It seems that The Daily Post has a knack for kicking me in the inspirational feels. At first when I saw that the word of the day was ‘breath’, I started singing the stalker anthem: “Every Breath You Take”, by The Police (Sting), but I promise I won’t be analyzing that song. These blogs were supposed to be all funny, but today life got me in the feels…but I’ll do my best to keep it light. I was struggling at figuring what to blog, and then as usual it hit right in the middle of disaster.
We were all at our meeting this morning (church) and halfway through, Jonah had an episode. It’s hard to explain what happens during his episodes or even what they are, which is why I simply refer to them as episodes. From an outsider’s view, it appears to be a temper tantrum because he is screaming, crying, kicking, hitting and screaming, and since Jonah is 8 now, people run their mouths and make comments about him being a “big brat having a tantrum”. I know people might say, “Oh Meg, get over it and call it a temper tantrum” but sadly it’s NOT the case. HONESTLY I WISH they were temper tantrums because then I could smack his butt and tell him to “knock it off”. But during these episodes, I look in his eyes, and he is GONE. His big blue eyes get glazed over, and though he yells and screams things back to me, he is not THERE, it’s like there is nothing behind his eyes.His mouth foams, he kicks and spits and I honestly believe it’s more of a seizure or autistic “meltdown”, especially since it happens when he is acting over-hyper beforehand. I went to his neurologist about it, but he said it doesn’t sound like a seizure and it’s “probably just a tantrum”, since he still has some consciousness and responds, which doesn’t “fit the mold” for a seizure. So then I went to behavioral therapsists, but they agreed with me in that it sounded more like a seizure instead of behavioral, as he is completely exhausted, spent and almost in a twilight for an hour afterwords. And of course since the doctors don’t SEE it, they don’t GET IT! According to my mother, I did the SAME thing when I was a kid from when I was a baby until I hit puberty at around 11 or 12, then it just stopped one day. I had petite mal epilepsy, but outgrew that, and of course in the 80’s, not much was known of autism.
Of course this happened right in the MIDDLE of our meeting, and although 95% of everyone there is super sweet and supportive, I still have to take him outside because the episodes are so loud and he ends up thrashing kicking, etc. When these episodes happen, all I can do is try to keep him from killing himself, keep him from killing me, and keep me from killing him (it’s VERY hard for me not to flip out when he bashes me in the face). All I want to do is hug him and make him feel better, but I can’t, as it just makes it worse. As was outside near the car with him, I was just trying to get through to him enough so he wouldn’t hurt himself or me, and it was not going well. He finally looked at me and screamed “JUST GO AWAY!! I DON’T WANT YOU HERE!! I NEED TO BE ALONE!!” Well I has tried everything else and nothing was working, so I thought, “What have I got to lose”. So I said, “Okay, but you have to stop screaming, and promise me you won’t hurt yourself.” I took a DEEP BREATH, and walked about 200 feet away where I could still see him, but I was out of his line of view. And in my BEST effort NOT to break down and cry, I took an INSANELY DEEEP breath.
That’s when it hit me: My #1 piece of advice on motherhood is “Take a DEEP Breath”! Let’s face it, the I mean one of the VERY LAST things the doctor’s tell you before you push that baby out and are OFFICIALLY a mother is “Take a DEEP Breath!”. Sure, they say it to help with the last push, but it’s also a VERY powerful and appropriate metaphor for the 18 years to come. The first year is spent “taking a deep breath” whenever that baby cries…AGAIN at 1:30 am… then 3 am…then at 4:15 am. The second year is spent “taking a deep breath” BEFORE the (sometimes horrifying diaper changes), and as start walking. The third year you take TONS of “deep breaths” with each new (ridiculous) temper tantrum over making them doing something terrible, like take a bath. The fourth year is plenty of “deep breaths” as they learn to ride bikes, and try to kill themselves on the playground…or anywhere with stairs. The fifth year is a BIG “deep breath” when they get on that school bus and get whisked away, for them to be at the mercy of their peers for hours a day. The sixth year and beyond, there are more “deep breaths” as friends become more important than mom and dad, and when they REALLY start talking back (thank to those schoolmates we mentioned earlier) and the “you’re mean”, “I don’t like you”, and the dreaded “I hate you!” come. Now Jonah is “only” 8, and I’m sure we will have many, many more “deep breaths”.
I just hope I can keep remember to take that “deeep breath” before I react and do something stupid, and instead try to enjoy the moment- yes even if it an episode. At least afterward when he is in his “twilight” I can finally snuggle with him, and he apologizes, even though he doesn’t remember what happened, or what he said and did, and no matter how much I wanted to throttle him earlier, it melts away…until he farted on me.