Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good days, bad days

Today has been a good day. Yesterday was a bad day.

From the moment I grudgingly got up yesterday, I could feel my body and spirit very heavy. I had the sensation of unease and discomfort in the pit of my stomach and gut from the night before watching autism stories on Dr. Phil. It was difficult to breathe deeply. There seemed to be blockage of positive thought and energy.

Negative thoughts circulated around me throughout the very challenging day. I wanted to screamed, but bottled it tight in fear of frightening the children. But Little S did feel the unease of Mommy. Children are like sponges for emotion; they're also mirrors that reflect what emotion is around. So she cried and whined a lot of the day. Little R kept running around loudly babbling incoherently. Little S was always at my feet whining and crying.

Though laden with dark clouds, I continued with holding things that Little R wanted, waiting for him to say the word before I gave them to him. He did catch on very well to the game, but now it seemed like he was just shooting off words until the desired item was in his mouth. For example, I held up a piece of dark chocolate (something that I don't normally give him) and he started with "cookie" then "cake" then "hot" then "natnat" (hot in baby Chinese), "nut"... Although I did keep modelling "chocolate" every time he got it incorrectly. Finally, I tried "coco" a few times, and he finally got it. Another time I held up a raisin and he said and signed "more" right away. I did give it to him because it seemed to make a bit of sense, but the next time I tried to get him to say the corresponding word for the item.

It was a frustrating day for Little R, and he he showed it by biting my shoulder. It's quite nicely bruised and purple today. Yesterday the pain would not subside. He was frustrated because I couldn't understand what he wanted from me. He was on the toilet reading his French picture dictionary turned to the trains. He kept using my finger to point at a passenger car. I tried saying many things, but he kept pointing with my finger harder and harder, and he yelled loudly, cried, squeezed my hands and arms then bit me hard.

This behaviour is new. I don't like him expressing his frustration this way. I think I will get him a squeeze ball. Are there any good suggestions out there for redirecting a preschooler's frustration? I hope that he will learn enough language soon so that he can express with words, but until then he has to cope somehow.

I spent a day confined to my disruptive thoughts: you're incapable of taking care of your two children while others can; you're disorganised and you don't have meals prepared; the kitchen is a mess. I needed to hear from someone that I was competent, and that my situation would frazzle any mother. I wanted to hear that I was a good mother, and that I was doing what I could for the good of my children.

Finally, I spoke with my long time friend EM. She told me not to care about what others thought, though she admitted it was easier said than done. She told me that she also needed help with her two children who are only 15 months apart. It made me feel better to know that I wasn't inadequate but just overwhelmed. I just needed to breathe deeply to inflate my spirit again. I couldn't remember ever trying so hard to breathe deeply without success. The blockage was strong, but I did success in taking it down.

DH was actively looking for a home daycare giver for Little S. Because Little R needs all the intervention possible for every waking hour, I need to provide it for him. At the same time, Little S is at an age where she also needs much individual attention. Although I do not like the idea of having a stranger take care of my baby, I think that we will have to scout out someone and put our trust in her. Ideally, I would prefer someone from my family to take care of her, but if not, we'll have hire the right person.

Today was a good day. I woke up positive, and my good friend TM came over to give us some pointers on helping Little R to communicate. It was positive and hopeful. Little R did very well. TM told me to not think about the past, about how much Little R could do before when I told her that it was sad to think how much work we have to do in order to get him back to where he was over a year ago. Little R has an inventory of words in his brain that he kind of randomly calls upon because it seems that the connections that were once there were somehow all disconnected. TM was that autism was neurological; things that were once in order are now in disorder. This just means that we have to start from the basics and build up. We have to teach in a different way. In the beginning it's very challenging because there's less to work with. It will get better.

There will be good days and bad days... I hope there will be more good than bad. I believe there will be.


  1. I have been enjoying reading about your dedication to both of your children in your blog. Thanks for writing honestly about the challenges of raising two young children. Some days you really do feel like you are losing your mind, and it's a battle to think positively. You are obviously a dedicated mother, that is very evident!!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Julie. I really appreciate you taking the time to read. I just re-read this post... I think that we've come a long way (at least I feel that I have in terms of accepting myself).

    Make yourself a great day!