I have been thinking. Thinking about Little Prince and how I parent him differently than my three older girls.
You see I believe in taking into account intentions when I speak to my kids. So they don’t get into trouble for things they didn’t mean to do and I like to use humour to diffuse situations when I can. To me, this makes our home a relaxed and happy place to be.
So with Little Prince, this means that I let him away with things, I wouldn’t have let the girls get away with. For example, he is almost three years old and when I change his diaper, it is like a circus act. Arms and legs are going in 8 directions at once. As Prince Charming says, “It is like trying to wrestle an octopus.” When the girls were this age, they knew better. I would have rebuked them and told them to be still while I changed them. But, due to his autism, I really believe his crazy antics aren’t on purpose. When he kicks me in the head while I am changing him, it isn’t on purpose. My head just happened to get in the way of where he was planning to fling his foot next. I just try to learn to bob and weave, control one body part at a time, and duck out of the way of flying feet.
The other day, I got him up as usual. I changed him as usual, successfully ducking flailing limbs and stood him up to put him in his high chair for his snack and I realized that I hadn’t moved the chair over to where I was as I usually do. So that is where I strayed from our usual schedule, I put him in daddy’s arms for a minute and went to get his chair. He flipped out. He was shaking, crying, flailing to get back to my arms. It wasn’t being daddy’s arms, it was that this is not how we do it. This is not the time that he goes to daddy’s arms, daddy’s arms are where he goes when he gets carried to his room or when it is time to get tickled. This is the time he goes to his chair and he seemed actually scared by the change.
So, I got his chair and brought it over but before I could put him in it, I had to calm him down, I had to snuggle him, reassuring him that it was going to be okay. When the shaking stopped and he calmed down, I put him in his chair and he settled down with his snack. I wasn’t mad, or upset with him. I know he was simply upset by the change and it isn’t his fault. My only thought was that I wanted to make it better for him. If the girls had flipped out over something so simple, I would have spoken to them. I would have told them it would only be a minute and I probably would have joked with them that being upset over something so little is silly.
It is different with him, I always try to be a pretty understanding mama, because of his autism, I cut him even more slack. I don’t get frustrated or upset when he gets overwhelmed, throws a tantrum, or cries for no apparent reason. I snuggle, I reassure, I don’t always know how to fix it, but I always try to fix it for him with love and a little extra understanding. I am overwhelmingly in love with my little boy and my only wish is to make his world a little easier for him to deal with.