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WWMPD (what would Mary Poppins do) January 18, 2010

Posted by caizooka in autism parenting.
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I hadn’t thought of it, but one of the boys’ caregivers at school, Devona, went thru the Gene Juarez Academy for hair. She came over Saturday and braved the storm with us to cut O’s hair. We tried everything to get O to calm down but it just was what it was…but it is now done. Since Devona knows O and is really easy going, it wasn’t as bad as having a total stranger at a kids hair salon undergo the experience with us. Since it was in our own home, we didn’t have to endure others getting upset. So, in that respect, it was better. In researching this a bit and trying to learn from others experiences, one woman said that she has to give her son a mild sedative to get through it. I wonder if that is where we’ll be headed. If we could get him to take a bath and wash his hair, then I don’t care if his hair is long.

One thing that stuck with me is that he kept on saying that it hurt. She tried the scissors and the clippers both to the same effect. It makes me wonder about pain and autism. I was reading somewhere that one of the factors of not being able to fully identify GI problems in autistic children is that it’s really difficult to discern the severity because pain tends to be different. Some kids sense no pain, and some kids are over sensitive to pain. Thinking back to the whole e.coli incident, I remember thinking that the pain that O is feeling is real. He isn’t imagining it. Would it be expressed in the same nature in another child?  Probably not. I wonder then why getting his haircut is painful.

The rest of the day, Peter and I (and probably Devona for that matter) walked around a bit off balance. Emotionally, the experience left us all drained and wondering what we could do to make it better for him. It just plain sucks to see your kid in any sort of pain, but to have to hold his legs down with your legs and arms and head just to get a haircut just seems so out of whack. It’s kinda the same process for a bath. Hence the reason why we don’t often give baths to O.

O has been extremely violent towards me lately. Okay, me, J, and E. If he doesn’t want to do something he will establish eye contact with you and scream that he hates you. Such difficult words to absorb. I try and repel them and think that it’s not him saying that, it’s just the autism. But, from there either he will change his mind and latch onto something that he wants to partake in, or he kicks, hits, or throws something at me. It makes it difficult, if not impossible for me to interact with him well. I realized that I am very hesitant to be on the floor with him, at his level, trying to interact with him. It takes a certain amount of vulnerability on my part to do so. Looking at the bruises on my body from the last week, I can honestly say that it has set me back from trying to play with him. Being on the defense is not a comforting place to be in in your own home. Maybe the way that I’m reacting to his behavior is making it worse. I am going to focus on that this week. Not trying to change my reaction, but just making note of it. Back to the ABC chart I mentioned last week.

I came across another autism video that I thought that I would share:

http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/educational/watch/e133765ejW4nXnh

It is a really well produced video from Autism Speaks. Alot of the children profiled are far less functional that O. My heart breaks for their families. The reason why I share this is because of the similar journey we embark on. Not any two autistic children are exactly alike. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Different symptoms. I’m so impressed with these moms determination and hope. It inspires me, doesn’t depress me.

What I noticed about the kids profiled that are similar to O is the screaming, the covering of the ears, spaced out look, in their own world, struggling with everyday activities, and the running.

There was a story of an autistic boy that was killed recently by running out in traffic after escaping from his home. That totally resonated. In the video above they talk about the running, the bolting. When we lived in our previous house, it was a very busy street and I was always completely terrified of him running out in the traffic and getting hit. So many times I threw E in the exersaucer so that I could run after O who found his way out of the house and was running down the street. He has/had no street sense and on a whim could run in front of a car. It is so scary. In our new house we also live on a busy street but O has gotten better with this and the doors are always locked. We’re having a front porch lock made so that if he gets out of the house that there is also the safety net of the front porch being enclosed. It helps a great deal that there is a fence like structure that prevents him from running directly out into the street. The other day we went to The Children’s Museum and he bolted. I lost him twice. I told the workers at the front to please look out for him and do not let him out the exit or the entrance without me. Thank goodness they were so understanding and kind. Emil was wearing a bright yellow vest. I need to get Oliver one, too. They’ll be easier to keep tract of.

So, back to the title of this entry…seriously, Mary Poppins made this all looked so easily. A spoonful of sugar made the medicine go down.  Was that the hardest thing that she seemed to have to contend with? Was that a metaphor for all difficult parenting? I wish that I knew how to sugar coat a haircut for O.

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Comments»

1. Mom - January 18, 2010

Mary Poppins, oh yes, Mary Poppins – life all simple and sugar-coated. I’d love to see her with Oliver – they’d really love each other! Ollie was great today; it is fun to see him connecting and answering questions. Love ya.


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