Push and pull, laugh and cry

By Mir
October 29, 2010

We’re going on a camping trip this weekend. We planned it… oh, I don’t know. Months ago. Last camping trip of the year, before we put the trailer back behind the house and cover it up and then, two weeks later, I will discover I need something from in there and have to bat my eyelashes at Otto to get him to go out back, undo the cover straps, venture into the cave-like inside, and retrieve it.

We don’t do as much vacationing as a family as I would like, and as the kids get older it only gets worse. Their time is limited. Rather, I should say Chickadee’s time is limited. She’s branching out into The World That Is Not Us, and that means she often has somewhere “better” to be, whether that is something educational or with her friends or whatever. And, of course, we split their free time with their dad, so that’s a constraint, too.

I want us to have more time to just enjoy being a family together, having fun.

So we’re going camping.

But we almost decided not to go camping, because Monkey was escorted home yesterday by not one but two school officials. They smiled a little too brightly and assured me that “everything’s okay now” and they’d email to let me know more, and Monkey slumped against me and cried, as he does after a major blowup, to “just go to bed.” He went, and rested, and reset whatever mechanism it is in his brain that sometimes seizes and takes him away from us. In its place it leaves a hitting, spitting, kicking ball of fury, angry at whatever perceived injustice has made life unbearable to him in that moment within the confines of polite society.

After, he spat out the story in disjointed bits and pieces, and I waited for the email.

And even though I know—even though it’s happened before, KEEPS happening—the email still chilled me to my core, set forth facts I would love to be able to dispute, to say, “No, not my kid!” to. Because this is my kid. My kid, my loving, sensitive, sweet, funny kid. My kid who turns into a raging animal with no warning, who disappears and leaves fury in his place, then lies about it, after (whether because he believes his story or is deeply ashamed, we often don’t know). Who seems further and further away from me, the older he gets.

We had an IEP meeting this week, and it went well. The team assured me he is making progress. “We see a real improvement over last year,” more than one of them said.

“I disagree,” I said. “He is melting down less, but with greater ferocity when he does. The anger is getting worse. The unpredictability is worse.” And it was commented that “this may be the start of puberty” and I responded with mock-but-only-kind-of anger that the speaker should “shut her dirty mouth” and we all laughed and deep inside I thought to myself that if this is the beginning of puberty, and this is what puberty shall do to him and to us, I don’t know how we make it out to the other side.

“What should we do, Monkey?” I asked him, finally, last night. He’d given his version. I got the story from school. Otto came home early and we sat together trying to discuss the irrational and incomprehensible like reasonable people, even though there’s nothing reasonable about it.

“You should just kill me,” he cried. “All I ever do is cause trouble. The only solution is to kill me.”

I assured him no one would be doing any such thing. His face twisted with anguish and I kept mine a mask of calm and encouragement until later. After he went to bed, I was free to weep for him until I was empty.

Do we reward terrible behavior by taking him on a vacation? Or do we ruin everything for the entire family because of something he did, further cementing his belief that all bad things stem from his intractable brain? Neither option is good.

So we’ll pack up. Move out. Spend the weekend in the woods. Play board games. Make s’mores. Laugh in Monkey’s delight over every bug, Licorice’s excitement over every squirrel, Chickadee’s insistence that it’s too early to get up no matter what time it is. Ketchup will squirt out of the bottle in the wrong direction and milk will be spilled and we’ll hold our collective breath, wondering if THIS will be the thing that sets him off, then exhaling, gratefully, when it’s not.

We will go sleep in the crisp night air and hope that a break from routine will somehow make it all better. Make us better.

It won’t. But maybe it will.


  1. Rasselas

    Oh my god, poor Monkey! How bad it must be for him to say such a horrible thing!

    I don’t think you’re rewarding terrible behavior by taking him on the trip. You’re letting him recuperate in familiar surroundings with people who care about him. I hope you all have a good time, sans meltdowns. :)

  2. Lisa in NJ

    Today and yesterday must be the day for kids on the specturm to act out. I had a meeting today about much of the same thing as little monkey. I hate the fact that my kid is not “normal” what ever normal may be. I feel the same way you do that I just want my kid happy and well adjusted. Dealing with these things are hard, you have a good support system and you are very lucky. I hope for the both of us that our kids will find ways to cope with what they were dealt.

