Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dear Noah: a trying past few days....


On Monday the day after Easter I knew you might have a harder time because it was the day after a very over-stimulated day. You had an attitude and looked like a "walking zombie," sort of tired looking, not really present but somewhere else. When I tried to bring you back into the moment you got pretty snotty and withdrawn.

You had a hard time at school. Your friend Travis had returned from a vacation and you were happy to see him at recess. BUT you also apparently did not want to share him with anyone else so when another little boy came up to play with Travis too, you got upset. Now apparently from what the teachers have said, this is also a boy who can cause some problems so their first thoughts were you were trying to protect Travis. You apparently decided to kick the boy in his crotch. The boy fell to the ground. NOT because you were protecting Travis but because you did NOT want to SHARE Travis with anyone else. Of course you got into trouble...the teachers and staff handled it correctly explaining to you that was not the proper response and why. You apparently handled it like an adult they said and took your punishment well, etc. They went over what you SHOULD have done so hopefully next time you will stop and THINK about what you should do and choose the correct response rather than just being impulsive and lashing out.

To top off that day you went to your REWARD party for successfully completing this quarter's Monday after school social skills classes. The counselor there had promised YOU to make you special Pillsbury Chocolate Chip cookies for YOUR special treat. The 2 other kids who earned attendance to the party wanted ice cream. When I picked you up from school you started crying, already worried this counselor would not come through for you and do what she promised and NOT have the correct cookies. I could not blame you as this has happened so many times in the past. SO I ran you out to grab a quick bite to eat from Wendy's. While sitting in the car eating and waiting till the party was to start I asked you what you would do if the counselor did not make the cookies she promised and tried to substitute something else (trying to prepare you for the worst case scenario and coach you on a good response and outcome). You said you did not know. I suggested you just drink some water or something else they might have to drink and focus more on any ACTIVITIES they might have for you 3 to do. I went in with you and sure enough there on the table INSTEAD of the Pillsbury cookies was a bag of Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip cookies and Oreos. I saw you glance over there and immediately looked like you could have cried but you didn't. You did look totally disappointed and like you wanted to say something but you did not. I stood there and said to you " I know....I know.....but it will be okay....you have something in your tummy now to hold you over and when we get home I will give you your cookies and some milk." I left watching you stand off to the side by the windows not really knowing what to do. I could have screamed at this counselor...who obviously does not have a clue when it comes to autistics and their true NEED for routine and sameness and someone to KEEP THEIR FREAKIN' word when they make a promise. I am so tired of people thinking they can easily SUBSTITUTE something else for you and you will just easily accept it or eat it or welcome it. It just does not work that way with you. In the past this situation would have ended in a horrible meltdown by you so you have improved tremendously. Part of this I am sure is just growing up......part is learning the proper responses in specific social situations. How to handle disappoint appropriately...etc. This time you did as I suggested. You drank water....and I am sure felt a bit singled out again and not really part of the group......but you focused on the games you all played which this time you got to actually play POOL on a real pool table which you loved!

When I picked you up however, you acted very odd. Very down and semi-depressed. I asked you how it made you feel to see the wrong cookies on the table. You said it made you feel a little sad...but then went on to talk about how great it was playing pool and how you wanted a pool table of your own. You were pretty withdrawn the rest of the night and homework was a bear.

The last 2 mornings for breakfast you wanted your usual Ore-Ida hashbrowns. You smell them and say they are different. You taste them and then cannot eat them. I do admit they do look different, smell different and even taste different. They are flatter and are mushy and not crisp when you get them out of the oven. I imagine somewhere along the way they thawed out and then the stores refroze them. I had to toss 2-1/2 bags in the trash today because you refuse to eat them. While this is extremely frustrating sometimes because now that is ONE less thing you will probably even try to eat for awhile...I also understand it.

Tonight I myself am frustrated. So much crap. I am tired of people saying they are going to do something and then NOT do it. Especially when it comes to you. That is just wrong no matter how you try to look at it.

I love you very much Noah.




Kindness said...

Oh Melinda,

I so understand how frustrating it is when people don't keep their word. I have been an absent blogger as of late. Tonight I watched the HBO documentary "Autism, the Musical." I cried as I was the children who acted in many of the same ways as my niece but overall it was uplifting and hopeful.

Next thing I did was come read your blog. It hurts so bad so see such innocence being let down. My prayers are always and forever with you and Noah. Even if I don't visit your blog often enough.


Anonymous said...

I don't know how you two manage to get through but it works somehow. Howdy to you both.

Casdok said...

Oh i feel for you. It can be so hard at time, but i think Noah is managing the unexpected changes really well with your understanding and support.

Melissa said...

Any time you make a promise to a kid, the person should follow through on it. Poor Noah, I read this and almost started crying for him, just because I can see his little face and imagine how let-down and sad he was. I would have wanted to take him right home and not let him around this counselor.

I hope your guys week gets better.

I love you both.

Melinda said...

yes I wanted to take him home too.....but also realized that might teach him to run/walk away or give up any time he is confronted with a problem or someone who disappoints him. Unfortunately in life he will likely come across quite a few who will disappoint him. SO I guess it is good he learns a positive way to handle that. Because if you think about it......none of us really learn how to ever handle that well.

Old Lady Lincoln said...

I'm sorry I had to laugh about the kick in the crotch part, I'm just sorry he got into trouble over it, apparently that kid has caused problems before, perhaps Noah was stopping him in his tracks, so to speak.

I think I would let the counselor know about the cookies. Just send her/him a note explaining how disappointed he was and how he likes and has a routine. Yes leaving him there was probably best, that way he'll know how to handle a situation like this again.
Love you both.

Anonymous said...

You should have kicked that councilor in the crotch!!!:)