Yesterday morning was not one of my more-stellar mornings in mom-land. But let me back up a moment……
Part of high-functioning autism is not recognizing tone….at all. That skill does not come naturally to him. He’s spent years in speech and other therapies learning to take in context, what accompanying facial expressions might mean, what the most positive intentions behind the words he’s hearing may be. It’s not an easy nor quick process for him, which is totally not functional in real-life situations. Needless to say, he frequently takes words and interprets the most negative intent, and the spiral to meltdowns and angry outbursts is on.
Corrections, adding information, constructive criticism aren’t usually handled well. Most days, we take it for what it is, take a deep breath, slow down, let him process. Yesterday was one of those days. Exhausted to a level I haven’t been in months, I had an in-the-red patience level. I tried to slow him down, but he was having none of it. He started raging. I yelled. I hate when I do that. It was effective in the moment, but has long-term repercussions. Not five minutes later, the same exact episode repeated. You’d think I’d have taken a breath myself, but no, it was almost exactly the same outcome. Gah!! As I walked out the door to take Big Man to school, frustrated, worn out, upset with myself, upset with him, he let one more outburst fly. I turned, at my wits’ end, and told him, “Some days, you’re just exhausting.” Oh yeah, another mom win right there.
We talked later. I had a ridiculously long day that ended about four hours after I wanted it to end, but we did squeeze in a talk about the morning’s events. He blessedly forgave me. But honestly, some days, he’s completely exhausting. Being a parent is work. Being a parent to an autistic child….it’s a LOT of work some days…most days. I just don’t usually tell him he’s exhausting. I can’t get that back. It’s out there. He’s heard it. He knows it. He also knows that most days, I have enough reserves to give him the grace he needs and deserves.