I never know what tomorrow will hold. I’ve come to realize that I cannot predict whether I’m going to pick up my son at after school care or if I’m going to get a phone call to pick him up. Life with autism is full of unpredictability because life itself comes with factors that move and change. We live the zaniest life sometimes, but we live it chock full of love.
Today’s phone call came not even halfway through my school day. The behavior? Refusal to wear clothing at school. Granted, we have a difficult time keeping clothing on him at home, but usually he does keep his clothes on there. When I got to the school, he still had not complied. He had also started spitting and talking rapidly to himself. He finally got his clothing on with me there and cleaned up after himself, but his energy level was so high today I could barely scrape him off of the ceiling. He kept doing laps over and over and over again around the room. I felt certain that he’d go to bed easily tonight, but he didn’t, even though I went to the doctor about all of this and we’re trying something new. He’s at least sleeping now. Hopefully he’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight for the rest of the night.
He did not get to watch television today. I took away his toy car. I made him do his work. Do I think any of that will have a profound effect on whether he behaves tomorrow? No, not really. He did not seem too bothered by it, really. Not after the initial shock of it. He just found other ways to stimulate himself.
Before today, he had three really good days in a row. He earned his reward at school. He’s not really sleeping at night, but he’s at least behaving at school and moderately well at home, so I didn’t see any need to try to change anything between doctor’s visits (until today). But the two days before that, he did need to get picked up for different behaviors. Knocking over chairs and tables, not putting his shoes on, hitting, and things like that. Each time he has one of these episodes, he’s also kind of running around and talking and saying things that don’t really make sense to anyone.
I don’t know what to make of it. If I’m to come fully out about things, I’d say that my son has periods where he’s stable for a long period of time and responds well to autism interventions. All the sensory things we’re doing work well. Everything goes really well for a while. But then we go through periods of what I know we characterize and we’ve talked to the doctor as being like mania. During these periods of time, nothing really seems to work. He’s impulsive and does things that don’t make sense and just has no control over what he says and does. After these periods of time end, he also sleeps much better. Sometimes he sleeps more than he should. I think he just gets exhausted.
We honestly don’t know how the cycle will go. We’ll get stable for a while, and then we’ll get whisked away into the whirlwind of activity. Like today. Today was like the mother of all days. The zaniest of all days. Soap-eating, disrobing, peeing-in-the-yard, running away, dumping water in the bathroom, and it just went on from there. He also gave a thousand kisses, jumped into my arms, told me he loved me over and over again, said I was pretty, and called me the best mommy. It all comes out in the wash, right?
Tomorrow, he’ll wake up, and I’m sure we’ll see a new day. He’ll probably reset. Or maybe not. I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that we may live the zaniest lives, but my son knows that I’m there when he needs me. And, in the words of the Beatles, “Love. Love. Love. Love is all you need.”