Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Just a snack

A vignette from an after-school snack on a sunny day. Sometimes I forget to notice how beautiful this boy is.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Getting to solutions, insisting on the means

Years ago, when Erik and I were both working way too much, we had a messy house situation. Neither of us had the time or desire to clean in our infrequent free time. You should have seen the kitchen sink. Oh wait--we couldn't.

Erik's solution: hire a cleaning person. As soon as he mentioned this, I hated the idea. Oh, it was probably because it came wrapped up with issues like gender roles, money stuff, time management. But I think the main reason the idea was offensive was because it wasn't my preferred method of achieving a clean house. I wanted us both to do the housework equally. In my mind, this would have shown the ultimate love and respect from my husband while also resulting in a clean house.

In the end, we hired a cleaning person. I gave up my fantasy about a 50-50 weekend cleaning partnership because the real problem was the dirty house. It wasn't (and shouldn't have been) about my chores-as-respect hangup. Because I can't both bitch about the problem and then reject the clearest path to its solution. I can't choose the method of getting to the result if I want to claim that the result is what I'm truly seeking.

This issue has cropped up again for me, this time with Soren. He's been getting floppy, resistant to my dressing him or combing his hair or brushing his teeth, and this sometimes leads him to some aggressive hair-pulling and scratching. I find myself getting so mad about this. I know that his aggressive behavior is probably about something other than his disliking me, but my gut reaction is to be hurt. I can't believe after all nurturing, dealing with bodily functions, and just general, well, parenting, that he can be so aggressive with me.

I know that preventing the aggression is my ultimate goal. But I want Soren to feel contrite, too. I want him to feel something like regret or shame or even a little pain about consequences for pulling my hair. Again, I want to dictate the path that we take to get to the solution. And you know, that's just not fair. Because the path involving his regretting his behavior is not the path that's going to lead to eliminating that behavior. As many parents of autistic kids will tell you, the whole idea of a time-out to reflect on undesired behavior is utterly lost on their kid. (And some critics question the impact of time-outs in general.)

Eliminating the aggressive behavior requires me to figure out why Soren is finding my managing his dressing, tooth-brushing, and hair-brushing so taxing that he responds the way he does. I have a feeling it's about control, especially of his own body, and maybe some sensory overstimulation of some sort. It's my job to figure out the cause and how to either reduce that stressor or help him gain the skills needed to deal with that stressor. My hope for him to feel crappy about hurting me should not be part of the equation. It's my fantasy, and I'd feel a great sense of resolution if it could happen this way, but that can't be part of the mix when it comes to parenting this child. And really, dictating the steps required to achieve a resolution with any person just isn't fair, is it? I'm learning this lesson very slowly.


Give Me a Nap | Template By Rockaboo Designs | 2012