Misc / Special Needs Parenting

A Typical Afternoon with a Nonverbal Autistic Child

Sometimes I am so frustrated with my life I don’t know how to handle it. So…I write about it. Today I came home from picking Luke up at school and I was determined to be calm and nice and patient. From 3.30-4pm, I helped Luke eat a snack. I made him practice asking for pretzels with his iPad. Then we sat on the toilet. He didn’t pee.

At one point I left the kitchen for a moment and when I came back, Luke had dumped out ALL the peanuts on the carpet. He thought it was great fun. He loved the feeling of running his hands through the peanuts and throwing them in the air. I was livid. Seriously?!?! This again?

I was able to remain calm though as I escorted him to his room for a timeout. As I was cleaning up the peanuts, I had the sudden thought that he could be pooping in his room and spreading it everywhere. Afraid, I hurried to his door and opened it. Sure enough he had his pants off, but he had just peed, not pooped. I was a little relieved that it wasn’t poop but also angry. We had just sat on the toilet a half hour ago and he hadn’t wanted to pee then!!

After a few spanks (which didn’t do anything because he just laughed), I put him in the bathroom for the rest of his timeout. I tiredly went back to picking up the first mess: the peanuts. But I remembered that I had put him in the bathroom with his pants still off. He could technically still poop and spread it all over the bathroom. Sighing heavily, I went back to get him. He hadn’t pooped. Whew. I put a diaper on him and pants and a coat and sent him outside.

I finally finished picking up the peanuts and vacuumed the little pieces. Then I went to his room to try and clean up the pee mess. I cleaned that up and went and checked on Luke outside. Sure enough, he had pooped. So I changed his diaper.

Note – during this whole time, my neurotypical daughter was coloring Minnie Mouse pictures and watching a show. Not once did I need to help her. She continued coloring for over an hour.

My life is exhausting. Most people don’t really understand why I am tired all the time. When they ask, I describe it like this: “Imagine you have a one year old child in a 6 year olds body. They can’t speak, they don’t understand much, but they can reach ALL your cupboards, climb on ANYTHING, and get into EVERYTHING.” Still this description doesn’t really do it justice.

Luke’s ABA school is great. The 6 hours that he spends there every week day are what have kept me ALIVE. They are potty training him. But there is one problem. He never poops at school. Like NEVER. So how am I going to convince him to start pooping in the potty? At the moment, he has been waking up at 4am and pooping because he is in underwear all day long. Anyway, I know I’m supposed to be consistent about wearing underwear at home…but I’m too tired right now. Maybe I’ll have more energy next month to work on it.

Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t complain about all of this. But it feels SO good to complain sometimes. Writing about all of it helps me cope with it. It gets the ugly feelings out. Maybe it will help someone someday.

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