There Is No Spoon
Or maybe there is.
This is supposed to be happy picture right?
We've been trying to help Bennett's behaviors, the problematic ones, through modification.
Today we were following a schedule, it's fairly new for Bennett at home but he seems to enjoy it. I'd always believed he was OK with things more loose after working so hard all day but now I can't even remember why I thought that made sense. Maybe because of the whole "Square Peg, Round Kid" thing from a couple of blogs back...my reluctance, common among my gender, to accept the circumstances as they were.
There were always the meltdowns since the surgery. The aggression, the scratching, the biting, the hitting, throwing, the abuse of himself, that's the worst. I never attributed them as much to the Autism as I did to the fact that almost half his brain was gone. I'm trying to find a balance, I have been all this time.
I'll tell you, there are days, like today, I don't feel like I'm cut out to be his father.
At some point today he became zeroed in on that red spoon. It became all he wanted.
We tried leading him, encouraging him toward something else. Nope. Spoon. Even when it was out of sight. Even giving him the spoon for reinforcement as an icon on that schedule that he worked for was not acceptable. He would lose it at some point during the reinforcement and I had to make the spoon gone. Meltdowns order of the day. After a while, to give him the spoon in any situation would be to reinforce all the negative behavior. Can't do that.
It was exhausting. Diversion attempts, distractions, everything, just nothing could help. Tried ibuprofen all the usual things to see if he was hurting, the this the that. Nothing helped at all. He hadn't banged his face into the iPad in a long time. He was doing that a lot today.
I was in pain already, that isn't new. But it was intensified by the stress. Splitting headache. Super neck pincher. Arms and fingers stuttering. Legs on fire. Gut in chaos. It was early yet :) Here it is after 2 AM as I write some of this and I can't find any position that doesn't feel like I'm being stabbed.
I'm scared he is headed into a cycle. He's done that before. Please, God. Not now. There's something else up with him, something I have to write about, got the news 2 days back, but that will take too long. Another post. But a cycle into behavioral upheaval is the last thing Bennett needs in his life today. I need more time to figure more stuff out.
Have to be careful. Negativity is beating the shit out of me tonight. Because today I feel like I failed him. I did fail him.
I gave him the fucking spoon. I just couldn't fight him anymore.
The entire day...lost in an instant. I reinforced all of his negative behavior with a giant cheap red spoon from the dollar store.
If I sleep tonight, I need to wake up tomorrow with fresh resolve to move past it, come up with some new ideas and...I don't know, figure out how to get him to forget about that stupid spoon.
Or integrate it in some way so it doesn't become a barrier to progress.