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Hard Days

Yesterday was one of those days with Little Man, one of the Hard Days. Ugh. Exhausting. Frustrating. Trying. By mid-afternoon, I couldn’t wait for the day to be over. He is just so angry lately, and rude. Almost everything that comes out of his mouth is negative. He’s unhappy. Nothing makes him happy.

He was grounded last week for taking his iPod to bed with him – a big no-no in our house. We have a standing no-technology-upstairs rule. He’s broken it before. He’s suffered the consequences before. Not only did he take his iPod to bed, he lied about it the first time I went to check on him. I caught him the second time I checked on him, just before I went to bed. He lost his iPod for the week. He lost all screens for the week. The first afternoon was awful. He cried. He apologized. He made promise after promise. We didn’t cave. By the second afternoon, his smallest Lego bin had been dumped out on the family room floor. He created with his Legos the rest of the week. His iPod never entered the conversation. He got his iPod back yesterday, and proceeded to be horrible all day long. Makes me want to take it away again, only I can’t entirely blame his behavior on its use. Usually, his iPod calms him. I think we had just been just far enough out of routine for just enough days for him to go sideways. We all paid the price.

Hard days are just so hard. I hate them. They remind me all the reasons autism sucks. They take the life right out of me. They  make it hard to remember the good days, the wins, the bright shining moments. They make me angry and sad all at the same time. He was sent to his room twice. He was corrected more times than I cared to count for his tone and the words pouring out of his mouth.  Nothing seemed to help. He wasn’t even apologetic, until this morning. We slugged our way through the day, praying for bedtime, and a new, fresh day.

He’s been a bit better today. He “almost” cried at school (his words). Almost crying, and not actually crying, means a good day. I didn’t know how it was going to go. I had a conference with his teacher Friday. There are some missing assignments from the last couple of weeks. I had the option of letting it go, based upon what we know he’s capable of, that he normally does hand in all his work on time and completed, and for mental health reasons for all involved. I chose the alternative route of holding him accountable and letting him take the natural consequences of missing and late work. It will be harder on all of us. But I think it’s the right choice. He’s fully capable. He knows what he has to do. I don’t want to give him a free pass because of his issues. It wasn’t an easy choice. But it’s done. And so I worried how today was going to go. He didn’t complain.  He didn’t say a word about it.

When he has a hard day, I worry we’re settling into a trend. I get anxious, thinking it will be awhile before we see sunshine again. I get defensive, prepared to deal with tantrums, lashing out, hurtful words. And always is that fear hanging out that we will have a repeat of last year. The hard days make me scared. I don’t like living that way. Neither does he.

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