Today was a day of autism and adventures with it. At some point, my daughter had her fill of Daddy's autism, and was crying to Grandpa that Daddy was not talking nicely to her. Well, that might be true, as Daddy sometimes doesn't speak appropriately, and most of that time, is clueless of how that might affect those around him. So, by dinner, she had taken as much as she could take, and was back to being teary, since it was a combination of Daddy not knowing how to communicate with a child and a child being over tired from a long weekend at the cabin. While Geoff has come a LONG way in his journey with autism, he still loses himself and his ability to relate, on occasion. Geoff was diagnosed only a few years ago, during our separation. He has handled the diagnosis, while later in life, with grace since he desires to make our life work, and in doing so, sharing the struggles with our son, who acts very much as Geoff does. Did I just confuse you?
Charlie has had a few rough days. He is incredibly sensitive, and yet, not to others. His selfishness is overwhelming at times, and I know that with enough appropriate models and therapy, he will slowly begin to develop. Yesterday, it was jumping out of Grandpa's still moving car and Grandpa, after having dealt with this a few times in the past two days with him, finally got very direct in hopes that Charlie's safety would not be compromised. However, his autism was compromised, and is sensitivity had taken a beating, and in his head, Grandpa was mad at him. He was devastated. He cried, he ran and hid, and it took at least thirty minutes, if not more, to pull him back to some sense of normalcy. That's all relevant, obviously.
I am a very strict parent, however, I still have struggles with Charlie and listening. I will tell him to do something, and he doesn't do it. However, I will only say to do something one time, and then if you chose to not listen, that means you have chosen to join me in the bathroom. I'm not a fan of it, but I refuse to say something more than one time. I have no open threats, and I NEVER ask if they want to go to the bathroom. I will remind them that if they chose to make a bad choice, that they are really making a choice to join in me in the bathroom. Tonight, during dinner, Charlie went to Grandpa's refrigerator to refill his water. Of course, Grandpa told him 4 times to stop, and of course, Charlie didn't listen, and then it overflowed, and Grandpa is not a patient man, and went on, and on, and on, and on, and on about how many times he told him to stop and how he shouldn't be allowed to do it, and .......and... and.... and.... Yeah, so bad that even Grandma asked him how many more times he was going to say it. That sent Charlie over the edge, and a man in his sixties actually said this to his almost seven year old autistic grandson- "Come on Charlie... You are going to have to take some criticism some time...." Right, that is when mom and wife to autism decided she should have stuck to her gut instinct and said, "No, you moron. You are not capable of properly loving a non autistic grown daughter, so it is obviously way beyond your abilities to understand a child who is not going to relate the way you want him to. And before you decide to stop loving him too, you better stop talking to him this way." Well, I didn't use those exact words, but man, I wish I could have gracefully said something to that effect. Luckily, I have learned enough, and will protect as much as I feel necessary, and no, for the sake of my child, this man will never have my son in his presence without me close by.
So, while I might be over protective, there are times when child protective services might need to be on standby when I am the fully responsible adult, making decisions for my children. Like after that frustrating dinner where Grandpa messed up royally, and my husband, oblivious to what is happening around him, and all too ready to be the merry moron to suck up to my father, and the talk of dessert came up. We had a fire going last night in the fire pit and made s'mores. That was the suggestion, and I mentioned that if we did that again, that I would have to wash Shay's hair again, and we are out of the good conditioner here, so that would be a little more involved and she was not happy with that idea. So, I came up with a plastic bag around her hair. After doing this, which I thought was genius, I realized that not everyone might appreciate it's creativity, however, I didn't let her out of my sight, and explained that I was rubber banding the excess so that it might not go over her eyes, nose or mouth. Don't judge. Smoke smelling hair is nasty.