  3. Mare Martell

    Camping is a great idea to get the family back to their “normal” selves. It’s one of the best memories of my childhood (which was less than stellar). There is something about “man vs. wild” that brings out the bond of protect me in a child even if they don’t voice it. It will be a perfect trip with fantastic stories even if it rains the whole time and someone gets poison ivy. It’s worth it to have the battle scars of nature and the family to share the stories with.

    May I recommend a piece of copper pipe with garden hose tucked inside it to put in the fire? It makes for some of the coolest colors for scary stories to be told. Especially if they don’t expect the color. Happy Halloween!

  4. Beachgal

    I’m weeping for you. I’m sending good thoughts and happy vacation times. And a cyber hug for Monkey.

  5. Leandra

    Poor little Monkey. I have tears in my eyes for both of you right now. I think going camping is the right choice, to reassure him that you’re his family and that you’ll rally around him when he needs it. Hopefully you’ll have a great time and it will soothe his soul….and yours. Since I don’t know exactly what happened I don’t know what type of punishment will be required, but I know you’ll make the best decision about that.

    Hugs, and prayers, for everybody.

  6. elz

    There aren’t words. From what you write and who you are, I know you are uniquely qualified to parent Monkey. That he will continue to surprise and amaze you because you will give him the right tools to do so. The intervening time, this in-between, is the hard stuff. Much love and luck to you and the whole family. I hear s’mores cure most everything.

    Here’s hoping you have a fun, sticky weekend full of bugs…you know what I mean!

  7. MomQueenBee

    Oh, Mir. Oh, Monkey. I’ll never forget my brother, after a Monkey-like meltdown decades ago, saying “I’m just afraid I’m going to grow up to be an angry, bitter old man with no friends.” He did not. He is the most loved guy I know, and he continues to be Monkey-like funny and smart.

    Do you watch “Parenthood”? I think of you every week and wonder if that’s your life.

  8. Nichole

    I’m so sorry. You’re so strong, and you’re such a good mother to those children. Hugs to all of you.

  9. Lucinda

    I would go. In a heartbeat. I don’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of Monkey and how that affects your family or what helps him. But it seems to me camping is the perfect chance for the whole family to “reset” and recover. A little time together to love on each other is never a “reward for bad behavior” in my opinion but rather a chance to heal and recover from the damage that bad behavior has clearly done to Monkey and the family. Good luck. From where I sit, if anyone can weather this storm, it is your family. It continues to provide encouragement to the rest of us. Yet again, thanks for sharing.

  10. Anna Marie

    Oh, Mir. I’m so sorry Monkey is having such a hard time. Hugs to you all.

  11. Midj

    Sometimes nature is the only thing that soothes th savage beast in any of us. Reconnecting to it and each other is truly a gift you can give your family. Consequences for
    behavior at school can occur when he’s well rested and can actually appreciate the consequences. I think, however, his remorse is apparent and shows his awareness of the magnitude of his transgression and is a huge step in the right direction. Sometimes that is much more important than anything else. Hugs to all four of you. And enjoy the gorgeous fall weather!

  12. el-e-e

    Oh, my. What a moment. I’m so sorry for Monkey, that he even had that thought one time. So, so sorry. Praying for you both. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend for camping.

  13. Cindy

    Prayers and good wishes for a wonderful weekend!

  14. Mom24@4evermom

    Well, hopefully it will for at least the weekend, and sometimes that’s all you can ask. I’m so sorry. For all of you, especially Monkey.

    One day, one hour, sometimes even one minute at a time.

  15. Aimee

    Oh, no. It breaks my heart that Monkey said that. Poor kid. I’m not sure what to say except I hope the camping helps, and that everything’s okay.

