He runs to make his mind still, to organize himself and to get rid of the noise from this loud, confusing world. The more he's moved, the more he's introduced patterns and rhythm into his routine. Laps around the house are a daily ritual. He's made it more complex as he's developed, but the basics are the same. There is a pattern of movement -- specific foot patterns based on whatever song or chant he chooses to accompany the run, and he can not be stopped until he is ready to be.

This is James, and this is our story.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Resolve

I've been struggling more than usual the last few weeks. Actually, I've been out of sorts since summer ended. I know there is something I need to do that I'm not.
That in itself is nothing new. I'm a bit of a slacker. I've never had aspirations of grandeur, it has only mattered that I be happy and with the people I love. That has always been enough.

But I don't feel like I am the best mother/ wife/ friend right now.  And I don't understand why. If I want everyone around me to be happy, and I know what they need to become so, what is stopping me from doing whatever I can to I give it to them?

I'm the mom of a child with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder and severe anxiety. I know he needs structure. I know he needs routines. I know he needs his areas to be free of clutter and easy to navigate. I know he doesn't like surprises. Yet I can't get my act together enough to give him what he needs. In his own home.

My other child has some very similar and sometimes slightly more confusing needs. I'm still trying to figure out how best to help him navigate the world, and it is incredibly upsetting to see him get so frustrated - at both himself and the world around him.

I want to get out of this rut. To be healthy and energetic. To be productive during the day so I can spend quality time with the kids when they are home. Instead I wander around the house overwhelmed all day and then look at the clock, realizing that I got nothing done.

Another day wasted when I could have accomplished something to make our lives better.

Then all of a sudden the boys get home and the day is full of transition difficulties and homework struggles and "why doesn't he have as much homework as me" and "I don't want that for dinner" and "why did he get more time to play" and I seriously think my brain is going to explode so I get a glass of wine so much earlier than I planned and I drink it much more quickly than I should because it is only 5 o'clock and Tony won't be home until at least 7.

See how exhausting that is to read? There should be pauses. periods. At least a comma to allow a deep breath and gathering of thoughts that make sense.

That is how I feel a lot of the time. No commas.

My family needs me to make some changes. I know that. James made everything crystal clear yesterday when he tried to get a cookie out of the jar on the counter and knocked things over that were stacked in front of it, because I didn't clean the kitchen as planned.

He lost it. "Why is there so much stuff? There isn't supposed to be stuff in front of the jar! I can't do it like this. You are supposed to move the stuff!"

And he was right.

I know it is just a cookie, so it might sound a bit ridiculous if you don't live in the world of autism and SPD and anxiety. But it isn't at all ridiculous in my world. It is what he needs in order to help him get through a day that is filled with uncertainty and surprises. If I know he needs a smooth transition after a difficult day of holding it together, and all I need to do is clear a path to the cookie jar and I don't do it, then that is a pretty big fail.

So here is my resolution for this year. I have no idea if it will work or if I'll even stick with it, since I've blown off every other one I've ever made in my life. But this one isn't for me. It is for my family.

I'll try, one bit at a time, to get things organized. To get my mind organized.

Clear the clutter. In my house, but more importantly, in my head.

I'm going to try to write about what I'm going through, since that seems to help me organize my thoughts. I'll try to explain how things got this way and where I want to be.

And then I'll try to get there.


Alysia said...

Right there with you. I wrote a post last year for another site called "free your mind". It was about the clutter in my son's room ruining his mood, and in turn, realizing the clutter in my head and surroundings was ruining mine.
We should do it together. Cheer each other one. We can do it.

Robin said...

Easy to understand with ALL that goes on. Try and break it into small tasks rather than viewing it as everything. Not to give a bunch of solutions because just thinking about it sometimes is enough to feel better, but One thing I have found helpful is to involve the kids in the organization of particular areas and use picture labels or post its to organize. SInce you said your kids like organization, it can be a family project that ends with a favorite activity (although some think the organization is the fun part).