Friday, November 25, 2011

One day down, two to go...

I've never been a big fan of the Venn Diagram.  I could never understand them.  But then I had an epiphany.  I finally figured it out.  It helped that we lived in the grey area most of the time.  I take that back.  Alex wasn't in the grey area the whole time.  I was.  

I've been on pins and needles trying to get the kids through this visit.  See, all of my husbands family traveled here and that makes the time spent together more intense.  I've been trying to give the kids breaks, walks and private time just so they can be better able to handle things.  

Alex finally lost it at diner time when it was time to come inside and eat.  He stomped and flapped the whole way in and I could just tell by looking at him he was imploding.  I hurried him to the laundry room, turned on the dryer and held him.  Scratch that.  I didn't hold him.  He wouldn't let me.  He quickly worked his way to a corner and started rocking back and forth.  Trying to calm himself.  Trying to block things out.    

Every fiber in my body wanted to reach out to him.  To hug him.  To hold him.  But I couldn't.  Touching him at that moment would have been like trying to hug a cornered panther.  He would have attacked.     

For as much as I wanted to hold him and tell him things were going to be all right, I didn't, I couldn't.  It would have helped me but not him.  

So instead I told him how well he was doing, how loud it was and how hard it was to just be in the same house with all the noise, smells and other kids.  That it hurt my brain too.  He just started crying.  Hot tears went streaming down his cheeks and he was still rocking and holding his knees, working himself into a tight little ball.  I slipped his headsets over his ears and we sat in silence listening to the hum of the dryer.    

And I think that was the worst part of the day.  Sitting in the laundry room, silently cursing the Gods.  Wanting to take it all away but knowing I couldn't.  

Normally there is all sorts of pomp and circumstance about who gets to go first with the food and all sorts of other BS and by the time they're all through patting themselves on the back, the foods all cold.  Not this year.  As we came out of the laundry room, I gave everyone a big fuck you, got my kid a plate of turkey, ripped open a baguette to get to the soft inner bread he likes and, with me as a human shield, we sat down at the table and he ate. 

With a wave of my hand I told them all to help themselves and to stop staring.  And with a look in my eyes, I dared them to say anything.  Anything.  I got him the remote and we watched re-runs of How It's Made.  And I dared them to turn it off.  

They didn't.

And it was at that exact moment I knew we were going to survive this.  

Note: We still have family here and its been it harder and harder to get a few moments to myself.  I am finding I simply cannot do everything so I'm going to take this next week off and get the kids sorted and take care of  them.  I will be back next Friday.  


  1. I'm sorry it has been so rough. I was hoping it would just turn out annoying and ridiculous but not horrible. *sigh*

    We're not dealing with anything like you are, and my Ryan still hit the wall yesterday as soon as we arrived at my parents'. He ran straight to my parents' bedroom and hid in their closet for the first hour we were there. My grandmother kept calling for him, despite the fact that I told her three times to give him some space. Finally my dad told her to stop calling him, and she let up.

    When he finally emerged from the closet, he went upstairs to play games on my dad's computer and stayed there the entire rest of the evening. He ate nothing, and barely said two words to anyone.

    So I know what you're talking about, on a much lesser scale.

    You rock, sticking up for Alex like that, even if you did it only with glares. *hugs*

  2. Under the best of circumstances, extended family is stressful. Holidays make it worse, with the entire family routine thrown out the window.

    You take all the time you and the kids need to get the balance back. Try to schedule a massage or a pedicure for yourself somewhere in there--you deserve it!

  3. (((HUGS)))) Being there with him, turning on the dryer and having the headphones - that's the stuff that we just know how to do. It's hard not to hug and hold them but you did what Alex needed. You put him first. That's love mama! I can feel how strong it is all the way into my heart. xoxo

  4. You know Lizbeth, sometimes what's most helpful of all to our kids is simply saying; "I understand how you feel and it's okay. Go ahead and feel upset. There's nothing wrong with that."

    It'll be behind you soon enough. Hang in there.

