Mothering a PDD kid is frustrating. While he craves routine and structure, he seems to change on a daily basis in his likes and dislikes. Some things I can count on, but just when I feel like I have a grasp, he flips. Sometimes I think he does it intentionally just so he can see my head explode for a change.
Just like I knew it would happen, the sunshine didn’t last. Getting out of “normal” routine spells sure disaster in our household. The unstructured days and nights of vacation push his limits. It’s difficult to keep a routine for one when the other two don’t have that same need. Sometimes I feel like I’m punishing them just so he can have what he needs. The two weeks off of school had highs and lows. What I thought would make him happy didn’t. What I thought would drive him to tantrum…..did and then didn’t. We took a trip to the Safari Park. Normally, this is something he loves. Animals are one of his “things.” I don’t know what was different about this trip, outside of the fact we had his uncle and three of his cousins with us, but he was unhappy and uncooperative from the minute we got in the car. I was frustrated. I was sad for him. I will admit, I even got angry at one point. He wasn’t deliberately trying to ruin the day for everyone, but it felt like it at some points during the day. Then just when I was reaching the end of my sanity, M gave him a job….use his map and route our way to the next animal. Ethan had to be the “leader”. Worked like a charm. No more whining. No more tantrums. No more dragging his feet. No more tears. When we reached the condors (the animals he really wanted to see), his face lit up. He was talkative, he was engaged, he was laughing. He chose elephants next and as his dad and I stood next to him, he chattered on and on. Again, engaged and laughing. I didn’t want the moment to end. I saw the E-man we’ve only had glimpses of the past year or so. While I was so happy my heart nearly burst, I wanted to cry at the same time.
We went to the neighbor’s for a family friendly New Year’s Eve party. This could have gone completely sideways. There were lots of kids, the dinner choices were not his choices, there would be LOTS of noise. I was mentally prepared to leave early and bring him home. He only fussed once. Then he started playing along with the game we were playing, and he was fine. At one point, the kids were all dancing to the song of the hour (LMFAO – the “every day I’m shuffling” song) and he was right there in the big middle of it. The look on his face…..he was so happy. We rarely see him well and truly happy like that. Again, I would have stopped time if I could. It was the best gift of the New Year to see him so happy in that moment.
Living life with him is completely draining. His emotions, while usually negative and angry, can change in a heartbeat. The happy moods rarely last and it seems he’s set off by the smallest things. I live for the moments he is smiling. I would pay big money to hear him giggle and belly laugh. I store those memories up – the ones of him smiling, laughing, happy. I have to. If I didn’t have any of those to look back on, I’d have no hope at all.