Jumping Autism

I took the little boy to Pump-It-Up again today.  Bless those people for adjusting their pop-in play times to coincide with the district’s scheduled vacation days.  My kid needs to jump!  And today, with that non-stop, windy rain outside?  Even more so.  Jump, jump, jumpity jump!

I brought my book and a thin pillow to put between my rear and the VERY uncomfortable benches in the jumpy room.  I got through a couple of chapters, but mostly I was distracted by my kid and his inability to judge social situations and the reactions of other children.

In the large round jousting jump, he grabbed up a giant puffy baton and whacked a little girl over the head.  She cried and got freaked out by the whole thing.  I didn’t see this happen and was embarrassed to get the account of it from her very nice dad.  Apparently, my kid rendered his kid incapable of further jumpy joy.  He held her on his shoulder for the remainder of the time we were there.  I tried to avoid them and keep a smile on my face, but it was difficult.

A few minutes later, my son crouched on the floor behind a lady holding a baby.  She was watching her older child climb the ladder up the big slide jump.  She didn’t know my son was planning to crawl between her legs.  Luckily, I knew it and stopped him short with a sharp reprimand, but I couldn’t keep the lady from whirling around with a quizzical look on her face.  She heard my barking “no, no, no!” so I had to explain.

“He was going to crawl between your legs,” I gushed.  “He has been doing that to everyone lately.  We’re trying to get him to stop.  He’s autistic and doesn’t understand social and physical boundaries.  I’m sorry!”

Too much.  I said too much.  The woman just looked at me like I was the one who didn’t understand physical and social boundaries.  Probably, I don’t.

There was another autistic boy there with his family today – mom, dad, a baby brother and an older brother.  His mom was very nice.  We chatted for a few minutes before their youngest hit his limit and they had to leave.  Her autistic son is just starting his long relationship with the school district and they are hoping he can move to our school sometime soon.  I will cross my fingers for them.

While that mom and I were busy chatting, my son climbed into the boxing jumpy.  When I peeked around the corner to check on him, he had one of the giant boxing gloves in his hands and was hitting another boy.  The other boy was sitting on the floor of the jumpy, crying in fear and defeat, his arm raised defensively.  His parents were trying to coax him out.

My son had no recognition of the boy’s tears and fears.  He only continued to bop the boy because it sounded funny.  I barked another “no, no, no” and ordered my son out.  I took him aside, I pointed to the crying child and explained that he had done that and needed to say he was sorry.  He understood, but his “I sorry” was too quiet for anyone but me to hear.

The last few minutes were calm enough and my little boy had a very good time, but I got melancholy sitting there.  My son is big now – eight years old and he’s strong and tall – so other parents are worried for their kids around him.  And sometimes the kids are afraid.  It makes me teary.  Psychologically, socially, emotionally, my son is just as much a baby as the four-year-olds around him.  He needs protection and guidance just like they do, perhaps more so.

The autistic boy’s mom mentioned a support group to me.  I haven’t really ever been interested in that, but I took her number anyway.  She was sweet and I liked her, so that is reason enough to consider it.  I know how it is to be that person – the one who finds something good in this difficult journey and wants only to share it with other moms.  I will think about it.  If I don’t decide to call, it will only be because my network of sympathetic mommies is already strong.

Before we left, I took the boy into the Pump-It-Up restroom.  When we emerged from the stall to wash our hands, I saw myself in a mirror for the first time since we’d left our dimly lit house three hours before.  I looked like a drenched rat – pale, unhealthy, red-eye tired, and badly in need of a haircut.

I slept horribly last night.  I’ve eaten really crappy food in the past two days, forgotten to take my vitamins and I haven’t exercised in a week.  No wonder I’m prone to melancholia.  I’m not taking care of myself!  😐

Such an easy fix though.  🙂  Just gotta get back on track!

Not much else to report.

Happy Wednesday!


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