Thursday, December 18, 2008
Because I need a friend
So Carrie just left to teach her Thursday piano lessons and things were a bit hectic. Hannah was just barely awake from a nap and I was trying to get some things under control in the kitchen. I had just tried to move some things to the outside storage shed and not all of it fit. Carrie was doing her best to hide her disappointment.
Fast forward: Now Leah was trying to hold me and snuggle and share the same office chair while simultaneously putting her arms around my neck and cut off my air supply through my windpipe. This unfortunately happens to be a fairly regular occurrence. She doesn't understand or fully comprehend what she's doing, but just thinks our reactions to it is enormously amusing. I stood up out of necessity and utility; both to break her choke hold and to try to get the snack on the table of canned peaches and graham crackers.Carrie kept insisting on her way out the door that this particular snack time was both essential and just might be what the kids were screaming for...(though if the way their all too Taylor-like food critique answered for a confirmation of that claim by how much they ate, or should I say what they didn't eat from their snubbing of the snack that they either wanted something else or they just didn't want a snack at all.)
So Carrie leaves and Hannah's devastated that she'll be separated from her mother for a stretch of time that she doesn't understand, Leah is doing her best to topple the house and me with it as its retreating leader whose about to go down with the ship. So, I'm scrambling as fast as I can to keep us afloat and I'm trying to hurry and get a snack into Leah's mouth before they can regroup and coordinate and mount a counter assault and thus claim victory over dad-a.k.a the domestic version of the failed/harried substitute teacher in for the mother.
It's at this time (as if I wasn't hanging on by a thread enough with my back against the wall, looking for the kid-equivalent of the white flag of surrender,...I guess that would or could have been candy or cookies, but my survival instinct wasn't allow me to think that sharply. It was more along the lines of the fight or flight response, sadly enough.) that Leah starts one of my favorite pet peeves of hers, and that is to start trying to console Hannah in offering her all sorts of things that she can't deliver on. "Hannah, you sad? Do you want mommy?!" (of course she misses and wants her mommy, this is the LAST thing in the world that I want her to be reminded of!!....Then:) "Hannah, you don't want peaches? Do you want fruit snacks?!" Again, another no no except when we ration to them in small quantities or else if we let it, it would be the bulk of their entire diet. Then, after I tried to put out both of these fires, Leah threw out some more lighter fluid, as I was trying to get Hannah some Juice: "Hannah, you don't want juice? Do you want hot chocolate instead?!!!" This is of course both of their favorite drink and also of course, we only offer it for breakfast.
So, I' ve had about all I can stand and I'm definitely no longer thinking rationally. And, all those parenting strategies I've read in books for kids with or without Autism have been thrown out so much further than just the window. So, now I'm marching her into time out and it's for my good, not hers. (I hate when I look back or, even worse, if I know in the moment that I'm not doing the right things for my kids for the right reasons or if I'm letting my negative emotions get the best of me and cloud my judgment, etc.)
Anyhow, so there I was, marching Leah back into time out for offering Hannah Hot Chocolate of all things, the final straw, the end of modern western society as we know it, and at the last second Leah implores me,"No, don't!" in a sad and somewhat hurt voice. Somewhat stunned and taken aback, I asked the question, "Why?"
Her answer stopped me dead in my tracks and ended timeout immediately..."Because I need a friend."