Today I was at the specialist with both kids. I spoke to 2 women both whom also had autistic kids at different levels on the spectrum. I mentioned that both of mine are autistic and they both said “I don’t know how you do it”. I didn’t think about it again until I had both kids in the bath tonight and one was screaming at the other one.
“I don’t know how you do it”
Well, to start with its mostly out of insane love. If my children are to grow up as functioning members of society they need me to do ‘it’. If they are to operate in a world not built for them or for people like them they need me to do ‘it’ so they can learn. If they are to grow up and have wonderful full lives they need me to do ‘it’. They deserve me at my best doing the things I need to do to help them.
Secondly they are different. The way it was described to me is they are books at opposite ends of the library in different rooms, on different shelves but the same topics. They are different enough that their idiosyncrasies don’t overlap. We only have collisions when they both want the same thing (rare), they can’t share (more common) or a communication breakdown (most common). She runs out of words and lashes out and he doesn’t see why he can’t have the thing she has in her hands. Like I said we are lucky they don’t clash more. They also have always been together so they allow for the others differences.
Lastly, I don’t know any other way to be. Honest to God I don’t. We’ve always be malleable and flexible since my husband and I both work in hospitality. You never know what you’re getting and have to roll with the punches. You adjust as need be and keep the ship sailing. One kid has a bad day and you just adjust the sails depending on how bad it is. If you get the perfect storm and they both go down at the same time (very rare) you just strap yourself to the steering wheel and call for the first mate. Clinging to any idea of how your day ‘should’ go or ‘should’ be will only cause you grief. This doesn’t mean it’s a no rules free for all (hell even pirates have rules) but we can bend them where we need to to get the day done.
…and that ladies and gents is how I do it.