Gather round children mommy wants to tell you a bedtime story...
Once upon a time mommy one, daddy one, boy one and girl one were ready for bed so they bundled up the rickety hill and settled into their obligatory bedtime routine until boy and girl one were all sleepy head and tucked up in bed! Mommy one snuggled down and fell asleep in front of the crime and investigation channel and daddy one went to shoot at imaginary men on his Xbox.
About 3am mommy one was awoken by mount Vesuvius erupting in the bed next to her! A snore so loud that even boy one woke! Normally boy one would climb in beside daddy and kick three shades out of him but tonight daddy was too loud! In fact daddy woke girl one too!
As mommy lay in bed, 4am, listening to snoring, "Nightmare before Christmas" on telly and Waybaloo on the iPad she couldn't help but chuckle...yes chuckle! No mommy no cry!
You see, I've come to the conclusion that if you can just bring yourself to see the funny side of the situation then you'll make it through. That night, nothing I did was going to change the outcome. When autistic kids are awake, they're awake and you can bang your head against the bedroom wall all you like but it's not gonna alter the fact that they're awake and wanna watch finding nemo while running Thomas the tank engine over your head at 4am on a tuesday morning!
So I laughed. I laughed and amused by myself at the sheer ridiculousness of the scenario. And this goes with a lot of autism life. It really does throw some gems up! For example we bought Cody an all singing, all dancing miniature toilet in an attempt to tempt him to go pee pee in the potty...as we held aloft the bog of beauty we declared.."look Cody, your own toilet" and he gazed in wonder and replied "it's for p*ss"! And, I guess he was right! He hasn't used it for that yet! But it was £25 well spent for a moment of brilliance and those are the moments I cherish now. Those moments you couldn't replace. those moments where you are able to laugh out loud. Not just amusing swear words uttered by my infants but those moments where Jesse cracks up laughing for no reason. And it's so beautiful you can't help cracking up yourself. The random moments she comes and covers your face with her touchy blanket and walks off leaving you sitting under a smelly blanket totally bewildered! The moments Cody jumps up to break dance to a theme tune on telly or acts out a scene from monsters v aliens.
We try to laugh now when he runs away from us as we try to dress him. Because to Cody it's just a game. He's not distressed we're trying to put his socks on, he thinks it's terribly funny if he wriggles around to stop you doing it. So why can't it be a game? why cant it be a moment of shared laughter? of interaction? We've spent too long building up dramas in our heads, getting upset that Jesse wanted to be held so much, or Cody wouldn't tell us he wanted a drink. So sad when we think of things they won't know or we won't experience that we've missed so much precious stuff already, and replaced it with stress. No more stress. No more!
We now spend at least 3/4 of our time with the kids laughing, with them, at them, at ourselves and reveling in the little things that we are determined not to miss anymore. We are so blessed to rate the little steps they make so highly that surely that's a pleasurable thing? I know parents who miss what their kids achieve on a day to day basis because it's all about the bigger picture. It's all about the milestones and education, the teenage angst and the boozy adolescent. I may not have some of the things these parents have but I see every smile my kid makes. I mean really see it. And acknowledge it. And even photograph it. And share it back with them. And keep it as a special memory. Every smile.
this isn't going to change your life. and im aware some people are dealing with strong stuff at the moment and if the laughs are in small supply then fair enough. who knows what our future holds? could be heavy but if you can, just find one thing in the day to make a joke, share a moment, cherish a memory im sure there would be something?
I'm not saying laughter is the best medicine but if possible its got to be better than not laughing?! Don't get me wrong, I'm not laughing when Jesse headbutts me and I'm still not happy when I'm being tagged teamed but I finally realized ..hey, they're not going to stop doing it just cus you don't like it?! That's autism for ya! So move on, crack your face, be a grown up and join in the wrestling!