I think parenting a child with Autism might just be my fast track to Sainthood. Well, you know, if I also went to church more often, and was super Holy. Because I'm pretty sure parenting a child with Autism is about 10 times as frustrating as parenting a neuro-typical child. At least sometimes.
Don't get me wrong. Parenting NT children can be frustrating, too. There's only so much bickering I can take before a good dose of caffeine in the morning. But there's something special about the frustration I have with my Autistics.
For Reagan, there is the inability to see outside of himself. It's a sort of mind-blindness. If he perceives something a certain way (like if he thinks he hasn't been on the computer all day) then he can not be persuaded that his perception isn't accurate. So, if I see an issue that I think he needs to work on, I first have to convince him of it, which is a chore and a half before even getting to the problem.
For Ciaran, at the moment, I have a level of determination that has been unrivaled by my other kids. Ciaran has learned to open every gate, and open every door. No matter what kind of child (or adult) proof knob cover or lock we put on, he can figure it out. It's making me a little testy. Being able to get anywhere in the house is a risk, since he's so unaware of safety needs. With his poor communication skills, I can't explain things well to him. Don't get me wrong. I try, and I show, and I sing, and I dance. But there are things he just plain doesn't get. So he does it over and over and over. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
If I didn't believe what I do about parenting, I think I could go round-the-bend over the parts of Autism that are hard to live with. Honestly, if we hadn't decided a long time ago to stop spanking, I think I would have done serious harm. At the very least I would have damaged the relationship I have with the boys. With the parenting path we've taken, they trust me. They know I'm on their side, and they let me in. From the inside, I can sometimes lead them out.
While Autism can push me far enough to consider calling the circus to see if they'd like six little adorable children for their adorable children act, I wouldn't trade them for anything. Still, sometimes it's helpful just to admit that there are things I don't like. Admit that I'm frustrated and overwhelmed. Admit that I wish things were different, that Reagan could see things from my perspective, that Ciaran could have a conversation with me, that they wouldn't have to struggle. I think it helps keep me from going completely loopy. Once I get the frustration out somewhere (you know, like a handy-dandy blog) I can let it go and get back to the most important thing: my kids.