Michael is becoming more independent, more vocal, and more demanding about having control in his life. Sometimes it feels like I am raising a teenager and not an eight year old. “Why do I have to listen to my helper at daycare, my catechism teacher? They are mean ladies.” And when I ask him why they are mean? He answers me with a straight face. “Because they make me do work. I have to do what they say. I’m in charge Mommy, not them!” On the inside Moms, I’m laughing, really, but on the outside I have a little anarchist who, unless he ends up becoming a rich and powerful CEO, can’t afford to be seeking all consuming power and ordering everyone around. But seriously, I know. Even all powerful CEO’s can’t carry all the weight of running the ship. They need a strong team of people they can delegate to. But Michael wants full control everywhere. And when people are telling him to follow rules, he just doesn’t like it. Sound like some of your children? It’s exhilarating and frustrating, that along with all the autism stuff, I have all this neuro-typical stuff happening too. Don’t get me wrong. I thank God every day for him advancing, but really some days there’s not enough wine in the house. I think I’ll make that my next blog entry, but I digress. 🙂
So what to do? I’ve had discussions telling Michael how rules are important for everyone, including Mommies and Daddies. I’ve talked about his different brain so that is why he sometimes needs extra help (i.e. shadow at daycare or activities outside of his adapted school), and praised him when he listens to me and other authority figures. But there are times when I have to take a mental health break, have a sip of coffee, and troubleshoot. How can I give him control over what he can control?
I’ve been having this same dilemma lately. It’s hard not knowing from one week to the next when I’ll be working. It’s hard balancing my desire to work on my writing, non-fiction and fiction, on my business, when the house needs cleaning, the clothes need washing and errands need to be run. I want to be in charge too of my own life, and sometimes I have to give in to what I HAVE to do, that dreaded boring word. But there is an upside. Through noticing my own rebellion in sometimes postponing the monotonous jobs around the house, it has helped me to understand Michael’s situation a little better. Now I am giving Michael down time at home where he could be in charge. I am giving him small periods of time where he has choices of what to do, play, chores he can do with me, alone, and once a week he picks the dinner menu. It has helped both of us.
There are little ways we can all have more control in the crazy fast-paced world we live in. We have to not be afraid to breathe in and out slowly, and give ourselves some small choices and changes to break the monotony of order, rules and structure. After all, living in the moment is what is truly living no matter how old you are. Until next time.