February 5, 2011…Stupid Frogs…

We’ve spent a lot of time at Target this past week. When Jakob wants to go shopping, he’s pretty persistent (wonder where he gets that). He’s been on a book kick lately. Now he wants to collect two of each book that he has. Currently, the genre is BrainQuest Workbooks. He just digs them. We sit down and go chapter by chapter, mostly making up our own rules on how the exercises go. Just like everything else Autism…making up our own rules as we go along.

Yesterday at Target, he suckered me into a battery-operated toy. He caught me in a weak moment and he knew it. It’s a little V-Tech number, “ABC Text and Go”. I’m not a fan of anything that takes batteries for a number of reasons. The cost of batteries is one. Another would be the sounds the things make remind me of being in the middle of a really obnoxious casino. But it’s the lack of opportunities for interaction when he has one that is my biggest issue.

At one point, all battery-operated devices were removed from the house. It’s actually something that is recommended when doing a Son Rise Program. It makes complete and total sense and I agree with it whole-heartedly. We want our kids to learn how to relate to and interact with people. WE have to be the most interesting thing in the room if they’re gonna be willing to leave their world of Autism and join us in our world. Nobody can compete with those toys, video games, tv’s, movies or computers. They’ll pick that stuff over us every time. And I can’t blame them. When they’re desperate for control and predictability, they’re way more likely to get that from those things than they are from any of us.

I can build a very solid anti-technology case. And I do believe what I spew. And yet, I have my weak moments. Moments when I don’t have it in me to be the most interesting thing in the room. Moments when I just need a break. Moments when I’m feeling sorry for myself and wishing I could do something or be somewhere else. Moments when I need to do the laundry or make a phone call…

I have to admit, it’s different now than it was three years ago. Back then, Jakob played with these horrible things to the exclusion of everything else. He would be so engrossed in them that the house could be burning down around him and he wouldn’t budge. He would get so involved that he would wet himself because he just couldn’t hold it anymore but was unwilling to stop the game to go to the bathroom. There was no way anyone could talk to him and he would hear them. Now, he hears and understands all I say to him. He’ll stop them to eat, go to the bathroom, take a bath. He’ll let me put them away and they’ll stay put away until late the next day. I guess that could be considered progress.

Just so I’m clear…I hate the stupid things. I’d beat them all to death with a sledgehammer if I could. I daydream about that. Shattered LeapPads…tiny pieces of Tad and Leap and Lily litter the floor. Frog guts all over the walls. That’s what I’m talking about. But it’s just a dream. Dammit.

Admittedly, this has been a tough one for me and I’m more than a little conflicted about it. I know that if I get rid of them, I need to be really comfortable about it and comfortable with any reaction that Jakob may have to them being gone. He will know if I’m unsure and he will use it against me. He will poke and prod and use any and all means at his disposal to get me to cave. And I will be in total hell the entire time. And I know, even if I can hold out for awhile, that if I’m unsure, I will eventually cave. And if it takes 3 days to cave, then I’ve just taught him that if he wants something, all he has to do is go nuts on me for three days and he’ll get it. Not a good precedent to set.

And Jakob can sense my desire to destroy these devices with great fanfare and violence. It bubbles within me so strongly and passionately that it has to thrill him greatly that he can stir that reaction in me so easily…by just turning on the power. Talk about control and predictability; he has a double whammy with these suckers.

So all I need to do is get comfortable with it, right? One way or another…comfortable with taking them away or comfortable with him having them. Ha. That’s been my growth opportunity recently. An opportunity I have yet to embrace. I’m doing everything in my power to avoid it. I’m coming up with excuse after excuse after excuse. I’m really good at rationalizing too (go back 4 paragraphs in case you didn’t catch that). So what’s the deal?

I don’t know. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m the only one who can know because I’m the only one living my life. Whatever it is, I don’t want to face it right now. I just don’t.

I know a big part of it is I can’t decide which side to choose. When he has them, I wish he didn’t and when he doesn’t have them, I long for the break they give me. I’m torn.

I’ve got myself all worked up just putting it all into words. Frickin’ Leap, Tad and Lily are giving me angina. For the love…

Here comes the rapid-fire inner dialogue. Make peace with it. Make peace with it. Just (bleeping) make peace with it. Make peace with where I am. Make peace with where we are. Ok…

I’m avoiding making a decision which is actually a decision…yay! I’m conflicted…that’s great! I’m torn…awesome! I’m outa my flippin’ mind on this one…wonderful!!!

This too shall pass. All is well. We’re right where we’re supposed to be. Go back 10 paragraphs and re-read some brilliantly thought-through rationalizations. We’re doing the best that we can. We’ll make changes when we decide we’re ready. The stupid things will die on their own someday…soon, hopefully. He’s happy. I can do laundry and write journal entries. I have time to read a little vampire porn here and there. We’re doing great in so many ways. He’s talking. He’s connecting. He’s affectionate. He’s interactive. He digs me and wants me around. He understands everything being said to him. He’s grasping concepts. He’s damn cute. He’s so much fun. He has a sense of humor. He’s doing new things every day. He’s becoming more. We both are. Yeah (big sigh), we’re doing great.

Those frogs and Duracell can’t take that away from us.

I feel much better now. Blood pressure is back to normal and the chest pains have subsided.

I do have one lingering question though…does Target sell sledgehammers?

Just kidding…