Lately, there are certain aversions that Danny has developed seemingly out of the blue, which have been throwing a major monkey wrench into our days. Certain foods, like chicken nuggets, which he previously practically lived on, he is now eschewing. I know that can be normal for most kids, but his diet is so limited as it is, I am at a loss as to what to replace them with.
On top of that, he has become even more choosy about his wardrobe. Shirts that he used to love, like his Lego or Bakugan shirts are now on his list of fashion don'ts. This limits him to about 2 or 3 shirts that he's willing to wear. Not only that, but as soon as he is able, he changes into pajamas. At the weekend, it's nearly impossible to get him to wear clothes.
Now, I know these changes hardly make for crises, but I already felt at my limit; now, I feel like we are revisiting battles that I had thought we had won. Or ones for which we had at least negotiated adequate treaties.
The worst challenge of all, though, is that about two weeks ago, Danny started having accidents again, and I have no idea what to do about them. I don't know if it is his diet or a sensory issue or what. Just when he had been having huge success in that area, it all falls apart.
I know I am whining and that other parents have it much, much tougher than me. I know there are people out there who have chronically ill or dying children, or children who need constant care. I know my problems aren't enormous when put into the proper perspective, but try telling me that after a bad morning like today.
The zipper on Danny's coat broke, so he ended up in tears. Even though he has two other winter coats that friends have given us, he refused to wear them. Yet, the prospect of wearing a coat with a broken zipper was distressing, even though the coat also has a set of snaps. What was I supposed to do?
Bear with me if I sound whiny, but just once I would like one area of Danny's life to go smoothly with no help from me. I just want one part of his life to be easy. I don't think I am being totally unreasonable here. Eating, dressing, going to the bathroom are all areas most 7 year olds can navigate successfully with hardly a second thought from their parents, right?
Add to this the fact that Danny's grades have dropped a little bit and we are doing extra work with him, and I just want to scream. There is no part of Danny's life that is not something of a struggle. He needs extra help and coaching with schoolwork, and he gets frustrated pretty easily with that. Danny doesn't always want to go to school or church and fights us on it. Socially, he is still way behind and needs lots of extra support. We have to do his therapy at home with very little support from a therapist.
All of this falls on my shoulders, and to be honest, I'm just sick of it. I love Danny to death, but sometimes I want to just shake him and make him be more flexible in things like his clothing options. Other times, like when he has an accident and has no idea why he didn't feel the need to poop, I just want to gather him up in my arms and make it all better.
And lately, most days, I just want to yell at God. Why can't He, in all His omnipotence, just throw us a bone? Why can't there be one part of Danny' s life that I can relax about?
As I typed this, I realized there is one part of Danny's life that has always been easy for us: his sleeping. I know that is pretty unusual for autism, so I suppose I should be grateful, and I am, believe me.
So, perhaps I should just end this rant and remind myself how grateful I am that my son gets 11-12 hours of sleep every night, which means I too get full nights of sleep regularly. If that's not something I should be thanking God for, I don't know what is.
Darn it, and I was all revved up to keep ranting, but somehow the thought of Danny's fantastic sleep schedule has diffused it all.