I have so many words to spew right now. I’ve not written in a while. I guess I have commitment issues when it comes to blogging but over the last few months a lot has changed in my life and it’s given me reason to write. Where to start is the issue. Where to end is the other issue. There’s so much to say and I feel like it shouldn’t be confined to just one single blog post. If I attempt to cram it all into one post I’ll probably miss out on some things trying to rush to get it finished, so let’s start with the topic of this post and the new topic of my entire blog; Abigail – What’s going on with her and what’s going on with me. How our life has changed into something else.
Abigail (Or Abbey as we call her) is my youngest child. She’s 3.5 now years old and is coming along great. She still attends Speech Therapy twice a week and her speech is vastly improving. It’s no secret though that Abbey has been my most difficult child. I’ve always made jokes about it. Friends and family who are close to us know what I go through on a day to day basis with her. Sometimes they make jokes, sometimes they stare at us, eyes bugging out of their heads, in fear that one of us is about to spontaneously combust. Things can get wild.
Abbey has a lot of meltdowns and when I say “A lot”, I mean A LOT!!! She’s either extremely happy or extremely upset. There’s nothing really in between. Her meltdowns are the kind that you can either giggle about or cry as you feel your soul being torn away from you. Rewind to when she was a baby. I’ve always felt this anxiety between us. Our dynamic has always been that she demands something and I have to give it her before she blows up into a fit of rage or sobbing tears. Even as a newborn that’s just how it was. For a little while I thought maybe I just spoil her too much. I wondered if raising her alone has made her this way. Maybe I’m not doing enough? I give her her own way all the time. She knows she can control me? Maybe she *is* being a brat to get what she wants all too often. But over time (This year especially) I’ve noticed a change in her. It’s almost like everything has accelerated. The meltdowns are worse, everything is worse. Personality traits have become more apparent. I think they needed to get worse though.
Over time near the height of my frustration, I started to realize that not all of her meltdowns were her being “bad” and I could tell that her brain just isn’t functioning the same way as everyone else’s. I started to realize that these meltdowns she’s having aren’t because she’s being difficult on purpose (Most of them anyway). It’s because she’s overwhelmed and her brain is processing things differently.
Here are some examples of her struggles;
- She becomes overstimulated and breaks down. Can’t cope with noise, can’t cope with people talking to her, can’t cope with her siblings being around. When we are at the playground and there’s more than 3 children she tends to run away crying to herself and shouting “NO MOMMY” at me. She get’s overwhelmed and can’t cope with the amount of energy that’s in her space. She’s ten times worst when her brother and sister are around.
- Grinds her teeth excessively especially when she’s stressed, angry or upset
- Likes to be on a schedule, likes to know what’s going on. If you promise her something and don’t deliver that promise, she will let it be known.
- Repeats demands and requests. For example; In the car going to the store she will repeat “Store, store, store” pretty much all the way there. If she wants me to take her to a certain place like the playground or swimming she will keep repeating that demand until it grinds me down and I give in. If she wants a certain food she will repeat the name of the food even if I’ve acknowledged what she wants. When cooking for her I often have to cook quick meals or else she stands behind me repeating the name of whatever I’m making, frustrated that I’ve not given it to her yet.
- Very impulsive and unaware of danger. Happily runs away in public, will walk off with strangers and will run in front of cars (I HAVE to have my wits about me in public and it’s stressful).
- Obsessions with certain toys. She doesn’t play with many toys but the ones she loves she’s possessive over. For example; She LOVES toy cars. First year or two of her life she only wanted to play with string. She’s only just started to show interest in actual toys.
These are just a few examples of what I deal with on a day to day basis. I will get more into each one at another time. There are so many aspects to her personality that I cannot get them all written down in one session.
I started to notice these traits more and more so I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the past few months. I’ve spoken to friends, specialists and other mom’s with children like Abbey. Everything lead to the questions; Does Abigail have Autism Spectrum Disorder? Does she have Sensory Processing Disorder? What’s going on inside her brain to make her this way? What can I do to help her so that we don’t have so much upset in our lives?
Right away I made an appointment to see the doctor to get a referral for her to see a specialist. I was extremely lucky to get an appointment to have her evaluated which I’m thankful for because most places in Florida have a 6-12 month wait list. Last week we made the drive to Jacksonville, FL to InBloom Autism Services where she was evaluated for Autism. I will find out what they think in 10 days. We have an appointment to go over everything and then go from there. The evaluation was extensive and it took 3 hours in total. One hour of interaction and playing between Abbey and the specialist and then the rest was her and I speaking and me answering questions. By the end of it we were both quite overwhelmed. Especially Abbey. 3 hours in the same building was a lot for her. That’s not something she can usually manage and we did have a lot of meltdowns. I was proud of her though like I always am because I know she tries her best. I hate that such normal tasks stress her out but I know she does her best to understand.
I’m exhausted and I’m worried for her but I also know everything will be okay. I don’t know if she will be diagnosed next week. It’s likely she won’t (Or maybe that’s the negativity in me speaking). I’ve been told off other mom’s that I’m in for a bit of a ride while we try to figure her out. I think I’d be very lucky to have a diagnosis so early on in her life but whatever the outcome is, I just want to help her. I don’t care if she’s Autistic. I mean, I’m her mom and I know her more than anyone else in the world and I know there’s something going on. I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me. I’m aware of it and I’m being proactive about it. I get a little exhausted and stressed from time to time but I’m the right woman for the job. I’ve absolutely got this. My whole life is dedicated to making her life easier.
Whatever the outcome, I’ve decided to write about my journey on here to document the moments and to hopefully help other moms (or dads or stepparents or grandparents) out there like me who right now are absolutely clueless on what the next step is. Moms who are stressed, tired and wondering if they’ll ever catch a break. Mom’s who parent alone. Mom’s that get looked at differently. Mom’s who get judged in public. Mom’s who’s kids get judged in public because they aren’t acting “normal”. I’m here for you. You don’t have to be a parent to read this though. I have a few friends that will probably read this just for the sake of trying to understand. Anyone is invited to read it. I have a lot more to say and as I learn more, I’ll write more.
Thank you for reading, I know it was kinda long.
Happy New Year!!!