Lately, we’ve had a rough go of it with Squeaker. That’s kind of an understatement, actually. You see, Squeaker has always been a self-harmer when he’s had his meltdowns. He bites himself, bangs his head, slams his knees on ground, and pretty much does anything he can to hurt himself. If you try to restrain him, he’ll get at himself however he can. That’s how he’s been ever since the Autistic traits showed up (since about the age of two), increasing in severity with time. Then, he started throwing things as part of repertoire. Whatever he had in his hand at the time would go flying. Now, when he gets upset, he’s either self-harming, throwing, or attacking. If he’s close to a person (usually someone he’s familiar with), he’ll attack by hitting or kicking and sometimes biting. I have gotten the brunt of those attacks, followed by his brother, and occasionally (rarely), his father.
The Blind Rage of an Explosive Child
It’s hard to tell what goes through his mind during these times. It’s like blind rage. He’ll be restrained and sometimes, because he’s so strong and he’s fighting so hard, he’ll pop blood vessels in his neck from fighting so hard to get loose and attack again. And then, it’s over. For a little while at least. Until the next episode. He turns back into this sweet, lovable kid. The one that makes us laugh. The one that tickles his brother and takes great delight in making him smile. The one that comes up and kisses my arm a hundred times a day. The one that tells me that I’m the “best mom in the whole world” just for giving him cereal. Two kids in the same body. Sweet, gentle, and loving. Full of rage. Rage against himself. Rage against us. And then. Sweet. Gentle. Loving.
The other day, my husband and I were walking on the beach while he was at camp and Big Guy was at daycare, and I was in a fog because the day before had just been full of these rage episodes. In my efforts to block his brother from attacks in the car, I had gotten kicked pretty hard quite a few times and he had shoes on. I’m still surprised that I’m not bruised, because I bruise pretty easily. I couldn’t get out of this fog I was under because all I could think about was how difficult that past two weeks with him have been and how much easier things were while we were away for the weekend and I felt horrible for thinking it.
No Matter What, I will Always Love Him
He’s my child. God. I love him. To the moon. But, damn it, sometimes it’s so hard. Like, when I’m sitting on the toilet and he gets mad and starts kicking his brother and I’m on the toilet trying to separate them so his brother doesn’t get hurt and yelling for his father to come and help because I’m on the toilet. It’s like…can’t I just pee at least? You know? It just takes so little to set him off. He wants so much. A drink. Cereal. To go outside (and he can’t open the door within two seconds). If we don’t unbuckle his seatbelt within ten seconds of stopping the car. The list goes on. And it depends on the day. We have some stretches of time where we don’t deal with this as much, and thank God for that, but yeah, I’m going through a hard time right now with him.
So, I’m walking on the beach, and it’s beautiful outside, and the sand is warm, and I don’t care. Because, really, what kind of mom wants more time away from her child? I am awful. I just had a break. How can I think this way? But, the truth is, we got back and things were going okay, and I was happy to see my kids, and enjoying them, and we had fun in the pool, and then all Hell broke loose. We picked right up where we left off with him. So, no, I’m not exactly puking out rainbows right now. I did pick up a book that I’m going to work on reading called The Explosive Child by Ross Greene, because I think that will help some, and Squeaker’s therapist recommended it to us. He definitely fit the description of what an Explosive Child is, so I’m crossing my fingers that there are some good tips in there for how to handle him. I certainly could use some strategies that fit his personality.
Never Give Up – No Matter What!
One thing that I want to assert is that I will never give up on him. I continue to work on making things better and improving things for him. What we’re doing is not working. A huge part of me wants to throw my hands up in the air and say, “Okay! I give up! You win!” But, no. We cannot live this way and neither can he. This is no way for him to function in society. He has to learn some coping strategies for frustration and it is our responsibility to teach him those strategies. This book I’ve picked up, from what I’ve gathered so far, is supposed to show us how to do that for him. Reward systems, consequences, etc., haven’t worked. He’s too quick to anger and frustration. So. Back to the drawing board.
I will not give up.
There is too much in him that is precious for me to lose him to his rage. He’s not just an explosive child–he’s my sweet, lovable little boy.
PS: If you haven’t linked up with Selfless Saturdays, you should! Do something nice for someone, write about it on your blog, link it back to my blog (you can get the button on my sidebar), and then you can link up with me HERE. This week’s link-up ends today (7/17/13) at 11:59pm.
Originally posted 2013-07-17 16:10:00.