As in treading, hanging, straddling, forging, managing, nearing, losing....those kind of "ing"s.
I am treading water, trying to keep my head above it and survive. I feel somewhat in the depths of motherhood hell right now. 4D is 20 month old. If that doesn't explain it for you because you don't have one or can't remember specifically what one was like, I can give you some more "-ing" words. Hers: WhinING. NeedING. WantING. YellING. TantrummING. CryING. RepeatING. TalkING. Mine: DistractING. MonitorING. CleanING. FeedING. HoldING. IgnorING. TryING.
Holy mother of God.
Honestly? Honestly! I have FOUR children. How is it that I forget every single solitary time how miserable this stage is?!?! Oh yes, it's cute and cuddly and "easy" (in the parenting sense of the term). And, oh yes, it goes by so quickly (thank GOD but not fast enough). OH MY LORD! I am wondering if I will, in fact, survive this fourth bout. And, to say that it's demanding or needy or "hard" or trying is really, truly a fucking joke after surviving the autism version of it. But, still. Hence, the "hanging."
As in, hanging by a mere thread. My nerves are raw. That constant whining and crying and needing and wanting from 4D has depleted my stores (of nerves, sanity, sleep, peace, and calm). That puts me on edge. On edge is never good for 4A. Surprisingly, my on-edginess isn't really tripping her up this time. It is, however, making 4C insane. She still needs me, too, and I'm so depleted by 4D right now that I don't have a whole lot left over for 4C. She's such an enthusiastic and exuberant and excited and good-natured kid. It about kills her when I bite her head off for merely saying my name. Mind you, she's probably saying my name because she wants to tell me something sweet or share something with me or maybe tell me how much she loves me. No matter. I bite at her like a Venus fly trap. I am so NASTY! Sigh.
She and 4B are resilient, and they can take it. But, should they have to? Addressing this question is, of course, an exercise in absolute futility, but deranged as I am by all of this needing and whining, I'm falling into that horrible pit of mother guilt, which is never necessary or productive.
4Daddy and my mom are helping. They really are. They are shuttling and answering and feeding and wrangling and refereeing. As often and as best they can. Thank goodness for that! That makes the foregoing "-ing"ing survivable.
Underlying all of the foregoing "-ing"ing is the managing. Always the constant managing that comes with life on the spectrum. Managing the team to keep them all in communication. Gathering the input the team leader and I need to decide what to do. Disseminating that information to the providers. Following up to see if it's working. Reinforcing with pebbles and social stories and scaffolding. Researching the next big hurdle (puberty conversations with a girl Aspie sound SO fun, don't they?).
This brings me to the forgING. If you have a girl on the spectrum and you haven't yet read Julie Clark's book, Asperger's in Pink, you absolutely must. She describes being the mom of a girl Aspie as not even having a gravel path to follow, let alone a road. So little is know about girl Aspies, and in many ways, they require different management and treatment of symptoms than boy Aspies. While I am so very VERY lucky to have Dr. Steve and the amazing intuition about my Aspie that he has taught me to have, I am still doing all the forgING in terms of the work. The resources to do the scaffolding and work that needs to be done are not available because they haven't yet been created. I am making them myself. Time consuming and exhausting, two more "-ing" words for you. This brings me to "straddling."
As in, straddling two different worlds. I am neurotypical. 3 of my four children and my husband are neurotypical. My children's teachers are neurotypical. I understand the NT world because I am part of it. I live in it. Most of my family lives in it. It is how I know that the world works.
My eldest child is not neurotypical. By the grace of God and the amazing Dr. Steve, I understand her world, too. I understand it so well, apparently, that he thinks that I don't need him anymore (don't worry! I told him that I'll stalk him if he ever tries to leave us! He took that well!). I constantly and always am flexing between two worlds: the NT one and the ASD one. I am SO lucky to have that privilege and knowledge and capability. Sometimes, I just wish it were a little easier or a little less or a little blurrier, the line between those two worlds. That brings me to "nearing" and "losing."
As in, I am nearing my breaking point and almost losing my mind. I am tired. Physically but really more emotionally. I don't want to have to explain to another person what 4A needs or why she does or who she is. I want people to get it and be intuitive about it already, damn it! I don't want to forge this path. I don't want to tell people what they need to do. I want them to know and do it without my asking or telling. I don't want people to ask questions about her and who and why she is. I want them to know already. I'm tired.
I remember a time when 4A was about 3 when I felt this exact way. So worn out. So very tired of all of the work that it took to keep her present in her life and undisruptive to ours. It about did me in. Very literally.
It's different this time. In that I have a LOT more support and knowledge and peace than I did back then. I can do this. I will do this. Of course. I just don't want to today. That's all.
And, you know what I say about "don't want to," right? Life is all about ALL ABOUT shit you don't want to do. The more important question, of course, is what am I going to do about it? I know, and I'm doing it, but I'm going to have to explain it to you later.
You'll excuse me for now, please. I haven't had a shower in two days, my son has his FOURTH bout of strep in 10 weeks and could use some mommy/couch cuddle time, I have a dishwasher full of clean dishes and sink full of dirty, I need to figure out what the hell to feed these people again, I need to ready the flashcards and pebbles and timer for 4A's exodus from school, and I want to sit on my ass for 5 minutes with a cup of tea before 4D wakes up and starts hollering at me again. And, with that, I bid you good day.