  16. liz

    I vote vacation too. It’s not a reward, since you had it planned for a long time. And taking it away as a punishment makes no sense since it wasn’t tied to his behavior.

    Do you think that writing a sincere apology letter to all the people involved at the school would be something that would help him to start again?

  17. DixieChick

    This post just breaks my heart. As the “evil stepmom” of an Aspie (although he prefers “high-functioning autist, thank-you-very-much), I can just feel your pain. Our boy is a teen now, but he had many, many, many meltdowns when he was little. We worried about puberty, oh how we worried. And, yes, middle school was hard. He hated himself for being “weird”, he hated himself for not “getting it”, and although the tantrums subsided, he became silent, withdrawn, and moody (Yay, I know, right?). But then came 9th grade. And with 9th grade came an entirely new boy. No more meltdowns, no more moodiness, no more hatred. At times it’s almost impossible to believe it’s the same child. I don’t know exactly what to contribute it to – but I believe that finding him an out-of-school counselor really helped, as well as an awesome autism-support teacher, who really deserves a Medal of Honor.
    Above all, I think you should go camping. You need to go camping. Love your little boy, forget about school and rules and IEPs, and see him for what he truly is, a lovable, inquisitive, funny little kid. I think you all deserve it!

  18. Melissa

    Oh, I’m so sorry that Monkey and you all are dealing with this. But dealing you are, and you WILL be okay, I know. Enjoy the weekend!

  19. KG

    This vacation is NOT rewarding bad behavior.
    This vacation is regrouping, reaffirming your love for him, relishing the TRULY important things in life that will mean more than a particularly bad day in school.
    Happy trails…

  20. Tracy B

    Oh, my heart is breaking. What a horrible episode for Monkey to think everything, everyone would be better off without him. My heart is breaking and I can certainly understand why you cried yourself to sleep. These years are not the easiest even without “Aspie” and know you will be do all the right things, say all the right things and reassure Monkey that he is such a blessing to have. I will say a prayer for ya’ll and I don’t blame you for getting away from everything and enjoying the crisp air of Fall.

  21. dad

    I’m with DixieChick.

    And while you’re at it, you should all thank your lucky stars that you have each other to provide love and advice while you tip-toe through the mine fields of life.
    Read your contract. Nowhere does it say that it’s going to be easy.

  22. getsheila

    Thinking of you and your beautiful, kooky, sometimes normal, always exasperating (as kids should be, it’s The Law) children, Otto, and Licorice. Hope you have a lovely weekend camping. With the bugs. And the cold. Um, WHY are you going camping again? Oh yeah, traditional end-of-season torture, I’m mean fun. :) Enjoy.

  23. Holly

    Definitely go on your trip! I agree with everyone else. It is NOT rewarding bad behavior. It’s just continuing on with your plans. It’s also a very excellent way for Monkey to recharge. Prayers for you and your family.

  24. Karen P

    Oh Mir. So sorry to hear about Monkey. His comment was so sad. Hope the weekend as a family will bring some peace.

  25. JXB

    Hey chica – Every day a new heart break and life keeps coming. For what it is worth, I think you are absolutely making the right decision to go on your trip. Since, as you describe it, the vacation was never planned as a reward for good behavior, you shouldn’t think of it as a rewarding his bad behavior when you carry out your family vacation plans. You would never even contemplate cancelling a trip because of his school melt down if you had airline tickets or were going on another cruise would you? There are other consequences that you can work out for his conduct if that is appropriate. I hope vacation from daily routine and the structure of school is good for you all. Bon courage.

