Rough Weekend

We had a rough weekend.

We planned a play date at a friend's house.  Then I realized that we also had a birthday party for another friend.  Although they were at different times on Saturday, in our world that is considered "double booking."  Too many outings in one day often leads to a bad day around here.

Transitioning from our play date was rough.  I ended up having to carry Colin out to the car, sans pants.  A lot was going on as we tried to leave - potty breaks, not wanting to leave, being tired - and it all added up to a rough transition.  Within ten minutes of driving, both boys were asleep.  They got in an hour nap as we made our way to the birthday party.

Colin needed to go outside a couple of times when the party was a little too much for him.  This is a really good skill for him.  Two years ago, he would not have removed himself from the situation.  Everything would have escalated and BOOM, meltdown.  Now he usually knows when he needs a break and lets us know.

He wanted to watch the fire truck, but didn't like the siren...



Fast forward to this morning.  He randomly screamed all morning.  We don't really know why.  I knew that church would be rough, and we probably should have stayed home.

Church is hard for him. It is stressful for me.  I am torn between "he screams and I need to get him out of here fast" and "if he screams and I take him away, he thinks that screaming gets him what he wants."  I ended up taking him downstairs, where we sat by ourselves.  I tried to take him to music time.  After one minute, he grabbed his teacher's hand and walked her outside.  (If Mommy won't take me out, you will, Miss Karen!).  Miss Karen went back to teach, so Colin and I sat alone, again.  I tried to coax him back into the preschool class, but he was adamant that he would make his way back into the choir loft.  He screamed when I had to carry him back downstairs again.  Curtis had heard the "Colin Call" and came down to meet us.  We ended up in the nursery where he could just play for the remainder of the service.

This is where autism is hard, guys.  Fun things - like play dates, birthday parties, and church - they turn into hard work.  I have to plan for everything and be prepared for anything.  Both days this weekend I ended up carrying out an angry, crying, screaming, meltdown-mode little boy.  As he gets bigger, it gets more difficult.  That's the physical part.

The emotional part is worse.  Remember how I said it is a good thing that Colin knows when he needs a break and removes himself from the situation?  While that is good for him, it breaks my heart.  I wish he didn't need to take a break from these fun things.  A birthday party with friends, games, pizza, and cake - how fun!  Unless you have sensory and social problems, that is.  He can't tell me, but I imagine situations like this can be very overwhelming for him.  I want him to want to play with the other kids.  I wish he would have been right up there with his brother, laughing, playing, and having a good time. He did sit and watch the other kids play for a bit, and I was happy to see that he was interested in what they were doing.

It is also sad for me because Finley so much enjoys the social things in life.  He had a blast yesterday.  But when Curtis had to take Colin out, he missed watching Finn hit the pinata.

 I feel like we rarely ever get to experience anything as a family.  

We are always separating:  one of us with Finn, one with Colin.  I want to be present for both boys, but that is impossible when they aren't even in the same room.  We try to take turns as to who is on Colin Duty/Finley Duty, but it's hard.

I always feel isolated at church.  Colin and  I spend most of the service wandering around the old part of the church, alone.  I know that he needs to get away, move, whatever the case may be, but part of me is sad because we aren't with everyone else.  We used to be so active in church, and I feel a definite sadness because we cannot be active now.  Then I feel like I'm neglecting Finn.  Like, "Sorry, Kiddo, you have to stay with your class, peace out."

On days like today, I think it would just be easier to stay home.  Well, I don't think.  I know it would be easier to stay home....but we go anyway.  I want Colin in the habit of going to church.  If we never go, he will never get used to it.  We can't spend our lives cooped up in our house.  We have to go out, and Colin has to learn to go too.

I look at the picture above of Colin watching the fire truck from the doorway.  I see that as a metaphor for our lives right now.  We are always on the outskirts of things.  Watching life happen around us  and we are stuck on the outside. Watching and waiting while everyone else lives a "normal" life.

I sometimes ask myself why we go out, why do we do things?  We know it might end up a disaster, or we will see the ramifications of those outings later.  So why?  Well, I guess we do it because they might end up going really well.  We go out and we try because we want to do things as a family.  Like Temple Grandin says, autistic kids need to experience things like any other kid.

On a possibly-related note, my stomach is torn up all day long, every day. I had been attributing it to my age and just not being able to eat whatever I want anymore.  I mentioned it to someone at church this morning, and he said "maybe you have an ulcer."  The more I thought about it, he very well could be right.  I worry about everything, all the time.  Who knows what it's doing to me physically?  I guess I should look on the bright side:  if the thought of food gives me heartburn, I'll lose weight!  I'll keep you updated on my recently-discovered diet plan.

I am sorry for the sad/complainy post.  Things have been going really well lately, so this rough weekend hit hard.  I guess I just needed a little reminder that autism can be tough.  Ha.

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