Pervasive, adjective meaning “spread throughout.” How apt. E-man has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. Pervasive….spread throughout, as in, if affects everything. It affects everyone in our household, everyone in his classroom, all his friends. It is spread throughout his every action, word, reaction, interaction. Right now, at this moment, it is more than I can take.
It was another rough morning. He didn’t want to wake up. He didn’t want to take a bath. The water was not the right temperature. The soap wasn’t coming out of his hair. I was rushing him. The cat wouldn’t let him pet him. We didn’t have anything he wanted for breakfast. He didn’t want to take his medicine. He didn’t want to drink any milk (I caved on that one). He wanted to wear the shoes for which we only could find one of the pair. He wanted to be driven to school rather than walk. The strap on his school bag was too long, and then it hurt his shoulder. He complained about the sidewalk going up the driveway into school. He didn’t want to go to school. I was defeated before we ever even got out the door.
Managing him and his quirks affects our lives every single day. There are times I wonder if I’m catering to him by making sure we have certain clothes, food, snacks, and drinks available for him, that his bed has the sheets on he prefers, that he has clean sweatpants to wear (because he prefers them to any other pants or shorts), that it isn’t too loud in the house, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes I feel I should push him to get out of his comfort zone, try new things. Maybe he will take steps forward if we don’t enable. But then when I think of the battles involved in changing even one of those things, I become exhausted. What is the right thing to do for him?
Every meal is a challenge. Every outing requires planning and thinking ahead. Every event is an event. Simple changes are not simple. Forgetting to buy one thing at the store can mean a meltdown of epic proportions. I feel I must be on my game 100% of the time. If I’m not perfect, I will fail him somehow. Pervasive…..whoever came up with that diagnosis definitely knew what they were talking about.
There are days I feel I am a dog at his table, impatiently waiting for crumbs of affection, a smile, his laughter. It is so much work. I just want him to be happy. I crave some sign of his contentedness. We encourage, we reward, we praise. We discipline, we admonish, we enforce. We love, so deeply. That is what makes it so heartbreaking some days.