Eyes

The monkey’s sleep has been on and off. He does great a few nights in a row and then he has a rough night. We are still fighting this and trying to find what works. At least now, we feel we are sleeping more. Not as much as we need to, but much more than before.

Last week the monkey’s iPad case broke. I ordered a new one for him. The new one was different than the one that broke. The new one is made of rubber, much more flexible. He’s had a rubber one before which is why I thought this one would be fine.

Yesterday he saw the new cover and he lost it. He was so mad I couldn’t get him to snap out of it. He’d ask to shower and cry and cry and cry. Then he’d get out of the shower, see the iPad, and cry more. He’d get so mad he threw his end table from his bedroom. I told him he was allowed to be mad, but he wasn’t allowed to destroy his bedroom.

When I say that he struggled, I mean he struggled for over six hours! I know many people that are on the outside looking in, tell us that we just shouldn’t give in. That he needs to learn. I know they mean well. But I don’t think they understand just how much our struggles are. At least I never understood this until my son was born, until we had to live thru it.

Six hours of a meltdown is exhausting.

So why not just take his cover away? If he is struggling this much, why not just not have a cover? Because he will break his iPad. And this is how he communicates and how he entertains himself. Plus iPads are very expensive and we can’t always buy one when he gets upset. Even if the iPads we get him are used ones. Regarding the cover, I always stand firm in that he needs to have a cover in order to use it. Since he can’t take care of things, we need to protect them.

So why didn’t I buy the exact same one that he broke? Because it didn’t work well. It didn’t last. And It didn’t protect the iPad.
But in all honestly, I didn’t think a new cover would have been this tough.

And tomorrow, I will go to the office, Ms. P will be coming over to the house to take care of him, and I don’t want her to be without an iPad. Because no iPad is worse. His meltdown is way worse.

My husband and I always struggle with this. When do we give in? Should we give in? Should we just let it go? But it is always something. It’s that he is not sleeping, or it’s his iPad cases, or it’s only brown pants, or it’s not wearing underwear. It is always something.

And this is just part of our autism life. What are we struggling with today?

But then there are those beautiful moments that stay with me. I talk to the monkey all the time. I will tell him that his hair looks nice, or will ask him if he misses his friends, or will talk to him about the cartoon he is watching. He typically will only look at me and keep doing his thing. But I feel this is our conversations, even though they are one sided.

On Saturday, I told him he looked so handsome. Then I told him that his eye looked red. “Does your eye hurt?” I asked. He pointed to his eye. Wait? Did he just point to his eye? So then I asked him again: “Monkey, where is your eye?” and he pointed. What???? He knows his eyes????!!!!

“Monkey, where is your nose?” and he pointed. Lips? Pointed. Ears? Pointed.
He is almost ten years old. And for typical kids, pointing at these things is just another day. But for us, after years of trying to teach him, this is huge! I remember a lot of therapies. When he was little, four years old, therapists were teaching him facial features. After hours of speech therapy when he was in kinder and first grade, where the therapist would go over Ms. Potato Head and her features. And we would see that he wasn’t grasping any of this. He was just was not getting it.

And now he knows? I don’t know when this happened. Maybe a few months ago in school, maybe from the school year before, maybe that’s when he learned the names of his facial features.

So what does this proud mama do? Calls my husband and daughter to show off. Video chats with my sister. I ask the monkey to point at his eyes so that she can see that he knows where they are. We take a quick drive to my parent’s house to show them how smart he is.

I am just so proud of this kiddo. We are moving along. We are. Small steps at a time. And during these meltdowns and long ours of crying, I know that we are not stuck. And climbing mountains isn’t easy.

Today’s meltdown was a bit rough, specially since I was still working. After my husband got home, he took over. After a couple of hours, the monkey was better. He comes over to me, uses his iPad and presses the button: I Love You.

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