Wednesday, March 17, 2010

holidays on the spectrum suck

It was a bad morning. St. Patrick's Day is usually one of my favorite holidays. Perhaps it is because I was named after St. Paddy; maybe it's because everyone assumes I am Irish, though I can't find anyone of Irish descent in my family tree. Still, with a name like Patricia, strawberry blonde hair, and ghostly complexion, it's no wonder I am mistaken for having descendants from the Emerald Isle. And then, let's not forget I grew up in Chicago, where everyone is Irish on St. Paddy's Day. They dye the Chicago River green every year for the holiday, even though nowadays, it really is green pretty much every day of the year.

Add to all that the fact that I was actually once in the South-Side Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade in high school and you have the coolest holiday ever. No decorating or gift-buying required. No baking or wondering if your significant other will remember you. Nope, it's just plain fun. The drinking, of course, adds to the festivities, and if you, like me, happen to not drink, it gives you much fodder with which to later blackmail your drunk friends.

Anyway, my bad morning started because of Daylight Savings Time. This monstrosity of an idea has wreaked havoc on the Pancake mornings all week. Danny wakes looking like death warmed over with puffy undereye circles and the pallor of a dead Irishman. I hate DST; I hate anything that so significantly affects the kids' schedules, especially during the school year. It will take weeks for his sleep schedule to even out, and until then, mornings will most likely continue to be miserable.

Then, add on top of the sleep disruption the fact that it is St. Patrick's Day and life gets more complicated in our house. I foolishly advised Danny to wear green to celebrate, so Danny got into the spirit of the holiday and asked to wear his Santa shirt, the one green shirt that happens to be in the wash. Normally, I wouldn't really have a problem with taking a shirt from the washing pile and letting him wear it. I have given up on those silly sorts of social conventions and squeamishnesses years ago. You have to in order to salvage any of your sanity, at least in our house.

Unfortunately, the shirt stank; all the laundry stinks, because Danny has been pooping himself again. Several times a day. I am completely at my wits' end about what to do. I google it all the time, but none of the suggestions work with Danny, at least not for long. And when I look for info on late bloomers in potty training, I find stories about 3 year olds, not 6 year olds. It's enough to make me cry.

So, anyway, even though his pants don't get poop on them, they smell and of course, the one green shirt he wants to wear is sitting under a pile of poopy-smelling pants.

No other shirt would do. He even cried about it. I felt like a total idiot. Why hadn't I set aside the shirt for today? The thought had crossed my mind, but I didn't follow through. I should know better than to disregard an instinct. Lesson learned.

It took forever to get Danny dressed, because he wanted to wear green, yet the green shirts I offered were out of the question. Who knows what they are, but Danny has very specific criteria governing his clothing choices. It used to be strictly a texture/fabric thing, but now the equation factors in other variables such as words and cartoon characters featured on the shirt, whether it is long or short sleeved, and what position the moon happens to be in that day.

He finally got dressed (in blue sweats and a yellow shirt) and was pulling on his jacket just as his ride pulled up, sniffling and frowning the entire way.

I had ruined his day. (Dramatic? Yes, but that is how I felt.)

I closed the door, sighed and then got pissed off. Forget about what I foresight I should have had this week. How can I possibly anticipate each and every detail that might set Danny off? How can I do all his therapy exercises, help him with his homework, and figure out what landmines might be in store this week? How am I supposed to do this, as well as raise two other kids?

It's next to impossible to hold it all together. This autism stuff sucks. It really does. And I am just supremely sick of it.

So, I say this to Autism:
You can disrupt my social life and make it next to impossible to go to parties. You can drain my savings account by making it necessary to pay for all kinds of therapy and equipment that insurance doesn't cover. You can tax my patience and bring me to tears and ruin all my plans of traveling.

Fine, I can deal with all that. But, listen closely, you slimey, despicable little disorder: you do not mess with this South-Side Chicago girl's St. Patrick's Day.

Got that? Because you just crossed a line. Be forewarned. You will be sorry. Because we Southsiders? Yeah, we fight dirty.


Sarah said...

If it makes you feel any better, I've had 3 beers today so go ahead and make fun :). Autism blows, no question. But Patty cut yourself some slack. You can't be perfect all the time. It's easy for me to say that, but it was good for Danny to go through what he did---life can't always be 100% predictable.

So grab your favorite chocolate, toast St. Patrick and ease up yourself a little bit :)

Susan said...

Here, here! I love your vent- Hope you feel better.

Amy Jane said...

Oh, Patty, I wish I could be there to give you a hug right now. I do agee with Sarah, though - Danny does need to be disappointed and not get what he wants sometimes. It'll be good for him in the long run. I'm trying to tell myself that right now, but it doesn't work when the one thing Nick wants is for his Daddy to move back in. He's having a really hard time right now, and it's breaking my heart over and over. I'm so afraid that he's going to be messed up forever by this. Please tell me that he'll come out OK in the end. You know how you feel about autism? That's how I feel about my separation right now. Sorry that this became about me somehow.

Amy said...

hey my sweet "St Paddy Girl" (NOT to be confused with St Pauly Girl) - deep breath - you are a wonderful person! No matter if that slimey jerk-of-a-disorder creates disorder! :-) and... Danny will be fine...just fine (actually probably MORE than 'just' fine). love ya, A

Mrsbear said...

I'm not a drinker or a huge fan of St. Patrick's day, but I've totally got your back in a fight. I'll bring the brass knuckles. ;) Hugs to you, Patty.

Elizabeth Channel said...

You go girl! What spunk! You actually made me feel better. And whoever came up with DST did NOT have children!