The monkey’s after school routine is this: My parents wait for him at my home since the bus drops him off right in front of our house. After he gets dropped off, he loves to go outside our backyard and swing. He’d swing the entire day and night if we let him.
On Fridays I leave work early to take him to OT, occupational therapy. This past Friday, as I arrived home, he was outside swinging away. My parents left and I went to get the monkey, to get him ready for therapy.
And that’s when it all started.
He didn’t want to go. He was upset and crying. I brought him in the house, I was talking to him, reminding him we had to go. The more I tried to reason with him the more upset he got. Time was passing and I was nervous we’d get there late.
I kept talking to him but his meltdown was getting worse and worse. He was so mad he kept hitting the door with his behind, with his entire body trying to break it.
When there was ten minutes for the session to start, I realized we wouldn’t make it. And I thought what’s the point of taking him? He was upset and the session would be a disaster anyway. So I told him that’s ok. He can go outside and play.
But the door wouldn’t open. He busted the knob and I couldn’t get it to open. And he didn’t understand why I didn’t open the door.
And then he really got mad. He just snapped.
He started hitting me and attacking me.
And I am just so sad to write about this part of my son. That he was so upset over going outside that he got lost. This wrath came over him; it took over my son.
So why do this? Why write about this? To talk about it. To let others know they are not alone. To show those that don’t know what the struggles are.
To create awareness.
I was trying to protect myself from him and trying to protect him at the same time. I was able to tackle him, put my body on top of him. I was holding his arms above his head. And in all of this I was trying not to get bitten. He was kicking me so hard trying to escape. And when he’d be able to free his hands, he’d pinch me so hard blood would come out.
He’s so strong. For being 8 years old he’s so strong. He would use his entire body to push me off him. He’d throw me off him and then I’d be back in trying to get on top of him and hold him down. A battle.
My daughter came over and was holding his legs. She called to let her work know she was going to be late and she helped me hold his feet. When we realized he wasn’t getting tired, she went to get a blanket and duct tape. And we were able to swaddle him (with much struggle) and use the tape to hold him down. This way he wouldn’t hurt himself or us.
Every time he’d try to get away, he’d try to bite me so that I could let go of him. And everytime he did this, he’d bang his head so hard on the floor. He’d get scared. Banging his head hurt him. And then he’d get back to fighting us.
After a while, he stopped struggling. I told my daughter I will be fine and go to work. And as I’m letting go of my son, he’s trying so hard to undo the blanket and tape. He was treating it as if it was a plague.
And once he got it off him, he runs over to me to hug me. He sits on my lap, wraps himself with his arms, and sobs. He keeps using the symbol for sorry. He’d put his fist on his chest.
He was sorry.
And I lost it. We cried together.
He kept looking at my face, wiping away my tears, and kept asking me to forgive him.
And I can’t stop thinking that he’s eight.
He’s only eight.
How am I going to handle this when he’s 15? 20?
How am I going to do this?
We’ve decided we will be cancelling his OT on Fridays. If my husband isn’t with me, then we will not be taking him.
This morning, I woke up very sore. I have scratches and bite marks and bruises. And they hurt.
And it is such a strange feeling. Right now I’m sitting with him in my living room. Just the two of us this evening. He’s sitting right next to me. My husband jokes that there’s many places to sit and yet my son likes to squeeze next to me.
We are sitting together in the recliner. He’s watching cartoons. Such a contrast to the boy that hurt me yesterday. Right now he’s laughing and singing and kissing me. He’s so happy.
I know that everyone has their burdens. But yesterday I felt mine was very heavy. Yesterday I felt crushed.
I know my body will heal. But my heart took a pretty heavy punch too.
And this is just part of our autism life. 💔
But in the end there’s this:
Parenting is hard.
Autism makes it harder.
But my love for you my monkey is stronger.
We will make it through.
This autism mama is stronger than this. ❤️