“I was my mother’s first child, and I was like a little wild animal. Between nonstop tantrums and a penchant for smearing feces, I was a terrible two-year-old.” ~Temple Grandin
Squeaker isn’t a two-year-old and he doesn’t smear feces, but man…the whole potty issue is just that. An issue. Poop is funny to him. The sounds his body makes when he needs to go and when he’s pooping make him laugh. Poop on the floor? Hilarious (to him, not me). Poop in the potty? Yeah. That’d be nice. At the age of 5, he’d still rather poop in his pants than in the potty.
Nap times are the biggest issue. Often he wakes up from nap either very wet or having had taken his pants off and peed somewhere else. We leave his door open. We remind him that he can leave to go potty when he needs to go. Heck, we even try to take him to the potty before naps. Somehow, it always happens.
The other day he thought that, aside from just pooping on the floor, it would be great fun to pee on his drum.
I don’t think there’s any malice behind it, but I would like to know what’s going on in his head.
So we decided to make him clean it up himself. Not only did that result in a bigger mess for me to clean up, he seemed to enjoy it. After he did the initial cleaning and I got him to scrub the floor a bit (which he thought was funny), I got out the Resolve and the bleach and sanitized. His room always needs to be sanitized, it seems.
I just got him up from a nap a couple of minutes ago, and he was in his room laughing when I headed toward it. There was a huge pile on the floor and he just kept laughing. Then, he gets his Cookie Monster toy and goes up to his poop and dangles Cookie’s face above the poop, making eating noises. I had to cover my mouth and leave the room to keep from laughing. Again, he catches me off guard with his odd humor.
But, I had to make sure he knew this wasn’t acceptable. So instead of making him clean it up, I put him in time-out for it.
“No, I clean it up,” he says.
“No, you’re going to time out for pooping on the floor,” I say. “We do NOT poop on the floor.”
I put him there and set the timer, but he didn’t care about that either. He just sat there quietly. None of the usual fuss. None of the wailing, the self-biting, or spitting on himself. He just sat there. And I have to admit, that did not satisfy me. I mean, what kind of punishment is it if he’s not upset in the least about it?
This is the part where I have to wonder…when will we get the extra help we’ve been seeking? I haven’t heard anything from The Arc in over a week. I don’t know how to stop some of these behaviors. Time-outs are often a punishment for everyone in the house, and don’t seem effective anymore, but we still do them. We do not and will not spank him. I don’t believe he’d connect us hitting him with what he did anyway. And today, after him throwing tantrum after tantrum, I told him there would be no TV today. Will taking away the TV help? I don’t know. But sometimes I just need to feel like I’m doing something to stop the behaviors, I guess.
And I’ve stuck to the no TV punishment today. The thing is, I’m not sure what to do when he asks to watch something. I’ll have to remind him why he can’t and, the thing is, this is a child who cannot answer me when I ask him what he ate for lunch. He cannot tell me what he did at school. He cannot answer questions about his day either because he doesn’t remember or doesn’t know what I’m asking him. So I don’t even know if he remembers this morning…
No one ever told me this was how it would be. There were no classes offered to tell me how to deal with a special needs child at home. Because, let me tell you, home and school are two different things. I’m trained to work with special needs kids as a teacher, but kids are so different at home. I continue to read more and more books about autism. To try to educate myself. But it seems none of the books I read actually tell me how to resolve these issues. Just that they ARE issues.
What I’d like is a guide written by a professional on how to teach a child with autism how to behave appropriately. A nice, neat little book that covers all the problems and solves them all for us. Because right now, we’re just fumbling along. Doing the best we can with the cards we’ve been dealt.
PS: Thanksgiving post is coming soon! It will not be about poop. Please try to hide your disappointment.