I’m drained. Emotionally and physically, I’m just out. Out of energy, out of emotion, out of endurance. This last week – month! – has been a marathon of the less positive aspects of 2e.
The Engineer’s issues are cyclic. Right now we’re on a down turn, a drastic change from the positive improvements we had been seeing. I don’t know why we’re on a down turn. I could blame it on the moon or a growth spurt – it has absolutely no rhyme or reason that we can determine.
Today, as I dealt with my own private zoo, I felt so alone. There were people all around us: standing in line, waiting on customers, sitting in chairs reading, and walking in and out of the doors. We might as well have not existed, to judge from these people. They were studiously ignoring us.
Of course I’ll take that over judging looks, but it’s incredibly isolating. The default response to special needs issues seems to be judgement or denial: we don’t exist. Better to ignore that mess than get involved. Better to look away, pretend you don’t see the mom chasing her kid down, or struggling to just cross the street.
If someone had said “good job mom, you’re fast!” when I stopped the Engineer from running out in front of a moving vehicle TWICE within the space of 3 minutes, I would have smiled.
If one person had taken the time to hold the door open for me (of the three people in front of or behind us) while I struggled with 3 kids and 4 bags of books, I would have been incredibly grateful.
If anyone had blocked the Destroyer for me in the narrow aisles, I would have appreciated it so much.
Instead, we weren’t there. We didn’t exist. As I struggled to hold the door open, carry books, and keep the kids from running off, I felt alone.
As I caught the Engineer in time to keep him from getting hit by a car, I felt alone.
When I chased down the Destroyer in the bookstore (he darted away) I felt so alone and ashamed – as if we had no right to be there.
When I had to make the kids sit on the floor at the cash register because they kept running away, I felt isolated and judged.
When I caught the Engineer by the back of his shirt to stop him from eloping, I wanted to cry.
Good parents don’t have to do that. Good parents don’t deal with behavioral issues like this. Good parents have loving, attentive children who wouldn’t dream of running away. Good parents have children who patiently wait in line and don’t turn into insane raging monsters. I am not a good parent by those standards. I am a failure constantly questioning why my kids seem to be immune to standard parenting techniques.
It’s pretty funny that the GHF blog hop right now is about how to discipline gifted kids, because I’m living it. I’m in the unique dilemma right now of living with a child who has no motivators. Positive direction is useless, negative reinforcement is pointless, and there is nothing he wants enough to make the effort to behave.
I want to help him cope. The problem is, I have no idea what we’re coping with this time.
I would have held the door open for you. Thanks for sharing, and I have been there. When my daughter got on the floor screaming, while we were signing up for a class at the Parks Dept. Couldn’t figure out the cause, at all. And the stares were the worst. It does get better, easier, at least it did for us. Here’s one mama who knows you are a good one! Betsy @ BJ’s Homeschool.
OMG, I can completely relate to this post! Right down to the lack of ability to incentivize.
What has helped for me is rewriting expectations. I’m no longer trying to teach my child to function normally in society. I’m teaching her how to navigate normal society and self advocate.
Of course incentives don’t work when I’m asking the impossible (for her).
How often have we as adults thought things like “I’m ordering pizza tonight, I can’t deal with dishes”. To kids with challenges, foregoing the sticker is pretty similar to paying someone else to do dishes. It’s just that as grown ups, we don’t get why it’s so hard to stand patiently for 5 minutes, or just sit in their desk and do the work that’s assigned. (Or get out of the car and go to that birthday party they’ve been excited about all week…)
Helping my daughter normalize the abnormal has really helped us move forward.
But I’m still living in the Twilight Zone, LOL.