Struggling

So, I’m not going to lie…I am struggling this evening!

Horrendous weekend, behaviour wise. I can’t tell you why… all I can tell you is that after a pretty good spell with my eldest, he is clearly not coping.

It could be down to a number of things.

We have had, from one or both children: refusing to sit at the table, refusing food, blowing raspberries, spinning, dumping toys, crashing toys, being rough, trying to jump on beds/couch, dangerous behaviour, shouting when not getting their own way, screaming, meltdowns, hitting, self-harm, headbutting, avoidance, baby talk, rolling on the floor, impatience, trying to play on stairs, taking things from the fridge/freezer without asking, trying to wander off elsewhere in the house to do gosh knows what…the list goes on!

I have tried to deal with the behaviours as I always do but for the last three days, nothing seems to be working.

My eldest seems extremely anxious.

I have been doing lots of reading, as always, and have reached out to parents of SPD children. I was referred to a link which was initially suggested to help me with my youngest…but it is in fact my eldest. I am going to share this link in another post. It discusses PDA.

My eldest has an issue with getting wet, despite being obsessed with water…and I mean obsessed!

It was raining when I collected him. He had a huge meltdown…refused to walk and didn’t want to go in the pram because water was dripping from the cover. He wanted me to carry him home. I explained that I could not and gave him the option of pram or walking. I had to dry the pram in every area he perceived to be wet, or discoloured. We managed a few steps before he scraped his feet on the ground, making it impossible to push the pram. He tried to climb out of the pram and got stuck, which upset him greatly. When I took him out to walk, he wouldn’t put his feet to the ground because it was wet. He hung from me and almost knocked me over.

Then, some raindrops wet his trousers. Rather than stripping off, like he usually does, he had a huge meltdown…screaming, crying and pleading with me to take the wet away.

We discussed the purpose of shoes. I showed him the raindrops on my leggings and the bottom of my shoes. Nothing worked. He tried to climb me and I nearly dropped him onto the ground.

I pretended to dry the patches…and we discussed how they would dry…and that we could dry everything at home.

I lifted him up, kissed and cuddled him, and after some time and effort, managed to convince him to walk with me, pushing the pram. We had to keep pausing to discuss the rain and he kept crying about being wet.

“Please take me in the car next time, Mummy!”
“I’m afraid I can’t!”

His face showed real pain and tears were streaming down his red, patchy cheeks. I feel so torn between conflicting emotions…feeling frustrated and inconvenienced…also feeling so sorry for this little soul who cannot control his emotions and reactions. Ninety nine percent of the time, his needs outweigh my own and I take a deep breath, push aside my feelings and try everything I can possibly think of to make him feel happier. I wish he didn’t have to go through this all the time…that we didn’t have to experience this all the time.

Once we were home, I started dinner. Once we sat down to eat, another meltdown commenced. This time, the other child jumped on the bandwagon. I got hit in the face! My eldest has a talent for always striking the same place, every time! We removed them both, placing them somewhere safe, and just stared at each other…exhausted and exasperated. My husband asked, “What have we done to deserve this? Daily! We give them so much love. We try so hard to meet all of their needs. Having special children is hard…and I’m worn!”

At least we have each other. Although, it does cause tension at times, it’s nice to have that other human being who gets it…really gets it! Who lives it!

As I write this, the children are playing beautifully. Calm after the storm. Oh…spoke too soon…

School Pick Up

All children get tired after school but for my eldest, this has a huge impact.

I took the children to get a treat from the bakery. They ate their snacks and I used a wipe on the children’s hands and faces. Then without thinking, I wiped some sugar from my eldest’s jumper. He hates getting wet. Alongside being tired…this was too much…and he had a meltdown.

He screamed, cried, hit me in frustration and began to take his top off, in the middle of the street.

I watched the other parents walking by with their children. People were staring, as usual, and the rest were just going about their business, popping into shops, jumping into cars or walking home…with such effortlessness.

It took me almost an hour and a half to walk home…when usually it takes no longer than 25 minutes.

Tonight a family member said they wish I didn’t worry so much what other people thought and this struck a chord. I reflected on this and realised that it isn’t so much that I am worried what other people think, it’s the fact I am so exhausted from the daily struggles and battles I face. I adore my children, but for a brief moment, I watched the other families and felt slightly envious. I would love to be able to pop to the park with the children or even just walk home without all the dramas that unfold from a plethora of triggers I can’t control.

I think control is one of my frustrations. I can’t control what people think or how my children behave. I feel utterly helpless. The snapshot people see of my children ‘misbehaving’ is of course going to make people form opinions about my parenting. I feel this is unjustified and wish they could see beyond the snapshot to see just what I juggle and what a good job I do, and how loved and happy the children are the rest of the time. But sadly, this is not possible.

This morning my youngest had a meltdown because we couldn’t walk home the way we normally do. This lasted a long time and resulted in him removing all of his clothes and weeing on the carpet. He has had a few behavioural differences since he was very young, but now they are becoming more prominent. Ah, the magical age of two and a half to three, just like my eldest. However, they both experience very different behaviours and difficulties.

It probably sounds like I accept and tolerate this behaviour…but I really don’t. However, during meltdowns there is very little you can do ‘in the moment’.

My youngest presents as angry. Everything seems to annoy and upset him. But when he snaps out of it, he is just the loveliest soul. I am still learning about strategies to use with him, as the things I have in place for his brother are not working.

My eldest is going through ASD/SPD diagnosis. We are also looking into Tourettes and Dyspraxia. He also meets criteria of ADHD,

My youngest is being assessed for behavioural difficulties. He certainly has some SPD issues but these are different to his brother. His behaviours seem to be related to ADHD or ODD.

I’m so mentally, physically and emotionally drained right now.

Triggers

…and things not going as expected, transitions, fixating on things and having to let them go/not being able to access them… etc etc

What a day!

I tried to post this yesterday but it wouldn’t save…

We had the best day today. I’m utterly beaming.

I managed to take the children out by myself to a group, and they absolutely loved it. They were engaged all the way through. We had a slight upset at the end but it was manageable.
We then went to the library to return and choose some new books, as well as to buy a cake to take home.

I’ve had some health issues that are now (hopefully) being managed, so this is a big thing for me. This blog is not about my health but I mention it briefly because it has made everything I have discussed SO much harder. At the moment, I am just loving life and being able to do all the things I once took for granted. I have my bad days, but so many more good.

Anyway, we had an active day where they were engaged and happy, and when I read them their bedtime stories, there was just such a wonderful atmosphere of calm and happiness.

To the outside world today, my eldest in particular most certainly didn’t present as autistic as he used his scripts and toolkit. It was beautiful to watch, and for the first time in my life so far, I got to sit and have a cup of tea and a chat with other parents. Obviously, I needed to have eyes on but I didn’t need to be attached to them.

I know not every day will be like this but what a lovely day!

I want to thank Daniel the Tiger for helping me to resolve a situation where there could have been a mega meltdown. My eldest’s doughnut got squished. I saw all the signs but luckily remembered an episode he watches on repeat about birthday cake being ‘smushed’ but still tasting great.

This past week, he has been singing lots of songs from Daniel the Tiger and has even been teaching his brother some of the advice from the show. It’s going in!!!!

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

I am sure I will be referring to how Daniel the Tiger has helped us in other ways. I can already tell you that “If you got to go potty, stop and go right away, then flush and wash and be on your way…” has been beyond helpful!!!!!