Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Pay No Attention to the Mother Behind the Blog
People in my "real life" and even some from online are apt to compliment me often on my parenting. They tell me what a great mom I am, what a great job I'm doing with Boo, how lucky he is to have me. At times, I've actually felt quite exasperated with his special ed team for telling me that I am already doing everything they would recommend, because that doesn't give me any new tools with which to work. It's nice to hear, but not practically helpful. I try to always accept such praises humbly and graciously but not to let it go to my head. But I am human, and apt to get a swelled ego at times. Especially when my efforts with Boo are particularly effective. When I am able to calm the tempest, solve the sensory puzzle, or impart understanding of a new concept I am liable to swell up a bit and pat myself on the back. But there is one small person with a big influence in my life who knows how to swiftly and effectively bring me off my high horse and put me in my place.
I have found myself sitting on the dining room floor bawling while Boo rages and writhes nearby, the popcorn strewn about that he spilled and refuses to help pick up seeming to mock me. I have found myself sitting on the bedroom floor while Boo sits naked beside me screaming, unwilling or unable to choose between the new swimming trunks with the drawstring he can't stand and a pair of regular shorts, but terrified that the friends waiting for him to join them in the backyard will give up and leave. I have found myself sitting in the living room bawling as Boo writhes in pain, refusing all attempts at comforting him, refusing to allow any of the things I assure him will alleviate the hurt. I have found myself sitting on the front porch bawling as he howls and screams in the front yard, giving the neighbors a dramatic display of what the ugly side of autism can sometimes look like. I have found myself sitting in the car in front of the local convenience store, my fifty pound five year old having a full-on tantrum in the back seat, then clambering into my lap and proceeding to beat me up and scream as though he were the one being attacked. I have watched the scornful, shocked, judgmental, and pitying glances from onlookers as I tried in vain to bring my child back to a state of self-control.
It is times like those when little Toto pulls back the curtain and reveals the faltering, stammering, feeble human behind the smoke and mirror show that was the Great and Powerful Oz. I feel like a fraud. Like a sham. Like I have no business writing this blog, or talking about autism as if I have any clue what the hell I'm doing. I feel stupid, ineffectual, impotent. I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time. It's all by the seat of my pants. I try to make it all look good on the outside, but on the inside I constantly feel like I'm screwing it all up. I don't understand him. I don't know what he needs. I don't understand how he feels. I can't even get him to do something so simple as to pick up some flipping popcorn he spilled on the floor. I feel like I'm failing my boy. My cherished, wonderful, beautiful little boy, to whom I would give anything in this world that could help him mitigate these challenges, if only I had it to give.
When he begs me to help him "figure out what to do" I ache inside, wishing I had the power he believes I do. And all I can do is hope, pray, and believe that all the tools he needs to help him successfully navigate this world are things he already possesses. I hope that, like the Wizard, I can help him find and use the tools he already has, and show him how to get where he wants to go.