Monday 29 October 2012

Know Thy Limits

This is good advice for alcohol and parenting.  (Don't mix those two ... it never ends well.)

This weekend Alex and I were building some puzzles together.  Normally, I really enjoy doing this with him but it lost some of its novelty around the third 500 piece puzzle.  The second challenge was that he was humming something which he must have picked up from a damaged source because he'd repeat the same few notes and then jump to another section while making an incredibly awful grinding noise between them.

We've noticed this in the past.  He was reciting the lines from a game and included the whirring noise of the CD grinding in the drive between each one.  He doesn't distinguish between relevant and non-relevant sounds.

I'm a sound-sensitive person.  I cannot ignore the annoying music in the background.  A few years of working retail at the holidays nearly killed my enjoyment of Christmas carols altogether.  Especially the employer who insisted on rerunning a single CD of It's A Dolly Parton Christmas over and over during twelve hour shifts.  You know who you are and there's a special place in Hell waiting for you.  Guess what?  It'll involve a Dolly Parton Christmas.

Veering back on track ... I was getting annoyed and I decided to call it before I started losing my patience with him.  Social interaction is good and you should do as much of it with your autistic child as you can.  But know when the interaction is going to stop being positive on your end.  The endless stimming and verbal repetitions can really get on your nerves.  Know when you're going to start losing it and stop before that.

I managed to transition him to watching the Weather Network and curled up in the other room with a Kathleen Turner biography to regain my emotional equilibrium.  As I've told many new parents, raising an autistic child is a marathon event and it can be very easy to burn out, leaving your child with no one in his or her corner.  Taking care of yourself is essential.

After an hour or so, I went back and found he'd finished the puzzle by himself.  I told him I was proud of him. 

But I'm proud of me, too.

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