Mommy Guilt a la Autism

Up until Nathaniel was 2 & a half, I had my work hours set up so that I was home with him in the morning through about 12:30 p.m. each day. I worked from about 1 to 5 at the office & then at home for a few hours after he went to bed. I was tired from being up late working & up early with him, but I got to be there with him. I was active with his Early Intervention therapy. I took him for ABA once per week & he eventually had daycare two days per week for socialization. I knew his teachers at daycare, as he only had 2 at a time & they often were still around when he’d go to the next group, to help out. I felt like I knew what was going on in his life, even though sometimes his emotions & behavior could be mysterious.

Then things changed & I had to work traditional hours. But during all this time that I was at the office, Daddy was home, as he had been temporarily laid off as part of the restructuring at the office. So even after preschool started in February & daycare for two afternoons starting in April, with Daddy home, Nathaniel still had plenty of fun time, down time & nap time at home.

But the summer busy season at work came & Eric was needed back at the office. After that happened, Nathaniel’s weeks have been slightly varying, going between full days at daycare, a full day with Grandma & Grandpa & now 4 half-days per week of summer school, a mix of daycare time & Grandma & Grandpa time. His speech therapist also changed offices, as did her hours, so now he’s also having therapy one afternoon per week, with Grandma & Grandpa taking him – instead of me taking him on Saturday mornings & being a part of the therapy session.

Nathaniel is tired at night. He’s not napping during the week anymore. He needs nap time to be strictly sleep time – just soft wordless music (like they had at his old daycare, pre pre-school) or ocean sound type stuff (like he has at home). He’s not a kid to sleep with voices or lights. It’s different at his current daycare, as they have older kids who don’t nap. He can’t settle down enough at the grandparents’ to nap & having therapy in the afternoons doesn’t help. He’s busy. He’s active. He’s probably frequently over-stimulated.

Today is day 3 of summer school. Today was his day of school/grandparents/therapy/grandparents (briefly) & then me picking him up. ┬áHe was a testy mess when I arrived to pick him up. Within about 5 or 10 minutes of me arriving, he was randomly hitting, headbutting & wordlessly screaming/shrieking, crying & fighting against getting in the car. He even spit out his piece of chocolate treat that the grandparents gave him, in an attempt to cheer him up. Once home, he added slamming & throwing things & wanting to be picked up & held. He refused to take a bath – and he needed one. Baths have become our nemesis on weeknights – he starts whining about not liking his bath almost as soon as I pick him up & then goes into full out tantrums when it’s really time & acts as if I’m submitting him to medieval torture when I wash & rinse his hair or god forbid, clean around his neck, face & ears. Tonight, he was such a miserable kid that I couldn’t do it. He needed a break. Eventually, I think once assured that he didn’t have to have a bath, he settled down enough to quietly eat a half of a slice of toast & a fruit pouch. He then took about 20 minutes to poop (exiling me to the kitchen the whole time – he needs his privacy). So add that he was probably constipated to the definitely over-tired. After that release, he was all good. Downright content, just tired.

And tomorrow, it’s back to another day of summer school, followed by daycare. And he won’t nap. He’ll barely eat, since he has never eaten well in a school or daycare setting. And he’ll need a bath & I’ll just have to suck it up & make him suffer so that he’s clean.

I feel like he’s having to do too much for a little 3-year-old child. A little 3-year-old child who doesn’t eat a whole lot & needs a nap that he’s not getting. I wish I could be home with him. I wish I had another solution. If things don’t improve on Wednesdays, I’ll have to make a decision about his speech therapy, because it might just be too much on a weekday. And I want to be there. I hate not being there. I don’t know his summer school teacher or aides. I barely know his school therapists. I don’t even know the names of the people at his daycare, quite honestly. I’m terrible with names & barely seeing these people does not help.

I’m not really asking for a solution. I’m mainly just whining. I just want to be home with my son. I don’t want him upset & being so clingy to me when I am around, because he doesn’t see me until 5pm some days & even if he does wake up early in the morning before I leave, I don’t really get to spend quality time with him. It just sucks.

Sigh. Whine over. I think I need some real wine now.