I said I would share how this journey has been for our household and I’m finally finding the time to sit down and share with you all about it.
My Benjamin was born with a perfect pink little body. Three pushes and out he came. I was forty when I had him and stayed healthy. My doctor had me walking a strict line that when I told him I ate a cookie, he scolded me and made me blush.
Benjamin was beautiful. I counted his fingers and toes and listened to him breath…perfect. I was tired after giving birth and when he cried I did get frustrated at times…going on very little sleep; it takes its toll on the mind and bring you to a delirious state of exhaustion. Nevertheless, I was determined to be a better mom; especially since he was my last baby for this lifetime.
Crawling, walking— all came fine. I never noticed anything wrong. It wasn’t until he was two years old and he began trying to speak. He began making loud noises and then full out screaming. He’d scream and scream for no reason— it seemed to me. At first I didn’t know how to respond. I thought it was just as all toddlers begin to do but his was just louder.
At three I noticed more of a defiance character and I thought I should be quick to correct it. Putting him in time out was challenging and often drove my blood pressure through the roof. People were telling me I needed to spank him and for one who believed in no spanking, I finally caved in and I spanked him… only to have him scream louder and get more frustrated. It was a nightmare.
We couldn’t go anywhere…restaurants, malls, visiting friends, etc. We had our house in TX but moved to San Diego and were staying with my parents for a while. But when we bought a fifth wheel and parked it in my parents’ driveway, we just moved in it so that his screams wouldn’t torment everybody else inside the house.
My son Everett, my middle child, had won a prestigious award in fifth grade…only very few got this award and only one in his grade level. It was a president’s award and I missed the ceremony. My Benjamin threw a fit just as I was trying to get him ready. It was a tantrum full of loud screams and kicks. All I could do to keep myself from beating him out of frustration was to let my knees hit the floor and sob. I had so many pity parties for myself during that time.
People couldn’t believe I missed the ceremony and when I’d explain about my Benjamin, they looked at me in disbelief. Parties, birthdays, events, we could never go. I lost friends and soon people stopped inviting us. In a way it was a relief because it was stressful to always say no as well.
I’m giving a fast version of the events ofcourse, since I’m not planning on writing a book about it…at least not yet. But it wasn’t until one day, when I had just had it. I was tired of being unhappy and not knowing how to show my son any love. I had always been a fun mom with my other two boys and I felt like a failure here with my very last one. My face dragged to the floor, my hair was beginning to turn white, I gained so much weight from being depressed and not going anywhere public anymore. My blood pressure was bad and I woke up with my eyes blood shot on several days. I began praying for answers and I wasn’t getting any. My husband worked and when he got home he wanted no responsibility whatsoever with the boys, especially none with Benjamin. My marriage was deteriorating…I was full of resentment. Pity party.
Why was I doing this all alone? Why was I failing at the one thing I wanted to succeed in the most in life?
All the psychology I knew was out the window. All the Child psychology, Child Development courses I had taken meant nothing because I had no CONTROL of my son.
I collapsed on the step of my fifth wheel, inside by the bedroom. I cried and cried and buried my face in my hands and cried—exhausted.
“I’m trying Benjamin…I’m really trying…”
Just then, I looked up and I see Benjamin walking towards me, he’s stopped crying too and is no longer screaming. He touched my face and wiped a tear away…with so much tenderness, so much empathy. How could this three year old possibly understand me? I looked in his eyes…I mean deep in his core…as if he was allowing me to do so…he could not talk…all he could do was make noise and in his stare I saw what he told me.
“You are too…huh? Benjamin?…you are also trying— huh?”
Instantly, our worlds changed from that day forward. I don’t know how it was possible but we understood each other. It was as if we were lifted in a space bubble, both sharing this moment and in it, God gave us the opportunity to find comprehension. Autistic son with his mother and Crazed mother with her son.
Once I comprehended that he was trying…a lot harder than I was…my approach changed. I mean, after all, he had only been in this earth for three years and I had been here for forty three now and still feeling sorry for myself? I realized I was his mother for a reason and I brought him here so that I would just love him. I was the one who had to adapt.
We chose to choose our battles from now on. I opted to having more kisses and hugs and fun and tell him how much I loved him than getting angry because he won’t get his shoes on…or because he doesn’t want to wear a jacket. We began to compromise and I started trusting him more with things and letting him have responsibilities.
It’s been great. I try to get him to sleep early so he can be feeling good in the morning. Before he goes to bed I kiss him and tell him I love him. I smile often and model behavior. If I tell him not to scream, I can’t be loosing my temper either. If I’m upset at something, I tell myself to count to ten and breathe in and out and say, “Calm down Emma…breathe.” I know he’s watching. Seldom do I give him a time out anymore but if I do and if he cries and throws a fit, I tell him he’s off time out when he is calm and stops screaming. As soon as I hear he has stopped and is calm, I call him over and with a stern voice, I tell him I didn’t like the behavior but that I love him and then, with a stern/sweet voice (I’ve mastered it), I tell him to give me a hug and I kiss him and tell him I love him. It make his day and mine and we are all good again.
It’s been working out for us. If he thinks I’m upset at him, he quickly searches my eyes and I make sure I communicate love for I know that is how he sees me, through my eyes.
I love my Benjamin so much. I love him for who he is and what he’s come to teach me. My life is so much more free. I don’t care if friends are gone right now, they’ll just have to understand. He’s my priority and I am so grateful. I even stopped working just to share these moments with my son. I was scared that he’d be off to school and I wouldn’t know him but now I know him and we have bonded like no one would have ever imagined.
Benjamin is now in a Special Ed class-prek and is doing fabulous. He goes part time, leaving me a few hours to continue with my writing and my blog. When the bus picks him up, he loves going in the bus and thinks he’s such a big boy. My mom, my dad, my eldest and myself walk out to the front of the house and excitedly wave him off and send him with blessings. He is always in a good mood for school. When he returns, my mom, my dad, his father and his middle brother, we all stand outside to greet him and ask him about his day even if he doesn’t answer. He comes home happy and hungry for dinner.
Sometimes he doesn’t like what I’ve set up in the dinner table for him to eat and he’ll push the plate away. We’re working on what to do when that happens. Also, his vocabulary has expanded and he doesn’t scream like before.
Well, this is us in a nutshell. I wouldn’t advise anybody anything because I know every child is different. All I can say is that we found something that works for us and we’re loving life. ❤ He’s got so much love at home that I don’t care who is ok with him or not. He’s got his family who accepts him and supports him and we’re all working together now to make his existence a spectacular one.
Tomorrow we are traveling eight hours to go to a friend’s baby shower. There will be many other kids there too. I think he’s going to do great but we’ll see. Either way, I’ve got a Plan B and Plan C. LOL. I’ll post on here about our trip on Monday, hopefully. Stop by and see how our weekend went! =)
LOVE BIG OR GO HOME! XOXOXO