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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Am I In this Alone?

I have an awesome husband. He is an excellent provider and I know that he loves me and our children with all of his heart.  Just last week, he took a day off and spent it with me.  We went to lunch, followed by a leisurely walk, passed by Tiffany, where I coaxed him to going in to "just look" and I came out with a brand new necklace.  I indulged him afterward by going to a bloody movie, full of violence, which is totally not my cup of tea.  But that's what you do for the man you love.  A few months ago, he totally indulged me by allowing my mom to move in with us, which involves a whole other level of sacrifice.  So far, it's been more of a blessing than anything else.  

When it comes to raising our Asperger's children however, I often feel like I'm on my own --like I'm the only one who gets it.  My husband has this "old school", traditional mentality. But these are not traditional, atypical children.  He sees many of their ASD behaviors as a personal affront to him and/or the rest of the world.  Thus, he wants to discipline them as such, weather or not it works to change any behaviors and often despite the fact that it usually makes matters worse.  He's a guy -so when he sees my son being aggressive, not listening and driving me batty, he wants to step in even more aggressively than my son is behaving, in order to let him know exactly who is the alpha male in the house.  His aggression makes the sons aggression worse.  It certainly doesn't teach him anything. I understand the whole I will protect my family 'by any means neccessary' mentality.  However what the aspie teen and preteen needs is balance and calm when they are out of control.  Yelling or litterally putting them into a corner, will not get them to buy anything that your selling, much less to absorb it into their psyche.  Instead they begin to resent and loose respect for you.

That's all well and good as far as hubby is concerned.  The problem comes in when I want to leave them with dad so that I can have a reprieve, but they want nothing to do with him because, "he's mean".  And that's o.k., I leave them anyway, when I really need a break.  However, that makes my homecoming more stressful.  It can also mean dozens of phone calls while I'm away.  I am actively learning how to ignore these calls or turn the phone off. It's a work in progress...just like the rest of my life.

Granted --he works a full-time, very demanding job.  On top of that, he is a perfectionist, work-aholic.  He gives 150% to his job and he doesn't have a whole lot left over for anything else.  I am a full-time mother.  The kids are my job.  I spend my days, reading and researching Aspergers, taking them to therapists, dealing with teachers, school-psychologists and counselors -advocating for them to have their needs met in the educational setting, and trying to figure out the best way to parent them.  NO ONE else does that. Yet, many people want to have a say on how to discipline them.  That would include of course, their father, my mother who now lives with us, and any relative whom they spend time with.

Yesterday hubby had the day off and son had an appointment scheduled with his therapist. Did hubby get up in time to go to said appointment? NO! Why did I want him to attend, so that we could try to get somewhere on the same page when it comes to dealing with him --so that he could perhaps understand why he does some of the things he does to irritate and annoy us.  When I try to tell hubby anything with regards to what I've read or what professionals say, he thinks I'm just being an overprotective, coddling mother.  It couldn't be that I have any expert knowledge based on what I deal with everyday. "When they go out into the real world -nobody's gonna give a shit that they have Aspergers. I'm trying to prepare them for reality." That's a valid thought process.  But does it help us have peace in our house?

Now we have Nana living with us, who is seriously "old school" and bless her heart, she tries to "get it" but she sees some of their behaviors as just plain, rude, obnoxious and annoying.  They are just that on the surface, but their are underlying reasons why some things just are. She wants to protect her child who is being driven to the nut house and guess who's driving.


I love them with everything within me -and even I loose my patience at times.  I am human.  I just find it hard to listen to the advice of those who have not been educated to understand Aspergers. I guess that's another job for me -to try to educate them along with the rest of the world.

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