Your challenges change over time. The same is true when raising a child on the spectrum. Yes, I no longer need to worry about The Boy bolting into a street or into the crowd at a mall. I no longer have to worry about acquiring words and peeling meat sticks so he will eat some protein.
I do have to worry about the increase in anxiety. I have to worry about how seriously I need to take the screams of “I hate my life!” and “Today is my last day!” I do have to worry about just how to handle a meltdown when my son is bigger than me, in a public venue, and out of control.
Saturday, the recording of toilets in public spaces issue reared its ugly head again. I should have known it was coming. His dad cancelled on him for Thanksgiving, and hasn’t called in several months. And the talk of toilet models and interest has increased exponentially. I should have known, but I didn’t. And I had to put my foot down and remind him that we don’t record toilets in public bathrooms. Suffice it to say, it didn’t go down well. Heh.
After he had calmed a bit on the way home (a two hour trip to our favorite town which was supposed to include a stop for me at a stationary store so I could give The Man some ideas for Christmas, but was cut short), part of The Boy’s plan was to show me how I was mistaken by showing me videos that others had taken in public restrooms. Ahem. Yes, he is indeed a teenager.
He calmed, but didn’t let it go as easily as he has in the past. He’s of an age where he is questioning authority. But autism mixes it all up because parts of him are teenager, and parts of him are 10 year old boy, and parts of him are too smart for his own good.
When we got home, I let him settle, and then we talked. We talked about how Mom and The Man make the rules, and it isn’t a democracy, although I will always listen to him. We talked about why some people might not understand his recording in a public bathroom, how they might misunderstand and be afraid. How they might call the police, and how the police might not understand. We talked about how The Man and I don’t want him to be in that situation. We talked about some of the things he had said to me when he was angry were not nice, and that everyone says things they don’t mean when they are angry, but that apologies are necessary afterward.
He still has a burning need to record toilets as they flush. I can’t erase that. But if he’s of an age where he can try to prove me wrong in some of my judgments, he’s old enough to listen to why I make the decisions I do.
(We also talked about how next time we go somewhere, we make mom’s stop first.)