  26. Stace

    My Z-man and your Monkey sound very much alike. Z wasn’t diagnosed with aspberger’s though, he was so completely depressed when the school tried to have him tested he refused to do any part of the test. That was when he was 9. He is used to come home from school after trashing a classroom, or trying to kick the principal (in all fairness…I would have liked to have kicked that principal as well after all he did to make sure Z failed) and cry and ask what was wrong with him and why couldn’t he be normal and “I should just die”. It was heartbreaking. He is now almost 12 and he still has issues with frustration..but MUCH less than he used to. For him it probably has more to do with me taking him out of that school and homeschooling him (not saying this is the thing you should do, it was just what worked for Z).. I didn’t think he would be able to learn to deal with his frustrations in a school setting that was more than happy to continually send him off to a “special school” (that we LOVED, BTW) every time he lost it. Unfortunately for Z, that special school wasn’t a school that he could stay at permanently, it was only a place that kids with issues went to “get better” then they were sent back into the public school system..it was a back and forth…and for a kid who doesn’t do well with changes…well…it wasn’t helping his depression at all. Nine is just too young to be depressed. Anyway! I just wanted to say that maturity has helped SO much…and I am convinced that the older Z gets the better his brain will be able to handle the situations that set him off…..and I’m sure that Monkey will be the same. Hang in there, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

  27. Rachel

    Having a great weekend is just what Monkey needs now. Have a great time. =) Will you back for trick or treating? I always look forward to your posts about Halloween so I can see the creative costumes your kids wear.

    Struggling with if my 13 year old is too old to trick or treat, but all her friends are going out in a group… that makes it hard to stick to my “you’re too old to trick or treat” and I know she’s thinking I’m just a meanie & never let her do anything fun. (That’s the definition of parenting, right?)

  28. Kim

    I think you absolutely go camping. It’s not a reward or punishment thing, it’s just what the family is doing this weekend. Setting it up as reward or punishment puts too much pressure on it. You just go, these are the things Monkey would do well to practice. I don’t know anything about having a kid on the spectrum. I know my oldest has a lot of problems, she falls somewhere between the Chickadee and Monkey models of behavior, but you just do what you can day in and day out, making the decisions you can with the informaiton you have at the time. There are times when I just want to hide out with her, not let the world see her, because her behavior is too awful. That’s when I realize she and I both need the practice of how to interact with the world or get out of our comfort zones. It’s a balancing act.

    Best of luck to you. There are things in parenthood that in some ways are just unmanageable. All you can do is the best you can do. Monkey’s comments made me cry, I can’t imagine what they must have done to you. How heartbreaking.

    Hang in there.

  29. Jamie

    What a crappy week! I agree that going camping is the thing to do. You all need the break and Monkey needs the reinforcement that you’re always there for him, he’s loved and he will NOT be killed. I don’t envy the situation you’re in, especially because I’m not sure I’d be as patient. Hugs and happy thoughts all all the Mir-Otto folks!

  30. Kristi


  31. RuthWells

    Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry. Definitely go camping — you could all use the break.

  32. Sandra Tayler

    For what it is worth I have a son about mid-way through puberty. The very early stages (around 11 years) manifested as increase emotional volatility. In my son’s case, he cried a lot. I’ve heard somewhere that brain development at puberty is very similar to brain development at 3 which is why some of the same tantrum behaviors exist in both places. The good news is that it calms down. At 13 my son has still got a bunch of growing to do, but the emotional roller coaster isn’t so wild.

    Hang in there. Monkey’s brain will develop so that he can use his innate good traits to manage his struggles.

    (I chant a similar mantra when contemplating my younger daughter.)

  33. Headless Mom

    My kid has explosive anger/out of control things too. Lately less frequent but more explosive. I’ve wondered about the puberty link myself. It’s really scary sometimes. I don’t know how to stop it and find myself holding my breath also when I’m unsure if today is the day he’s going to be set off.

    *sigh* I feel you on this one.

  34. Mary

    Poor Monkey and Poor You. I’m sending hugs your way and hoping you have a peaceful, wonderful, episode-free much deserved time away.

  35. Karen R.

    Go. You all need it. If Monkey is anything like my daughter, he has already punished himself far more than you ever would. Relax, enjoy, and come back stronger to face the next challenge.

  36. suzie

    Camping is a good thing. Monkey needs a break, even if it is from his own self. Poor kid should be reminded that the meltdowns are not “who he is.” You are awesome parents.

