Monday, August 20, 2012

Don't worry, she'll be fine.

Don't worry, she'll be fine.  That's what everyone told me.  So here's what fine looks like in autism world:

Let's start with bedtime...that's part of getting up.
6:30pm - Ava should have been doing her kitchen chore, to be able to take a bath & start the bedtime routine.
7pm - the kitchen chore was started
7:30 - bath time
8 - meltdown over what to wear the next day.  She was wanting to wear a halter dress (not just against school dress code, but against the Mom & Dad school code too)
8:30 - read a story to baby sister as Ava listened in
8:45 - Ava has another meltdown, insisting I read her the same story I'd just read
9pm - Ava comes downstairs asking for playtime
9:30 - once she laid down, she fell right to sleep
Slept all night
6:30am - started trying wake her up, she moans at me
Continue the process every 5 minutes until she bounces out of bed at 7am screaming "Where is my dress??!!  I TOLD you not to wash my dress.  I don't want my dress washed."  And melts in to a screaming puddle of tears.
The dress fight continues until 7:40 when she finally agreed to let me iron her dress.  (She insisted it was wrinkled)  Just before, she must have eaten her toast...I can't remember now.  The bow never got fully pressed - how do you press a bow that's been stitched down?  I did my best!
8:08 - Ava starts brushing her hair in a frantic rush to get out the door so she can walk.
8:25 - Some how the dress & shoes are on - we're too late to walk.  We take Ava's picture & she gets into the car willingly, forgetting about walking.
8:32 - we walk into the classroom & everything is normal

Then it starts all over again....
11:25 - I peek into the classroom, but can't see Ava.
11:30 - Ava is released to go home, the teacher says she had a great time.

11:31 - We exit the school and enter the first afternoon meltdown.  Ava is whining about a lost money.  I keep telling her I don't see it, you can't take money to school because this is what happens.

11:40 - we're still in the lawn trying to coax Ava into the car.  Big sister heads back in to use the bathroom.
11:50 - I'm tired of this game & try to pick Ava up to carry her to the car.  This, of course, brings on a full meltdown.  Every parent is staring at us (there weren't many).  Ava is forced into her seat & we used the safety cover on her buckle.  She immediately starts trying to get out of her seat.  Half a block later, she's out.  I pull into another one of the school's lots.  By the time I'm out of the car, she has BOLTED!

Imagine this on a sidewalk, without the smiles.

  There is my beautiful girl, running away from me.  Down a busy street.  I ran faster than I've ever run before (I'm NOT a runner), praying all the way.  It took about 50 feet, but I caught her & took her back to the car.  I hit the child safety lock on the door & struggle to get her back into her seat.  We continue home.  No more than 2 blocks later, she's out again.  This time, she's out for blood.  She is hitting me with her fist, with all her strength, while I am driving.  I just keep going.  She's a danger to everyone at this point, but we live 4 blocks from school and I just want to be home.
12:02 - we pull into the driveway.  I go inside to get her a water bottle (she threw her's at me & screamed) and an ice pack.  I go back outside to find she's locked all the car doors.  Windows are down, so I reach in and unlock.  She is then calmly (between sobs) tell me more about the money.  I still don't get it.  I still didn't see the money she'd dropped.  But I apologize, and we head inside as if nothing had happened.

Its now 2pm.  We've had 3 more meltdowns since then, over minor issues like a sister stealing a favorite blanket, or someone looking at her.  We'll have nap time in just a few minutes, but first I needed to vent.

Don't worry about us though.  Things are fine, remember?



  1. Exhausted and frustrated with love in your heart and worry on your mind. Yes, you are doing it right. It is just how Autism looks "behind closed doors". You hear "but she looks so normal"... So I have to say this is what FINE and NORMAL look in your family.I am sorry. Not that Ava has Autism but that people don't understand that she will be "fine" is something typical developing children grow out of. Autism is a full time job with skills that have to be 3 or more steps ahead of your child. I know that you are working hard to help Ava and one day (not soon enough) "she will be fine". You are a wonderful mommy <3

  2. Oh Melissa my mommy heart cries out for you! I remember how you would listen to me and pray with me when i was going through this with Chey, please know I am praying for you and will gladly listen to you about anything.

  3. I'm gonna be honest and tell you that this is the first entry of your's that I've read. And I want to tell you that I'm praying for you and your family, and for all of those that don't understand what you're struggling with. My nephew has Autism, and while I don't know everything about it, I know that it can definitely be frustrating.. My nephew is 8 years old, diagnosed at (I believe) age 3, and he doesn't speak. He's barely starting to parrot things he hears. I can't tell you that it will get easier, but I can tell you that you have a beautiful healthy daughter who is lucky to have such a wonderfully loving mother. :) Just keep breathing.

  4. I am so sorry I told you she will do great- happy thoughts! I really don't know what it is like for you behind close doors but I do know what it is like to work with children with autism, its such a unique disorder its hard to say how things will go. But take each good moment & praise God for it & ask for more like it- give your day to him, all day and each hard moment! My Mommy heart is pretty new but this breaks my heart knowing you had a hard day & knowing this isn't the first or the last hard day either. Hugs!!!

  5. Oh! You're all just so sweet! I just really want people to see what its like to live with Autism. And that it doesn't look the same between kids. I can't believe how much better I'm handling this now, compared to a year ago. The previous post really is true. She really is improving. We just had a hard day. But honestly, my easy days are still harder than most people realize.