There are lots of times when even I doubt The Boy's diagnosis. His cerebral palsy is easy... it's there for all to see, in his strange gait, the way he sits, his tiredness. His autism? So often he seems so far away from that classic definition we all know that I start to doubt it myself. And then I feel guilty, like I'm almost doubting his very existence.
This has all come about because we had a shit morning before school. The Boy kicked off. Big time. He was ignoring me telling him it was time to go, so I turned the TV off. And I know I should have pre-warned him it would happen, I know I should have dealt with it better and followed our routine and timetable. But sometimes... sometimes, you just want your ten year old to do what you say.
He flipped out. The red mist descended and the voice went up an octave into that territory we always try so hard to avoid. Then the outburst began:
THE BOY: Aaaaagh! What did you do that for? Rude man. What a rude man, turning the television off on your son. Rude. So rude. Ungrateful. That's what you are. Ungrateful. Treating your son like that. So mean. Mean man. I wish you were dead. I wish you were dead forever. I want you to walk along the edge of a big cliff and die. Then I'll laugh. Oh yeah, you know what? I'm glad your dad's dead. There. Said it. What are you going to do about it? Do you want me to try and smash this? Do you? Stop ignoring me. Rude man. Ignoring your son. How rude. Are you deaf or something? Got stupid ears?
DAD laughs at this last bit to try and ease the tension. And regrets it instantly.
THE BOY: Laughing at your son now? Laughing at me? STOP LAUGHING AT ME. How rude. So ungrateful. If I have to keep screaming at you I'll get a sore throat and then I can't speak anymore and I'll have to hit you. Would you like that? Would you? I'm going to hit you. Then you can hit me and leave a mark like happened on Tracey Beaker and then you'll go to prison forever and when you do I'm going to come and laugh at you all day. I HATE YOU. Come on, hit me. Wimp. Come on, punch me. Won't even hit me. Wimp. Oh no, you can't, you're a wimp. I forgot...
And so this goes on. And on. Twenty five minutes of it. And I know I should have walked away or done something different. I've read untold books about strategies, visual timetables and social stories. And people offering advice. Sometimes though, I just want a "normal" son. Yeh, normal. I said it. N-O-R-M-A-L. The word that we're not allowed to use. And I instantly regret typing it now it's out there, but if the blog or the show are to mean anything then they have to come from a place of truth. And the truth is, today I want a normal son. Whatever that might be.
Sticks and stones, eh...
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.