  37. Jennifer Joyner

    I don’t know what I would do about the camping trip, but I have every confidence that your instinct is right. Wasn’t it a couple of years ago that y’all went on a trip and you cut it short because of Chickie’s behavior? I remember reading that and thinking wow, that is parenting with guts! And I have used it as a model. This situation seems different, and again, your way of handling seems right to me. Monkey certainly has his challenges, but he hit the lottery when it comes to his mother!

  38. Em

    I agree with everyone. Let home/family continue to be the place he feels free to cry and to reset and relax. I’m sure there are consequences at school. Obviously from his heartbreaking words, he isn’t strutting around thinking he was entitled to melt down. Enjoy your weekend with your sweet boy and your growing girl.

  39. Annette

    Praying for you…I hope you have a great weekend:)

  40. bob

    I am ever mindful of you and your family, now more than ever. In many ways I feel guilty for not having had the issues with our kids as you have yours – not that it was easy, mind you, but not as difficult.

    Enjoy your camping trip, take plenty of warm blankets. Have a campfire, roast some marshmallows and tell spooky ghost stories in the flickering firelight. Put the week behind you.

    Take care and give Monkey an extra hug from me.

  41. Heather Cook

    Oh HUGS to you and Monkey and everyone else. This sounds so familiar. I know very well the desire to say “not my kid!” when you hear reports of behavior from the school… and it breaks my heart when my beautiful, funny, creative, energetic kid says “it would be better if I was dead, I’m the worst kid ever”. Big hugs ((((HUG))))

  42. Chris

    I think your Dad said it well when he said no one promised it would be easy. Having said that, some weeks/days are harder than others. I am huge fan of getting outdoors when things get bad (even if it is only for a walk around the block at the office!). I hope you have great camping weather and come back better to deal with the rest of the world again.

  43. Carol

    Discipline is all about teaching. For the neurotypical pre-teen, they do something they know is wrong and a punishment prevents them from doing it again. This works because they are capable of controlling themselves. This is not always true for all children, including those with Aspergers. At the time of Monkey’s melt-down, I have no doubt he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he was powerless to stop it. The fact that he was so hard on himself afterwards supports this theory. So I think a punishment would be a bad idea–it would suggest to him that you didn’t believe the Aspergers made it impossible for him to control himself at that moment and it may increase his stress and anxiety and result in even more frequent melt-downs.

    The years around puberty were definitely the hardest for my son. I always went out of my way to not punish him for melt-downs. Over time, with therapy, maturity, and the end of puberty, he developed more skills and more control and we have not seen a melt-down in public for well over a year now. Tell Monkey this weekend is a time for him to take care of himself. That having fun and getting away is a great stress-reducer and that in itself will help him be more in control. Let him know that one day the melt-downs will stop, but that it is not unusual for a child of his age with Aspergers to be going through this. Your love and understanding will help him to accept what he is going through and not label himself as bad. Oh, and be good to yourself also. You are doing a great job!

  44. navhelowife

    Go camping. Breathe…relax…and let everyone hit that reset button.
    Carol is right on the money. The meltdowns are connected to his issues – they may start out as a bad choice, but there comes a point that he cannot stop them – he doesn’t have the skills in his toolbox yet, but one day he will.

  45. jennamom2boys

    Oh Mir, that’s awful. But absolutely go camping. I think it’d be a great way for him to regroup and just know that no matter what happens, you all love him. (Are you maybe rethinking homeschooling this year?)

  46. Katie in MA

    A thousand million hugs going your way (and Monkey’s)(and Otto’s and Chickie’s, because this isn’t easy for *anyone*). For what it’s worth, I think I would have stuck with camping plans, too. You and your fam can deal with the situation when you come back however you need to. And I think spending a fun “time out” weekend together will be just the thing to remind Monkey (and everyone else) that come what may, you’ll always be family and you’ll always be there for each other. Nothing changes that.

  47. KMayer

    loving up that little monkey from a far. hugs to his mom as well.

  48. Nelson's Mama

    Lots of prayers for you, Mir.

    Go camping, keep moving forward…just keep loving your boy.

  49. Sheila

    Have a great weekend. It’s OK if you have an extra s’more.

