Saturday, January 26, 2013

These Moments

As I rolled over in bed and scraped the crust out of my eyes I could hear the boys downstairs, very clearly turning my dining room into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  They're up. 

Need. Coffee. Now.

God, please tell me they made their own breakfast.  And then it occurred to me, "crap...we're out of everything."  We slept a little too late for a grocery store run...these kids are hungry.  Now.  This typically results in momma running out to grab donuts, allowing for a quick stop at Starbucks for the good stuff.  If they get a treat, so do I. 

This morning, however, the Gentleman actually offered to take us all out to breakfast.  Yes please!  (FYI this doesn't happen often.  And by "not often" I mean never.) would think that kids who rarely get to do this would be agreeable and eager to go anywhere if it meant they didn't have to eat the lowly shredded wheat left in the cabinet.  Silly's never that simple. 

Lib and Timmy were finally in agreement and good to go.  They are generally easy to please.  Ben, on the other hand...well he evidently woke up on the wrong side of the weighted blanket.  Awesome.  He didn't want to get dressed.  He couldn't understand why he couldn't just wear his underwear.  Or shorts.  (FYI, the temp this morning was aBOUT 15 degrees.)  Once he got dressed, the jeans were too loose and falling down. (No.  They weren't.)  His socks weren't right...and of COURSE his comfy socks were all in the wash.  Of course.  He was irritable.  He didn't want to leave his stuffed animals.  He couldn't decide what he wanted for breakfast.  Or where he wanted to go. He wanted pancakes.  NO...he wanted donuts.  YES DONUTS.  Dear. God.

The events so far that morning were leading to what was bound to be a "Parenthood"-esque diner scene.  I wasn't feeling froggy and decided to choose my battles.  The gentleman took the older two to breakfast...and I took Ben with me to grab a couple of donuts.  <Sigh>. 

Divide and conquer.  Again. 

Instead of Ben being satisfied with getting his donuts, he spent our ride to breakfast berating me for taking so long to get us there.  God forbid I take the time to actually scrape the 10 inches of ice off my car and dig my windshield wipers out of the snow before safely driving down the road.  I realize that is an inconvenience.  These are the moments I really try to understand how black and white things are for him.  He didn't see any of this as a treat or a favor for him at all. 

WHY is this taking so long??  It's taking forever.  How many minutes till we get there?  Why can't we just go meet Daddy at Flapjacks?  I changed my mind! 
Ben!  I just froze my hands off my arms trying to get the car scraped off quickly so I could take YOU to get the donuts you wanted SO badly...I'm sorry it took me so LONG but a THANK YOU would be nice!
Are YOU making fun of me!?!?!
<Sighing and replying in a much softer voice>  No Ben.  I'm not making fun of you. I would NEVER make fun of you.  Let mommy try again.  You know how in your therapy sessions you talk about how to speak to other people in certain situations?   Well, in a situation like this morning, when someone tries to do something fun or nice for you, you should say "thank you" even if you're frustrated about something.
UGH...why didn't you just say that in the first place??


We rode silently the rest of the way, when we got there he seemed much more a different child.  We found a quiet corner and sat down with our donuts, hot choco and coffee.  I'll admit I was disappointed.  I know it's just breakfast but I get tired of not being able to just get up and go to a restaurant without issues like this.  If we had, we would have paid for it dearly.  As would the other poor patrons surrounding our booth.  This isn't just an issue for parents with kids on the spectrum...I realize that.  I feel like it happens so often though.  This is a long-standing tradition for us.

As I sat next to him, sifting through these thoughts, I realized we were sitting near another momma and her son.  And I know I'm no expert, but after observing for a bit I'm quite positive he too may have been on the spectrum.  Maybe not.  But I couldn't help but wonder if this mom was playing the same game I was.  It sort of made me feel better at the thought.  She was enjoying him regardless.  Just as I was enjoying Ben.  He was in heaven with his sprinkle donut and hot chocolate. 

My focus changed direction and as I usually do in these one on one moments, I really worked with him on having conversation. It's always times like this that I realize how very little he makes eye contact. Even with me. And while I squelch the twinge in my stomach, I find his eyes and make him look at me when he speaks.  And he talked.  And talked.  And talked. 

Mommy do you remember when we came here when I was little after I had all those shots at the doctor's office?
Wow, Ben, that was a long time do you remember that??
Because I'm smart. And Mommy...was it those shots that made me bad?
<Gulp.  Where the HELL did he get that??>   Uh...Ben...why would you say that?  First of all you're not bad, and second of all, your shots just protected you from being sick.  Why do you think you're bad, buddy?
Because I always do bad stuff.  Like inappropriate stuff.  Ya know, like when I get in trouble all the time?  Like when Timmy and my friends get mad at me? 
<Aaaand enter pesky tears>  Buddy.  YOU are not bad.  YOU are not inappropriate.  You are a wonderful, sweet and VERY very smart little boy.  Remember how Mommy told you sometimes we make poor choices but we always get a fresh start to make good choices every single day? 

We spent the next half hour chatting over the last few bites of our donuts.  Him feeling a little better...the both of us laughing about silly stuff...and I forgot about the fact that our morning was disrupted yet again...that we had to divide and conquer.  Rather I felt thankful that I got to have these moments with him.  It's THESE moments that at one time seemed frustrating or inconvenient that I will be begging to revisit 10 years down the road.  It's THESE moments that give me the strength to try again with him every single day.  It's THESE moments, while they sometimes include moments of heartbreak, make me feel like the luckiest mom in the world. 


  1. I felt like a boot was pressing on my chest when he said those shots made him bad.
    Not bad, are so so good.
    I wish it was me at that table next to you - and how I hope the girl that was there gave you a wink and a smile.
    You are so special..and divide and conquer is not always fun - but you will do what you have to do - and it won't always be like this. He'll remember your patience, your warm eyes meeting his, and the unconditional love you have for always - his memory will continue to serve him well. Love you girl. xo

  2. Oh, that boy...I just want to hug him. I know you did because he's lucky to have you as his mama. xo

  3. You are obviously a fantastic mother...and writer. Much love.

  4. I found you through You Know It Happens... and I'm so glad I did. I have a daughter on the spectrum and I do get that push and pull of trying to connect and the pressure we put on ourselves to get it right. Glad to have found you and glad you had that time with your little guy.

  5. I travel this same road. My son was just officially dx 2 months ago at the age of 9.5. He's always had his quirks needs routine black and white etc. but such a sweet sweet soft hearted child that melts my heart!! Thank you for helping us see we are not alone!! And to take even the trials of the "spectrum" and turn them into special moments!!