Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Sigh and Shrug

Conor had a burst at school today.  (For you newbies, a burst is autism-speak for a raging tantrum. It makes me think of fireworks, which is an apt metaphor.)

Usually, when I get these phone calls, I do one of three things.

Burst into tears and sob uncontrollably.

Sigh, shrug my shoulders and say to myself "what-ever". 
(La-la-la-la, not listening.)

Hold my head while simultaneously repeating my mantra to myself. 
“I can’t believe this is my life.  I can’t believe this is my life. I can’t believe this is my life.” At this point, I also consider starting a really mean heroin habit.

Today was one of those “sigh and shrug” days, most likely because it’s been 25 days since his last tantrum.  (That, and I just finished my period, which means I’m emotionally stable.  For about the next two weeks. LOVE peri-menopause, NOT.  Sorry manly readers.)

Oh, we’ve had major upsets, but he’s been able to hold himself together for a long-ish period of time.

When the school called this afternoon, our case manager filled me in on the details.  It lasted about 30-35 minutes, he didn’t wet his pants this time, and it seemed less severe than usual but he still had to be in the counseling room.  They didn’t know the antecedent (autism-speak for the cause of the behavior), but he did know it started with Conor throwing his lunch box at his 1:1 aid in the gym.

Why you would throw anything at a 6’4” former college basketball player from Baltimore’s East Side that can palm your entire head in one hand is beyond me. But Conor’s not rational about these things.

Typically, we don’t talk with Conor about these things.  It’s best to move on, and not give him undue attention for the bad behavior. Good behavior, sure, we whoop and holler and high-five for that, but not the bad.

I couldn’t help myself, though.  Conor’s not the only one that has trouble following the rules, I guess.

“What made you so upset today, Conor?” I asked him, twisting around in the front seat to look at him when I stopped at a red light. I had picked him up at school.  “Why did you have a tantrum?”

“Conor didn’t want to wait for the basketball,” he replied, looking at me.  “Want Darren to not play basketball.” It’s amazing how good his eye contact can be, when he wants it to.

“You have to learn to share and be patient, Conor,” I said. “You just have to.”

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