  50. Beth

    ((((Mir)))) Hugs and prayers and lots of hope for a restful recharging weekend for all four of us…

  51. liz

    Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. My two cents, given what you’ve written, is that Monkey needs to know that he’s loved unconditionally and that he doesn’t ruin everything more than he needs for the cancelled camping trip to be his punishment. So definitely go camping. I mean, if a tree falls in the woods….there won’t be anyone around to hear besides the rest of you. Good luck and ((((hugs)))).

  52. Amelia

    Oooooooh. I’m so sorry. This is how you will get to the other side:
    One day at a time. And when one day is too long, you will do it one hour or one minute at a time. But you’ll do it. I– we all– have faith in you.

  53. Crista

    I think everyone else pretty much said everything I was going to say, but I definately agree that *all* of you need this camping trip.
    Have a fun weekend!

  54. Theresa G

    It gets better. My husband the Aspie has said he wished someone told him that when he was Monkey’s age. Go camping. Have fun.

  55. karen

    Fresh air and a change of scenery. Absolutely. I’de have cried till I was empty right along side, you, Mir. I’ve got a lump in my throat now.

    Atleast… you have the very best tools as far as I can tell..just because of the intelligent, loving, responsible people you are… to help him and your family and YOU through this difficult time of his development.

    The Aspie I know is now in college, and he has matured wonderfully. It made the difference.

  56. Stimey

    I wish I had words to help make it better. It all seems so complicated sometimes, doesn’t it? And it all seems so high stakes as well. You are doing your absolute best. Have fun camping. Let it go for a few days. Keep loving him and letting him know that you love him. Also, join me in my denial that my children will ever enter puberty. Hugs.

  57. Rachel

    Poor guy! What a horrible way to feel…and my 8 year old often says similar things and it’s horrible trying to convince him otherwise. It’s no fun and it is harder the older he gets in some ways he’s better and in some he’s worse.

    I hope you have a wonderful…much deserved trip!

  58. E's Mommy

    Oh, poor Monkey and poor you and Otto and Chickadee. I don’t think taking him on vacation would be a reward for his behavior. I think it would help everyone to spend time family time together and to have FUN. It sounds like you guys haven’t been able to do that a lot lately and you all definitely deserve it, even if Monkey did melt down at school today. And I’m a special ed teacher so I am saying this with a great deal of authority. :) Have a great time on your trip!

  59. Heather

    Aw man, his comment about “just kill me” totally broke my heart. You’re a good kid, MonkeyMan, just hang in there! Mir, give him one little extra hug for me? This must be so hard for all of you. I’m so sorry he’s hurting.

  60. Cele

    yeah everything they said, but Mir a big hug to you and Otto too, because you are holding it in at the right spots, letting it out in the lonely spots, and showing us all how it is done. Ack, massive run on.

  61. Sheppitsgal

    Not sure what to say, but couldn’t say nothing. I am CERTAIN that you will all be fine. Monkey will be what he will be, which will be great because he is so loved. If there is room, could you squeeze in an extra hug for Monkey from me too, plus a group hug for you, Chickie and Otto. Have a fab weekend xxx

  62. addy

    Enjoy the bugs, the family time and lots of smores. Deal with the issues another day. Many hugs to you and to your family. No child should feel those things.
    PS – Bonfires and smores are a great cure-all.

  63. Kerry

    I’m so glad that you decided to go. Home/family should always be the soft place to land; good for you for honoring that. The poor boy probably needs to get away more than the rest of you. :)

  64. jessica

    Someone else’s comment hit a button in my own brain that made me wonder: Has Monkey met an adult with Asperger who has “come out the other side,” so to speak? (After your post the other day, I obviously don’t mean his dad.) Would it help? (I don’t know the answer, since I don’t know Monkey, but it just popped into my head.)

    Prayers and peace to you and your family as you go through the next few years. I still can see how lucky you are to have your children, who each teach you in his/her own way. :D

  65. Kathy

    Holy crap. I’m bawling my eyes out. So glad you went camping. It rejuvenates our fam, too!

