There are, as you may have noticed if you are alive and have either your sense of vision or hearing semi-intact, numerous studies out there detailing all kinds of stuff about autism. None of them offer any definitive answers (though many claim to), many of them are at odds with one another on any number of points, and certainly trying to learn anything useful from them can be about as much fun as a raging sinus infection. No, scratch that - they're not even that much fun, usually.
So of course, my friend Google and I read them compulsively.
One theme that has been popping up of late is that of puberty and the autistic child. (There's a REALLY bad joke in there somewhere, but since I'm talking about my BABY BOY, fuhtheluvofgawd, I will not go there. But don't let me hold YOU back!) Specifically, the articles keep mentioning how the onset of puberty can bring about a massive upswing in aggression.
Which brings me to thing #4,376 I now stay up at night worrying about:
What will happen if Jamesy, who really isn't very tantrum prone at all, even for a 'normal' toddler, but who IS built like a little fireplug, becomes one of these aggressive kids? Am I physically capable of restraining him? What if I'm not? Will he have to go to a group home? Will I have to send my child away?
Now this WAS just one of the many amusing little conundrums with which I would occupy myself in the dead of night when there was nothing else (like, say, sleeping, or being sane) to do. But it has been promoted to Relentless Nagging Nausea-Inducing Fear, First Class, because of a friend of mine.
Now she hasn't done this to me on purpose; quite the opposite. I'm sure, if she knew (and she reads this blog, so she will shortly) she would be filled with remorse, which is ridiculous, because she has been the most supportive and information-packed person I know through all this. In fact, she is the only reason I feel I have any control over the whole get-James-help process at all, because she first showed me where to get the information I needed to get organized about this stuff. (And I'll bet she didn't even know I felt that way!) I owe her a debt of gratitude a mile wide. (Can debts be measure in miles? What IS the correct standard of measurement for gratitude? And do you see how I will do almost anything not to talk about the real topic here, and yet I can't leave it alone?)
Ok, so. We love her. And she loves her kids, holy wow! She is a serious All-American mom. I'm talking, the kind of mom I am not even worthy to look at the Facebook pictures of. Unfortunately, however, her own autistic son is experiencing just the sorts of issues that I have been reading about lately, and he has required hospitalization as a result.
And holy shit. I. Cannot. Imagine. My heart breaks just thinking about HER thinking about it! How on earth can you make such a decision? I don't mean her eventual choice - I mean, the nasty, gut-wrenching, soul-burning process of making the decision itself. Do I turn my baby over to other people?
And oh, it makes me MAD!! (!!!!!!) Not at her - far from it - but at the universe! No matter how much you know you are doing the right thing by your kid (or at least, the best you can with the information at hand)... what the hell kind of world makes you unable to love these kids back to wellness? Because if aggression could be stopped by the force of love, man, this kid would be cured and they'd all be millionaires on the lecture circuit. But instead, the person (ok, people: credit to her hubby, too) who is the closest to this beautiful boy, who knows his 'stuff' the best, who GETS him, and oh by the way adores him - she has to be the one to tell him he can't come home.
And then SHE has to go home. Without him.
Jesus fucking christ.
This is a nightmare. C, I am so SO sorry you are having to deal with this, and I am routinely awed by the grace under pressure which you exhibit. I apologize for never having told you what a great example you have been to me, and I hope telling you now will help you get through even one minute of this crap with slightly less AAAUUUUGGGHHHH!
And readers, I apologize for blurting all this out at you. Apparently, I self-medicate with blog therapy. (Fewer hangovers than Cuervo, but doesn't taste nearly as good with salsa.)
By way of further apology, I offer you the following photo vignette:
Below, we see what happens when you stop to tie someone else's shoe and you think that the presence of a fence and half an acre of yard is enough to prevent small boys from using their Spidey Sense to locate overturned kiddie pools full of standing (disgusting, probably critter-filled, possibly alien-breeding) water and debris.
Please note the sneakers, still on. The new, WHITE sneakers. Yeah.
Next, we see what happens when our mother is old and fat and tripping over the fence and siblings in her hurried quest to reach us, but she isn't there yet, and so we can still do stuff:
And, in case any of YOU would like to recreate this lovely style yourselves, a brief how-to:
("The end" *grin*)