Gabriel (my step-son) has kindly chosen the one night his father (my ex) is spending at his boyfriend's house to get what I suspect is an ear infection. Well, to be fair, he has been fighting flu-like symptoms for a week but he slept quite well last night so we thought he was recovering. Anyway, I'm glad Giovanni (Gabriel's dad/my ex) is away as Gabriel's behaviour has been so batshit fucking crazy tonight. I'm hoping he reserves this crap just for me but I've seen Giovanni become a complete nervous wreck over the past year and i can only assume that that is a direct result of Gabriel's "bad days" where if you even MOVE, or dare speak, it's either screaming or sobbing in a complete meltdown. Poor Gabriel.
He was building this tower of blocks and I reluctantly was sitting with him while dinner boiled over on the stove. He was on edge because his towers kept falling down. Dinner was getting out of control, but so was he, and his tower was unbalanced and he was about to recklessly slam another block on top. By reflex I went to hold the tower still because I knew he wasn't tolerating sounds or words so i couldn't remind him to be careful/gentle. My movement, or my touching his tower, made him scream in angry protest so in frustration I just got up and went to the kitchen. Then his tower wobbled and collapsed, and he screamed like death and screamed again because i wasn't rushing to his aid and screamed again oh the frustration and unfairness of it all. I wanted to calm him. I gave up on dinner, turned the stove off - maybe i could save it after he'd calmed down.
My company, no touching, no talking, seemed to calm him down now. He managed after a while to say he wanted to wipe off the letters he'd just drawn on the blocks. I suggested he use the blocks that he hadn't drawn on instead (knowing that marker wasn't coming off the unfinished wooden blocks any time soon). He thought about it and agreed to give it a go, to my surprise. But he had completely misunderstood me! He was now attempting to wipe the marker off just with another block. I was just dumbfounded because today he was just.... so so so much more affected by his autism than he usually is. People keep on saying how he doesn't look "that" autistic. It's frustrating. I know they mean well but it's like, are you calling me a liar? And on days like today I feel so heartbroken because I want to believe those same people when they say he'll be fine, we've got nothing to worry about, he's "normal". We don't take him out of his comfort zone on days like this so nobody sees him like this. When I talk about it, I always hear anecdotes back about some other kid whose autism is a lot more severe. Does that make my worries about my Gabriel any less valid?! Does it mean I'm not ALLOWED to worry?
Yes I worry because I see a child who used to be so gentle and placid become a child who is terrified of his world and angry because he cannot always do what he KNOWS he "should" be able to. He overcompensates and I feel the uncertainty and awkwardness and I know it'll only get worse as he gets older and more aware of his differences. I know now why Giovanni tried so hard to give him a normal, nuclear family, a house with a mum, dad and child. Because he is confused now. He asks me if I'm like dad, he doesn't understand. He woke up the other morning asking where his mum was. He was so confused in that sleepy moment. *sigh*