We have 10 weeks to go before the big move, and it feels like we’re out of time. We have prepped The Boy, and he has shown increasing acceptance, although he still talks about cloning himself, so that various copies can attend all the middle schools in our area, and one can even play video games all day and visit his current ASD teacher after school. I don’t disabuse him of these fanciful notions, choosing instead to concentrate on the realistic, and I am getting a strong urge to kick it up a notch with this approach. I picked The Boy up from his dad today, and began talking about the changes to come, reminding him of everything we had talked about with the moving process. At first, all seemed OK, and then he began to fret about last spring break.
Part of his autism includes never forgetting things that have upset him, which are usually times he has missed school for various reasons. Luckily he does not get ill often, but there have been times over the years when he has either had to stay home from school or be picked up due to illness (I learned early on never to make appointments for the doctor or dentist that interfered with school, because I would never hear the end of it). Last spring break, I had to make an agonizing decision about pulling The Boy out of school for a week so that I could have a vacation. Our breaks did not coincide, and not pulling him out meant I would get no break at all. It may sound selfish, but I am firmly in the camp that believes that if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, and therefore I decided to pull him out. I also chose not to tell him that he would be missing school. Honesty is usually the best policy, but if you don’t have to step in manure, than why would you choose to? Unfortunately, a parapro let it slip a few days before that he would, indeed, be missing school, and that was just about the worst thing that could happen. It was as close to the end of the world as it could get for The Boy, and on top of it all, I had “lied” to him.
Needless to say, with the memory he has, especially for tragic events, this has come back to haunt us a time or two, as it did today. The Boy was in tears about something that had happened a year ago, and it is one of those things about autism I have a hard time wrapping my brain around.
We talked about how it was in the past, couldn’t be changed, and how we had to move on from that. I promised it would never happen again, and he launched into his next set of fears, having to give away all of his toys, because he is “skipping middle and high school, and going to college”, like Andy from Toy Story 3. We have talked about how we will be purging some toys before the move, and this is how he interprets it. So we talked about part of growing up is outgrowing things like baby toys and baby clothes, and that once you learn what those toys have to teach you, they are much more suited to younger children. I reassured him we weren’t throwing toys away (a constant fear, again, thanks to Toy Story 3), but donating them so that 3rd graders could play with his 3rd grade toys, and so on. This idea of outgrowing clothes and toys seemed to make more sense to him, and he quieted, thinking about everything I had said. After a while, his tears turned to smiles, and we were back on track.