I’ve written this post, or one just like it, several times since starting my blog. But each time hit delete instead of publish. Not wanting to expose him, us. But I know that other people out there must be experiencing the same things and I’m not doing us or them any favours by hiding the truth away. I feel ashamed, but I shouldn’t. These are the cards, the kids we’ve been dealt and we’re raising them with love and as much grace as we can muster. I’m sharing this because there are many difficulties people hide, hardships they don’t reveal, problems they don’t share and I am guilty of overlooking them or dismissing them.
We’re sitting in the car headed to a beautiful beach. It’s 930am. Harry has just commented “That’s the hardest morning I’ve ever known”. Harry, you lucky bugger! This morning was yuck, but many days start this way – it’s just that Harry gets to leave for work each day.
Sometimes I want to scream, slam a door, throw a vase at the wall. Sometimes I want to walk away, escape, climb into a small dark cupboard and rock myself to some peace. Today I wanted to drive my car in to a brick wall. Just to make it stop. But of course I didn’t. I wouldn’t. I can’t. So instead I am in the car, kids in the back, headed to the beach.
Freddie is my first born, I love him with all my heart but I struggle to maintain my sanity with him in my life. That sounds horrible, and the reality is horrible to admit. My son is seven. He has a wonderful mind. He has love in his heart. My son struggles processing the world he lives in, his senses quickly and often go into overload. Izzy’s voice is too loud, his cup of water smells horrible, his jumper is scratchy, the sun is too bright, the wind too strong, the sand too sandy, jeans are uncomfortable, the kids at kindy drop off move too fast, his classroom too noisy, too many people in Kapa Haka, people look at him too much, talk to him too much….
Freddie doesn’t recognise his body’s cues, he often refuses to eat and drink. He doesn’t take his fleece off when he’s hot or put it on when he’s cold. Not surprisingly, Freddie has low energy and poor muscle tone. He could spend days in bed listening to Famous Five audiobooks.
These difficulties lead him to lash out. When he reaches overload, which as I said can happen quickly and sometimes unexpectedly, he explodes. He yells at us, hits us, throws things, slams doors.
It is freaking stressful living with this child. We live tiptoeing between one outburst and another. And we live with the guilt. Guilt of wanting to be free of the constant stress and anxiety.
We try really hard, and we will always try hard, but the effort is taking it’s toll. On all of us.
Next month Freddie will be assessed for Aspergers. I can almost taste the clarity that will come if he is diagnosed with it. To be able to say to ourselves “It’s not us. We’re not crap parents”. To know, without doubt, that he is not an arse of a kid – that his behaviour is not a choice and it’s not just his “personality”. Our kid is all of the things above but he is also glorious, brilliant, funny, kind hearted and interesting to be around. He’s so loved.
Some see diagnosis an undesirable label, I set it as a saviour, something that has the power to set us free. Freddie is becoming more self aware, he’s starting to recognise his rage as something “other” and it frightens him.
We have to be our children’s strongest allies, their greatest advocates – my son can’t be “cured” but he can be understood and just like his sister, accepted as his own unique self.