Corduroy Pants

I received a call a few days back from the monkey’s school.  Every time I see the school’s number on my cell, my heart jumps.  My anxiety turns up and I hope and pray that nothing terrible has happened.  I was in a virtual meeting when the call came in. I quickly logged out of the meeting.  It was my son’s teacher. The monkey was having a meltdown.

I want to take a small break and explain the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum.  A key difference to remember is that tantrums usually have a purpose. Kids are looking for a certain response.  Meltdowns are a reaction to something, and they’re usually beyond a child’s control.

My son was struggling because he had an accident on his pants.  They had taken the pants and were washing them.  However, the extra pants I had sent them were typical khakis.  I had forgotten to send him with the pants he has been wearing recently: Brown corduroy pants. He received some for his birthday and he will not wear anything else.

The teacher had said he didn’t want to wear any of the khaki pants and didn’t know what to do.  I told her I’d be there in a few minutes with his favorite pants. My daughter was taking an online class, heard me on the call, dropped her class, and told me she’d drive me.  This way, I can run into the school without having to waste time looking for parking.

When I arrived at the classroom, I could see him crying in the bathroom.  Our para-professional was with him.  She was talking to him trying to get him to wear the khakis.  I run in there, kneel down to have eye to eye contact with him, and I just held him.  I kept telling him: “It’s okay buddy.  I am here.  You are okay.”  Eventually he calmed down, let me put his brown corduroy pants on, and we left.

As we are leaving the school, my daughter pulls up in front of us so that we can get inside. She told him how nice he looked with his brown pants on.  She kept telling him how handsome he was. ❤️

This is where we need to address my son’s reaction.  Should we keep fighting him so that he wears any type of pants? Or should we simply make sure we all have the pants he wants?  Am I over-doing this by not forcing him to wear blue jeans or khakis?  If you would have asked me this before my son was born, my answer would have probably been: The parent makes the rules.  The parent decides this.  And we shouldn’t let our kiddos dictate what they will wear to the point that I get out of a meeting and my daughter gets out of her class simply to take him his favorite pants.

But I am an autism mom now. I understand the many many daily struggles my son has.  I understand how difficult it is for him to communicate.  I understand how difficult it is for him to have any change to his routine.  I understand the level of obstacles that he goes through on a daily basis.  But through all of this, I also see how brave he is to step into a world that is not understanding of his needs.  He is stepping into a world where we are forcing him to abide by society standards, to abide by the ‘norm’ of what is expected of him, with no regard to his sensory needs.

And I think he is so brave.

And because of this, I have realized that if all my son needs to feel safe is a specific type of pants, then I will do everything in my power to give this to him.  This way, he can focus on everything else that is expected of him.  There are battles that I am willing to fight.  And then there are battles that I don’t think are worth the struggles.

My husband says that our son doesn’t ask for much.  He is happy being home with us and playing with his doggies.  That’s it.  He doesn’t ask for an i-phone, or a play station, or expensive shoes or anything that other typical kids would like to have.

My son was simply asking for brown corduroy pants that were on clearance at Walmart.

And I can handle his simple request. ❤️💙

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