  5. There's nothing worse for an aspie than to have their house/room invaded.

  6. You did the right thing. Holidays are stressful for our kids. Family needs to understand that.

    So sorry to hear that it's been rough - just a few more days and it will be over and you can fall back into your routine. Sending you lots of HUGS!

    Take the time you need...

  7. aren't you glad that you know what your boy needed even if it didn't make sense to anyone else? and maybe now the crap of first plate pomp can be put behind you all.
    happy thanksgiving. i hope they all leave soon.

  8. Man, relatives and holidays are hard enough without added sensory issues! Poor Alex and poor you. I'm glad you guys got through it and you knew exactly what to do.

  9. Oh honey.... your poor baby. You ARE doing a great job though. I think you said ALL the right things to him, hence his tears? I was once told how important it is that we 'name their emotions' for them. @I know it's hard for you right now' ... 'it's ok to feel scared/angry' etc; etc. And you did exactly the right thing at the dinner table. Alex and your kids...your family... comes first. Good idea taking the week off, I hope it helps recharge your batteries :-)

    ((xx)) Jazzy

  10. Good for you!!! It's hard but those that can fend for themselves need to just learn to deal and let you fend for the one person who needs you most.

  11. At least he didnt attack!! Thats great. 2 suggestions.. I have found that Tommy's changed the rules (again) on us and.. the more we talk (tell him how well he's been doing) the worse we make it. Also.. maybe give him a blanket? That helps Tommy to block things out..

    This is why I'm thankful none of our family bother coming out to see us for Thanksgiving lol

  12. I'm proud of you, Lizbeth. you took care of your child and did what was needed to get him through a really tough time. There is nothing more important than that!

    It's almost over, now. You can do this!

  13. Well done! and good for you. You are one awesome mum and I loved how you put Alex first/protected him.

    Catch up with you next Friday x sending you some huge hugs x



  14. Good for you! That's what I've done the last 2 get togethers, complete with the "I dare you to say anything" look. No one has yet - within ear shot. I don't know how yours will go, but I know I'm looking forward to a quiet Christmas.

  15. That is one good ven diagram! Sensory issues are tough. My oldest suffers from them, and it can be very difficult to cope, especially at such an emotionally charged time as holidays.

  16. Wow, this was so familiar to me, I felt like I was living it. I think I even broke out in a cold sweat. We have had so many holiday parties like this. I'd find myself so pissed at everyone and at the world and trying to hold it together so Danny could calm down.

    After a particularly grueling family reunion weekend this summer, I promised my husband that we wouldn't travel for either holiday. Normally, we go to Chicago to visit my family for one or both of them. I have such a hard time saying no to my family. But this year, we have stayed home. And I don't regret it for a moment.

  17. All that ruckus is so tough on the kiddos. Sounds like you handled it juuuuuust right.

    Are. . . are the windows fixed yet?

  18. If I had a bunch of family in my house, and was hosting the holiday, I'd have a meltdown too. Poor kid, I don't blame him at all.

    I hope you get some badly needed quiet time for all of you.

    Thinking of you!

  19. Good for you. Forget everyone else and just take care of your son. xo

    Hope you survive the relatives!

  20. I'm sorry it was so tough, but you and your son both handled it beautifully. Hang in there!

  21. Wishing you warm slippers and a quiet moment or two. You are a super-hero!

  22. It's hard to stand up to family and do what your son needs rather than what tradition calls for. But you did it! Because you're a great mom! And Alex knows that when things get tough, he can count on you to have his back. Proud of you, mama! :)

  23. I am happy to share with you that today I gave you the Liebster Award! Yes, you! Well deserved, I might add. Check out my post to see why you're so cool.

    -Angela (aka Caffeinated Autism Mom)

  24. Aww this post is great. It's so hard to do what's right by your kids when family is around and seems to be watching everything you do.

  25. Good for you Lizbeth!! I'm sorry it turned out to be so hard, reading those moments in the laundry room was really heart wrenching. I'm glad you guys found a way to pull through, and damn right!! The kid gets his drumstick and favorite bit of his meal first!! Well done!


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