Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Autism vs. a 3 Year Old May 31, 2011

I think I may have touched on this before but oh well.  It keeps coming up in my house so it’ll come up again in my blog.  It’s hard for me to tell which of Jay’s behaviours are because of his autism and which are because he’s a cheeky 3-year-old.  I tend to err on the side of the autism while CC errs on the side of his being 3.  Ultimately, I wish there was no autism for us to deal with at all, but since it’s here, could it at least be easier to identify? 

I don’t want to punish Jay or get stern with him if he’s struggling with something due to his autism.  I also don’t want to let him get away with not being disciplined when he should be.  Recently, he’s been very whiney and miserable.  He’s been a real handful to put it nicely.  I’ve been looking everywhere for the cause.  I’ve been trying to find the culprit so I can ease his discomfort.  Maybe he’s hot and heat is a sensory issue for him.  We put an air conditioner in their room.  I give extra baths and let them stay in there for a long time and I don’t make (too much) of a fuss when they get the water everywhere.   Nope, he’s still grumpy and difficult.  Are his ears bothering him?  Why does he keep putting my hand to the side of his face?  Wait, I think he’s trying to tell me something.  Or maybe not.  Maybe that’s my wishful hearing.    I keep the fridge stocked with juice and snacks in case he’s ever hungry or thirsty.  I enlist Ace’s help to find missing toys even though we’re not looking for any one in particular.  It’s a random search.  Pointless probably.  As much as it pains me, I ask Ace to give up his story time because Jay tries to rip the book from my hands and then uses me as his own personal Jungle Jim .   Ace doesn’t like it, he doesn’t understand, but he relents.  He’s such a good kid.  I love him so much.   I try everything to give my Jay peace of mind and to make him more comfortable.  For my own sake (cause Lord knows sometimes I am tired) but also for his own sake.  I feel sorry for him … It must be exhausting to cry and fuss that much.  It must give him headaches or stress him out.  Something. 

But through it all, what I never think is that Jay is just being bad.  There’s no way he’s choosing to be this way. 

Then, just when I’m all out of options and my edges are frayed, CC comes in with a serious look on his face and with a slightly raised “daddy voice” tells Jay to “stop it”.  And he does.  Just like that.  No fussing, no throwing, no tears.  He just stops whatever mischievous thing he was doing and sits.  He looks up at CC with big, beautiful, eyes and a smirk.  A smirk I tell ya.  As if he knows he was giving trouble.  As if he thinks it’s funny to get me all worked up.  He tries to match CC’s serious stare but I can see the smile that’s teasing the corners of his mouth.  Then he runs off laughing and begins playing with Ace or some toy as if nothing was ever wrong.

Is this kid messing with me?  I know he’s 3 and there are certain things that 3-year-old boys do as a right of passage.  I hear people say it’s not the terrible 2’s, it’s the terrible 3’s.  But what if it’s not that.  What if this is part of his autism and there’s something I should be doing about it?  I don’t want to miss anything and then look back and wish I had caught it sooner.  Oh man … things are so much harder when you’re constantly on the look out for a symptom or a trigger or some sign.  I read something into everything Jay does.  But, hey, maybe he’s just 3. 

 

ps.  Story time hasn’t gone away.  It just gets re-scheduled for later in the day when CC is able to keep Jay out of our hair for a minute or 2. 

pps.  I’ll have a happy post soon.  Including one about an amazing time we had with some other little ones in our family.  I’m waiting for my computer to get fixed so I can upload some pictures.  Please don’t give up on me now because I’ve been a little … less than cheerful lately.  🙂

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