There is no manual for this kind of parenting. There is no ‘this worked for me.’
In the heat of the moment or the eye of the storm there is only us.
Sam in turmoil, me the same. No matter how many times I think ‘sussed it’ something new comes along to remind me of my place here.
It’s the place I belong, It’s a place where truly I am comfortable being. It’s a place I also wouldn’t swap. By his side.
So I’m a bit raw tonight after a big one just hit and I’m questioning myself. Whether I behaved in the best way for Sam in the moment. I think I did but like I said, there is no manual.
It was bedtime, and you may or may not know bedtime is fraught with anxiety. Once he starts to yawn his anxiety levels go through the roof.
A new one recently is Sam not wanting to turn the light off in the bedroom. The light from the telly was on and the landing light so the room is not in darkness but I see his refusal to turn the light of as a way to stay awake. Saturday night he wouldn’t turn the light off and to keep the noise down for the rest of the house I accepted that. He didn’t go to sleep until gone 3am!!
The brain needs darkness to regulate itself ready for sleep, by removing darkness Sam and his already low levels of melatonin are removing the chance of being overcome by it.
Tonight, however, is a school night for both of them. We’d been in semi darkness chilling ready to nod off when he wanted the light back on. I refused. This led to a battle of wills that I’m sad to say I won by taking out the bulb. I did it because he needs dark to sleep. I needed to assert some authority and control. But I didn’t win. None of us did. Sam got so distressed. So did I. There was no chance of control. Just big time distress. I kept as calm and quiet as I could hoping he would be able to calm himself. I tell you in these moments all I want to do is wrap him up. Hug him out of it, he doesn’t want me to touch him but at the same time doesn’t want me to leave.
His new one tonight while trying to bang his head is to touch my cheek while he tries to hurt himself. This breaks my heart. 💔
He did eventually calm down and fall asleep but now I’m sat here wondering if he’s developed a fear of the dark which I’ve just made worse? This is the guilt talking because I wasn’t able to control the situation before it escalated. I was asserting my authority as his parent. Made me feel pretty shitty. I know Sam needs some discipline from time to time but my god when putting my foot down leads to that; I question myself all over again. There is no off switch in these situations. He needs to go through it. Does that sound cruel? I hope not. I mean he won’t start to calm himself until he’s exhausted everything.
I recently described in another post about only knowing Sams unique version of autism. One of my page friends asked me ‘what do you mean by that?’ To which I replied:
Paraphrasing ‘he is autism and autism is him, his personality is linked to it. Together they are greater than the sum of their parts. One without the other wouldn’t be quite so amazing’
Tonight, I stand by that. Of course I would take his pain away if I could but intrinsically he is the boy I love because of who all of him is.
Me on the other hand, and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this. I must try harder. Ease his pain. Lessen his anxiety. Do everything I can to just try to get it a little quicker next time. I just hope he knows I’m trying.
I won’t give in over the light otherwise he’ll be awake all night every night but I need to think quickly before the repeat performance happens tomorrow night. 💙