Back during the fall, when the weather was still pretty warm, I took Korban on a trip to Lowe's. He loves going to Lowe's, so much so that I was using it as a reinforcer. He didn't want to go to his therapy session that day, and I told him that if he did his therapy, we would go to Lowe's afterwards. So he fulfilled his obligation, and I fulfilled mine. I had been needing to go to Lowe's to buy sand for their sand box. Korban got one of those adorable Little Tikes turtle sandboxes from his uncle and aunt on his first birthday and he has always liked it, but it was out of sand. Sand is a great sensory item, and I figured it would keep the kids busy and happy. So off we went in search of sand. I figured it would be outside, in the garden section. We went up and down every aisle and saw all sorts of cool stuff but no play sand. There was a Lowe's employee out there, and she asked if we needed help finding something. I explained to her what I was looking for and she told me it was actually in the lumber section of the store. As I was walking away, she called after me and told me to be sure and have some of the store associates load it in my vehicle for me. This was a nice offer, but I sort of panicked. How big ARE these bags of sand? I wondered. And more importantly, how much are they going to cost? We arrived in the lumber section, and I located the bags of sand and immediately breathed a sigh of relief. They weren't that large, and only cost a little over $3.00. "I'll get two bags!" I thought happily. Now Korban is a good little shopping buddy most of the time. He won't fit in the front part of the buggy anymore, but he is happy to sit "cris-cross applesauce" in the basket of the buggy. I hefted the first bag of sand and thought it wasn't that heavy. I didn't want to squish Korban with it, so I decided to put it in the front part of the buggy. It fit with no problem, and I added the second bag. I don't look like much, but I'm freakishly strong for my size. Probably due to all the kid-wrangling I do. My kids are saving me a gym membership. I even sort of smirked about this in my head that day. I thought "Heh, they just don't know what I go through with Korban every day or they would know I don't need help. I could throw a bag of this sand over each shoulder and run a couple of laps around this store!" I seriously did think that. And then I went and paid for the sand, smug smile still in place, and headed out to load it in my van all on my own, thankyouverymuch. I unlocked the doors, and then decided to reach in and crank it to let it cool off a little while I got everything loaded. I sat my purse down, stuck the key in the ignition and then looked over my shoulder to see my buggy (with my son and those blessed bags of sand) rolling rapidly away across the parking lot. As it turns out, loading heavy objects into the front part of the buggy makes it somewhat inclined to ROLL AWAY when you are on a downward slope. Korban, bless his heart, was still sitting cross-legged in the buggy, all mellow. He seriously looked like a mini yoga master. I sprinted after the buggy, catching it and digging my heels in to bring it to a screeching halt approximately one centimeter away from the bumper of another vehicle. I quickly glanced around the parking lot to see if anyone was rolling on the ground laughing and/or phoning the Department of Human Services. Not seeing anyone, I meekly rolled the buggy back to my van and safely loaded up my child and our sand.
When I relayed that story to Brad that night, he laughed with me, but he also pointed out that I never think I need help. He said if I had just gotten help loading it like the lady offered, that never would've been an issue. And he's right. But I totally thought I had it. I don't like asking for help. I don't think it's really a pride thing, it's just I don't want to bother people. Especially when I think I can do it myself. But we weren't meant to do it all alone.
That's just a funny little example, but it applies to the bigger picture too. I haven't updated in a while: Korban is doing pretty well. We had a great time over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Things have leveled out mostly with his agression, although anxiety continues to be a major issue. We had a meeting at his school before Christmas break and decided to do a partial homebound program. His teachers come to the home several days a week to work with him here, in his own environment, and the other days of the week he goes to school for a little while, and I go with him. This is temporary, just to try to calm him down and ease him into a routine. It has been going well. Over Christmas break his school fixed up a room for him to calm down in as needed, and also to complete his task boxes in. (The task boxes are from the TEACCH method, if you aren't familiar with that term. They are awesome! It's hands-on stuff and Korban does well with it. Oh, and Selah loves them too. She asks me every day if Korban's teacher is coming to see us and if they are bringing their "fun boxes" so I guess they work pretty well for neurotypical kids too!)
Yesterday was the first time we had been to the school to see the new room. It's even decorated to his specific interests. The door has an Ole Miss theme! How cool is that? So we walked in yesterday and Korban looked around, taking it all in. "This room," he said slowly "is nifty." What a great sentence! I couldn't believe he said that, with no prompting at all. I was so proud. They showed him his picture schedule so he could see which boxes he was going to do. He did a couple of them, and then he had been asking to see a little boy from his classroom, so the assistant went and got him. He and Korban drew on the white board together. Korban drew a picture of me. I either had five legs, or five hairs on my chin, not really sure which, but I thought it was fantastic. And then Korban started asking for pipe cleaners. One of the task boxes has pipe cleaners, and he really likes them. I told him we were finished with that box, and he could play with his pipe cleaners at home. Before I could see it coming or have time to react, he hit and scratched me right in the face, around my left eye. It was hard. I literally had blood running down my face and it sort of dislodged my contact so my vision was blurry for a few seconds. I blinked the contact back into place and my eye was watering. Korban asked me, worriedly, if I was crying, and I told him no. Emotions really freak him out, and I'm well practiced with the poker face. But then the next thing I knew I WAS crying. And I could.not.STOP! All this in front of my child, another child, and two professionals. So Korban started freaking out and his teacher walked him around in the halls to calm him while I locked myself in the bathroom to have my mommy meltdown. But no, really, I got this. Except for when I don't. And yesterday, I didn't. I guess what I'm saying is, it's normal not to have it all together. Nobody really does. And I don't want to be fake and act like I do, even though it's really hard for me sometimes. Autism is hard. Life is hard! But it's still good. Meltdowns are gonna happen. For the kiddos, and apparently, sometimes for the mamas as well. His teachers were so kind about it and very helpful. I think I sort of surprised myself more than anybody. It's okay to be upset sometimes. Like when you think everything is going beautifully and the next thing you know, there's blood running down your face. As a friend kindly pointed out to me today, we are all human. And these things happen to more people than just me. I just felt like a complete failure as a mom. Like if I just had my act together at all, my child would not be having these problems. But that's not how it works, and it's not healthy to think that. I know that, and I still battle it. It's much easier to tell somebody else this than to do it myself. But I'm learning--sometimes I don't have this--and I guess maybe that's okay too.