and was on board.  We’re now to the point of being self-conscious of our kids and bowing out of family functions.  I never wanted to be here, but here we are.

Anyways, we are happy to have a super supportive team of teachers and therapists behind us to reinforce that we are doing exactly what we should be doing (and also remind us that they are only 3).  We need to hear that.  We need to hear that often.  This is autism, autism is hard and weird and sometimes destructive and sometimes you just have to roll with it.  There are no easy answers, this isn’t going away- you just deal with it and find the things that lessen the tantrums and bring around the eye contact and the engagement.  In the case of our sensory seeking boys- jumping and knocking shit over.

I think it’s hard for people to remember that this wasn’t exactly what we imagined when we decided to become parents and we are doing everything we can for our kids.  It’s like a punch in the gut when we get criticized and emotionally it sets us back to square one, wanting to hole up with our kids and avoid everyone and everything.  Not where I expected to be after a year, especially since the boys have made some amazing strides.

In the past 2 weeks we added in a new therapy that we had been waiting to get through the holidays to add because it is so intensive- the Wilbarger Protocol (brushing and compressions).  Lincoln has been doing this on a weekly basis for a few months now but it’s new for Wyatt and doing it every few hours all day every day is new for them both.  The eventual intent is for them to be able to regulate and engage better between sessions and we can definitely see glimpses of that.

On the other hand, we have also seen some setbacks in other areas (which is to be expected)- more biting/ hand chewing, more tantrums, more destructiveness.  Maybe we’re just more quick to jump after our vacation but it’s wearing on all of us at this point.  I am in a constant state of high alert and my nerves are completely shot.  It’s pretty much endless whining and screaming from Wyatt (on top of him taking his pants off every chance he gets) so needless to say, our days can be pretty stressful.

Did I mention they all work together (sort of) to open doors and knock down baby gates?

(hold me)

I’m crossing my fingers that February is an excellent month and we can all relax a bit.  Yogi Dad took an impromptu day off tomorrow so I could get out of the house and away from the boys.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with myself.

 

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenn [CrippledGirl] February 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I am so sorry to hear that you're dealing with criticism. *hugs* You're a great mom, and you're doing exactly what you need to be doing. Keep on, keeping on. Enjoy your day to yourself tomorrow!
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2 erinclot February 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm

We are, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time!

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3 Ashley E February 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

It sounds like you are doing an awesome job! I can only imagine what it would be like from reading what you write and a few personal experiences with my friends children. It's sad that you are pulling away from family functions and aren't getting the support you need from them, maybe the just need a little more education? It comes down to you needing to do what is best for your family and it sounds like that is what you are doing. I think tomorrow you need to call up a girlfriend and go get lunch and pedicures (maybe even a movie)! That was a nice thing for you hubby to do. I hope you are able to relax, realize you are an amazing mom/woman, and have a great day!

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4 Ashley E February 1, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Rereading what I wrote about maybe educating your extended family more sounds lame, I'm sure you have done it. Sorry didn't mean that to sound the way it did :(

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5 erinclot February 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

No, we actually probably need to do a little more prepping. That didn't come off bad at all :)

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6 Ashley February 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Sorry to hear it's been a challenging month for you. When this showed up in my news feed on FB it said "Unless you are a professional, do not give me parenting advice regarding autism." I can only imagine! I feel the same what about "unless you are a professional, do not give me parenting advice." My husband's cousin posts all the time about not vaccinating, not circumcising, or breastfeeding photos (of herself). That's fine if that's what she believes in. I don't feel the same way about things. I feel you can find anything to support your cause now days. I respect her beliefs but I feel like she tries to rub it in my face since I don't believe the same things as her. Sorry to be venting! I'm just frustrated right now. Hopefully February will be better for you!

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7 erinclot February 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I totally get that! It's funny how when you believe in a certain way of parenting, it's so ingrained in you that it's hard to see someone else might think differently. It's hard to step back and remember that each parent gets to make the choices that they think are best for their own kids. As mom's we all need to cut each other a break sometimes!

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8 Laura P February 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

{{Hugs}}

It's been an interesting couple of weeks here too so I can relate to much of what you said. Except in our house it is climbing, jumping from where he climbed to, climbing back up, and repeat the pattern. And oh my word, the meltdowns. The meltdowns. I embrace the time when we go through streaks of few to none.

There are those great times (language explosion, shared enjoyment, funny comments from the kids) and then there are the crushing lows where you just try to hold it together the best you can. You and Yogi-Dad are doing a great job. Here's to a much better February for all our kids.

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9 Sara February 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I wish I could hold your hand! I am exactly right there with you some days. You have to be linebacker for your team (family) and put your head down and barrel through no matter which bitchy extended family members you knock down in the process . . . but it so exhausting and emotional. Good job mom!

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10 Tina February 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Wish I lived closer!!! i'd go out with you and then we would be in trouble!
Enjoy some much needed time away!

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11 Sarah Jane February 2, 2012 at 10:35 am

Our daughter is not autistic so I have no idea what you go through. Hopefully your family will be more understanding, and I'm glad for your honesty.
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12 Andrea G. February 3, 2012 at 5:48 am

Aw hugs mama. Good luck with the new therapy. Your family needs to leave you guys alone.

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13 Becky Worthman February 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

I hope all these supportive comments help you combat the criticism. It's ridiculous how people think they know your situation and can tell you anything about it, or even feel as if you aren't doing it right. Even if you weren't (I don't think so!), it's not anyone's business to criticize! Keep up the good work, and remember that when the energy to deal just isn't there you can fall back on the infinite Love of your family and keep going.

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