I’m feeling sorry for myself today. Don’t mind me. Halloween is normally a day I get very excited for, particularly since having kids. But the older two are getting older. No more cute, matching costumes. It’s all about scary, bloody, gross-you-out costumes, dances at school, and trick-or-treating with their friends (sans parents). E-man is still in elementary school, so I thought I’d have at least one more year of fun. But as he’s proven all school-year-long, he is in a different place now.
I asked him last night if he wanted me to come to school this morning for the costume parade. It’s the first year they’re letting the older kids do more than stand on the sidelines and watch the littles parade around. He politely declined, as if he were doing me a favor by eliminating one thing from my lists of tasks for the day. He had already discussed it with his teacher…he would stay in the classroom or by the classroom rather than participate in the parade. Then this morning, he refused to even wear his costume to school – the costume he has hardly taken off since it arrived last week.
I can’t help it. I got a bit choked up when I dropped him off at school. There they were….all the little cowboys, aliens, princesses, cats, movie and video game characters. And there was my beautiful boy, headphones on his head, bundled up in his favorite jacket, asking me to bring Jaws (the stuffed shark) to school for him later this morning. Today is one of those days when I just want normal. But this is our normal, and I know I need to wrap my brain around it. It’s okay to feel sad every once in awhile, isn’t it? It’s okay to be broken up about the hand we’ve been dealt. It has to be, because that’s just the way it is. Today is one of the days I’d love to punch autism in the face.
He doesn’t want to trick-or-treat tonight. Usually, we can get him at least halfway around the block. I don’t know if I push the issue, or just let him stay behind with Dad handing out candy (which he loves). Maybe I can persuade him to go to a few houses. Maybe if I let him wear his headphones…..
He was up until 11pm again last night. He’d brought his iPod upstairs again. I caught him with it, and took it away when I went upstairs to get ready for bed. He came in my room as I was washing my face and told me he was going to put it downstairs. I told him to leave it where it was and go to bed. It was 9:30 at that point. I read for awhile, and then when I leaned over at 10:15 to turn out my light, I noticed the charging cable was still there, but not iPod. Into his room I go, and there he is with it, watching videos. He apologized profusely, and even started to cry. His new thing is saying how guilty he feels for doing the wrong things. Sigh. This kid needs sleep. He isn’t getting it. By the time he finally crashed, it was after 11. We’re both worn out this morning. I’m sure it’s contributing to his need to curl into himself and withdraw.
I don’t know why I’m so surprised by his choices for Halloween this year. There’s the parade, music, games…a break from routine and the normal schedule. It will be somewhat chaotic, and definitely loud – all deal-breakers in his book. He’s at school, without a costume, with his headphones, he’ll soon have his stuffed shark, and I can almost guarantee he will spend some time in the nurse’s office, or speech therapy room. I’m not holding my breath for tonight. It will be what it will be. And this is just Halloween, autism style.