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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Working From Home And Tearing My Hair Out - Welcome To The World Of A Single Working Autism Mom

My son is home sick today. I'm not terribly surprised, mind you - his sister had this intestinal bug yesterday and I guess it was just his turn.

And lucky for me, I have my work laptop with me and a wonderful, understanding boss who will, on occasion, permit me to work from home in a situation like this.

Of course, by 8am today I had a flood of emails waiting for me about issues that I pretty much have to be on-hand to solve (doesn't that just figure) and I'm going to have to call in some favors to get those resolved. I also have an enormous spreadsheet project that requires extreme attention to detail, as these figures and charts are going to be presented at an executive meeting at the end of the week.

And on top of all that, I have a son who, at the age of ten, doesn't really get the concept that Mom is working. Repeated prompts of "David, honey, Mommy needs you to be quiet," or "David, Mommy needs to think right now and she can't talk," are falling on not deaf, but autistic ears, which is a seriously hard thing right now.

David can't just lay on the couch and watch a movie - he has to ask you a thousand innocuous questions about it, too. "Does Frodo have a ring? Does Gollum want the ring? Is Gollum like a big baby? Does he spit? Did Sam say po-ta-toes?""

None of these questions really require an answer, especially since he knows the movie by heart and knows the answers for himself. But if I don't answer, he'll just increase his volume and start every question over, adding "Mom! Mom!" along with it until I answer.

And the movies...he rewinds them, playing favored lines or background music again and again and again. Or sometimes, he just likes to watch the main menu on the DVD loop, for hour. An hour.

Of course, he also feels physically ill, something that's hard enough on a neuro-typical child but is especially difficult to a child with sensory issues. Every trip to the bathroom is a half hour circus the involves cleanup and soothing and there have been several since the wee hours of this morning.

I am constantly interrupted. I am overloaded. It is hard, very hard to manage, and to get anything done. It's frustrating in the extreme.

And it doesn't escape me that this is my son's world, every single day. Overloaded. Too much going on at once. Expected to get things done in spite of it all. Frustrated and wanting to lash out.

He can sense my frustration today, and he keeps coming over to me as I sit here at the table, grabbing my head and pulling it over so he can kiss me, because he's learned that kisses make you happy. The first few times it was cute. It's still cute, but it's happening every few minutes and I'm trying very hard to remember that he's only trying to help and not snap at him for it.

Most of all, I'm trying to remember that we're in this together today, just as we are every day. Only my difficult day will resolve and tomorrow will be different. His difficult day is every day, and he moves forward and thrives in spite of it.

I wish, just for today anyway, that I could cope like he does, with even a small portion of the perseverance and grace that he possesses.

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