Routines, Item Attachment, and Flare-ups

We almost didn’t make it to school this morning.

new rubber glassesThe Boy had forgotten his (fake) glasses at Grammy’s house last evening, and wanting to head off a last minute meltdown, I told him as soon as he woke up.  I told him we could get them later that day, and that would be alright wouldn’t it?…  I breathed a sigh of relief when he said OK, but it was premature.

Once he was dressed, and it was time to go, he announced that he wasn’t going to school because he couldn’t go without his glasses.

I cajoled, made deals (and a few threats of consequences), and was finally able to get him out the door, a half-hour late.  He wore a pair of reading glasses instead, and I went to Grammy’s, picked up his (fake) glasses, and took them to school for him.

It’s still frustrating, and there are always those moments of indecision – Do I let him stay home?  Do I let him come with me to Grammy’s to pick them up?  Or do I stick to my guns?  What is the goal here?  Today, I think I made the right choice.  I don’t always, but no one is perfect.

I’m also starting to realize that for whatever reason, the glasses offer comfort to him, and that when he has a “flare-up” like this, it is a form of self-advocacy.  He is telling me that he is not as comfortable going to school without them.  And one of the best things I ever learned about autism is this: Behavior is communication.

 

5 Tips to Being the Best Mom Ever

I don’t claim to be the best mom ever, but I did have the best mom ever, so I have some familiarity with the subject.  This list is from the perspective of a mom of a tween, so bear that in mind.  I still think it applies at many levels of development (both yours and his):

  1. Never stop showing them how much you love them.  I’m lucky that The Boy still allows me to hug him, kiss his face, and cuddle him from time to time.  He even holds my hand sometimes!  I tell him I love him when I wake him up, when I say goodnight, and any other time I feel like it.  To me, it never loses its meaning.
  2. Try to remember what it’s like.  The Boy is in middle school, and unfortunately, I remember middle school.  No one wants to re-live it because it’s not a fun time for anyone.  When I can remember this, I am much more compassionate towards him.
  3. Put down the phone.  Step away from the TV.  I still struggle with this, and truthfully, he does, too.  But we have so much more fun, and make so many more memories when we spend time together, often outside, doing stuff.  And that’s what builds relationships.
  4. Make him a priority.  Notice I didn’t say the highest priority.  But moms need to be involved and know what’s going on in a child’s life.  If you don’t know every teacher’s name, and who he gets along with best, you’re behind.  You don’t need to be a nuisance (like I am becoming, albeit for very good reasons), but you need to show through your actions that you are present, to both your child, and the school.  Education works so much better that way.  Trust me.
  5. Try not to take it personally.  When he gets snippy or disrespectful, doesn’t want to hold your hand, or seems aloof, it isn’t you.  He’s figuring it all out, so give him the space to do so, while realizing that every kid does this.  He still loves you, and may even like you 😉  Conversely, when his behavior needs to be corrected, take the personal out of it.  Pretend you are the teacher (you know — the one that can’t scream back at a kid or curse) calmly trying to teach him a lesson about life… Because that’s exactly what you are.

As I said, I don’t claim to be the best mom ever, but I’m the best one The Boy’s ever had 😉  I’ve seen a lot of good moms during my time in the classroom, and I had the best mom ever growing up.  The biggest thing to remember is this:

No one is the best every day.  Just keep trying.

Your kids will love you for it.

Winter at the Beach