Overnight, my son was up for a few hours, which is “normal” in the wonderful world of Autism. I changed his diaper (6 years and counting!), gave him some water, made sure he was comfortable in his room, closed the door and went back to bed. I drifted in and out of sleep for the next few hours and, when my daughter crawled into bed with me around 6am, my son was wide awake, playing loudly in his room. By the time I got up an hour later, my daughter was fast asleep (which was strange because she’s the morning person in our family) and my son was actually hyper. The first thought that went through my head was “Has he been awake this whole time?!”.
We dropped my daughter off at camp, and then my son and I went to the Early Year’s Centre for the weekly playgroup. Being new to town, it’s nice to get to know other (usually) moms in the area – have even reconnected with a couple childhood friends there too, which is always fun.
My son always goes towards the same toys for the most part: fabric plant pot with 3 fabric flowers and a fabric worm, a bin of plastic animals (which gives him time to practice his new word: “zees-ba”, otherwise known as “zebra”), and some containers filled with rubber insects. He spends most of the time happily lining everything up and using the rubber insects to create letters, spelling out words.
This morning however, he just didn’t want to sit still. As more moms and their kids entered, more kids tried taking these toys away from him. Most mornings, he’s really good at sharing but this morning was not one of those mornings. He kept trying to take the toys back, which made the younger kids cry. I moderated, giving the other child the toy (“First, it’s his/her turn, honey; then, it’s your turn.”). This was unacceptable for him. He started burrowing into me, covering his eyes with his hands, which means he’s self-regulating to try to avoid a meltdown.
I was able to calm him down each time, alleviating a meltdown, and he went back to happily playing with the toys. When he was happy however, he would screech…almost taking the paint off the walls. I tried talking him down, distracting him, giving him a timeout, everything. Nothing stopped the screeching so we ended up leaving, not because anyone asked us to but I didn’t want him to start upsetting the 10 other younger kids that were there, and the snowball of emotions that might ensue.
He was very excited when I told him that we could go to the park, and on the way there, it started looking very ominous so we came back home and within 10 minutes of using sidewalk chalk, it started raining. I had a full demonstration of how obsessive he can be during this time because he would not stop writing (even though it was POURING) until he had finished his normal combination of words.
Poor guy just can’t get a break today. Sun’s out now though so hopefully the park will dry up soon so we can go.