Free writing… this is where I write continuously without caring about spelling and grammar. Tonight I’m just having a bit of a rambling… because today I had a nasty moment with my son Curly. He’s 4 and has autism. However, I’m not sure if tonight was him and autism or him being a 4-year-old… he’s the only child I have. This post will not be edited except for typos. I just feel like saying stuff. This post contains two sentences that may offend some readers, I apologize in advance.
From the things that people who know about my son’s diagnosis continue to say, I assume they believe that Curly has autism, speech delay and likes to play on his own… most of the time. They don’t have a clue what it means to have autism, and what it means to be the parent of a child with autism. Especially a very small child who is still growing and still learning communications skills and language.
This child of mine doesn’t fully understand a lot of things and I don’t know if it’s because he has autism. For example, he doesn’t understand why a dead piece of grass which has been pulled out of the soil can’t stand on its own. He gets frustrated, he chucks a fit, he screams and shouts. Today he didn’t understand why he can’t continue playing outside when it’s pitch dark. He was probably thinking I was being the meanest mum on Earth when I asked him to bring his bike in and to go have his bath. He rolled on the floor, screaming his head off and I’m sure the people next door think he’s a spoiled brat who wants his way.
My son doesn’t understand that just because the sun sets on us while we’re still out driving it doesn’t mean we’re buying fast food. He associates driving at night-time with getting french fries. He loves french fries. He chucks a fit and won’t get out of the car when we get home.
All this does my head in most of the time. If I’m too tired I ignore him, tell him Fine, stay in the car then. If I’m ‘awake’, fine and aware, I will try to coax him into the house or away from whatever he was doing.
But when he starts crying it’s like… like he really lost a part of himself and is crying because it’s gone. Seriously. It’s like he is emotionally hurting. Forgive this example but you know when you watch someone scream, get out of control and cry after they’ve been told their loved one has died? That’s how hard my son cries when you tell him he can’t do or have something. I don’t know, is this a typical reaction of a child or is this my son being a boy with autism?
Everything stops existing. He is locked in his own world and he can’t hear anything you’re trying to tell him. I try to hold him and comfort him. He reaches out and scratches. He kicks. Screams. Kicks and screams. This would last a few minutes too long for my head. I thought we were over this, I thought he had stopped acting this way. But lately it seems to have returned.
Sometimes Curly runs to the couch and buries himself deep into the cushions and screams “Noooo, nooo, nooo” just like people do when they lose a loved one. Like when I found out my grand father died. It scares the heck out of me this similarity. It makes me believe that he is truly hurting. I don’t understand why he would feel this way about not being able to play outside in the dark.
But then again, I don’t understand much about autism. I’m still learning and my son teaches me something new every day. This anger, this rage, it gets too much sometimes. It’s too much for a child, even. But he’s more calmer for longer nowadays. Last year Curly was full of rage. There were times when he wouldn’t sit still to have a meal at restaurants. He wouldn’t sit still for a haircut and tonight he did. And the most hurtful of all… there were times when he wouldn’t let me – his mother – hold him for a cuddle. My heart bled many times too often last year.
But since we started speech and behavioral therapy sessions and kindergarten, my Curly is ‘home’ from his own world. There’s still a lot of work to do, but he’s here. He’s more present. He’s more in our world. He’s still angry at times but he’s learning to cope. And as his parents, the Scientist and I are learning to work with him.
The house is now quiet… and I miss my son when he’s asleep. And every night when I go to kiss him while he sleeps, I say a prayer – God, please make my son a little bit better tomorrow.
If you have a child or loved one who displays lots of anger and rage? How do you cope with this? What has worked for you?