    Hang in there. Some days will be better! I know … some days will not. But those good ones are great!

    You are doing a wonderful job. No one could do this better than YOU!

  66. becky

    My heart breaks for you and your son at times like this, Mir. I can only hope & pray that you all find some way to navigate this together with lots of love and patience.

  67. Michele Bardsley

    It will get better. For my own son’s issues, sometimes progess was so incremental, and the bad days so freaking awful, and the exhaustion so overwhelming, I wanted crawl under the bedcovers and cry myself into a coma.

    The people in my life, who held my hand while I held my son’s, who listened to me whine and weep, they saw the differences, the progress, the success … even when I couldn’t. We keep trying, sticking with what works, changing what doesn’t. And … it gets better. It really does.

  68. Chana

    Definitely camping. Its good for everybody. I feel for you and hope you get through it quickly. I see this from the parent of a toddler (almost 3 year old perspective)- and based on some other comments, this doesn’t seem as ridiculous as I first thought. Its just that with a toddler, we see this behavior as more acceptable due to their age. A phase they will grow out of. It must be a lot harder to go through it when they are older, but from the comments it sounds like he will develop out of as well. Best of luck hanging in there. Enjoy the camping.

  69. Megan

    Some wonderful, wonderful comments here – and I totally agree with the consensus that the camping trip was a very, very good idea.

    Reading over this, and reading the comments, reminds me of the times where other people would say, full of love and admiration, that I was the ‘perfect’ mother for a particular situation. My reaction always, ALWAYS was a horrified – augh! no! You have no idea! I mess things up, and I’m overwhelmed, and I second guess, and I spend HOURS in agony at 3 a.m. going over all the ways I’ve failed…

    I suppose I just wanted to say that, should you feel this way too now and then, we’ve all been there. There is no perfect. There is just… well, there is just love, and patience, and the willingness (however hard to come by) to keep at it. And that you do – you can do – you will always do (even when it seems impossible).

    I’m so heartbroken for you and for Monkey. I hope that the time away, the time with family alone, and with a particularly patient and loving little black dog, will be healing for all of you.

  70. Lady M


  71. Rachael

    Big ‘ole cyberhug for you. The thing about Aspie’s is that everyone else around Monkey needs to learn to cope, including his classmates. As it is unlikely that Monkey will be able to change, everyone he comes in contact with has to know what his triggers are and how to deal. Having your kid dropped off at your door with an email explanation later isn’t how the school should be handling it. AT ALL. And you weren’t called because why? I would be livid right now. Absolutely livid. We have a school here for kids with autism, and we looked into it when we thought my daughter was an Aspie (school diagnosis)… even with her learning disabilities and mental retardation, she struggles with a lot of things.

  72. Lori in MN

    I cannot believe how many of us are struggling with these issues and how lucky we are to have found someone like you who can put it into such a heartbreaking and yet heartwarming way. I still shudder when I remember listening to my sweet, sensitive kid say those scary words out loud, but you’re helping me remember to appreciate the times he helps his little sister, gives me a hug for no reason, and smiles at me on his way out the door to school. Thank you.

  73. Brigitte

    Just catching up with your writings, and got tears running down. Thank goodness I’m alone right now. I also agree with the consensus, and I wish that magically Monkey could feel the additional love pouring off the internet for him!

  74. s

    oh poor Monkey, and poor Mir and Otto. I can’t even imagine how seeing Monkey and his escorts made you feel and then to have to wait and wait for their version. I can’t imagine how I’d handle it, but definitely not without your grace.

    one of my boys is blowing up majorly lately and I need to adjust our schedule – tooooo many late nights, busy nights – I can’t change some of it, but the nights that are clear I can protect fiercely and say no to playdates or dinners with neighbors – as fun as those activities are, its obviously too much for one boy’s easily high wired brain…we need more nights draped across my bed reading…

    I hope camping was fun and brought you the family togetherness you were craving (complete with hilarity and all that kid nonsense!)

  75. Michele

    “My kid, my loving, sensitive, sweet, funny kid. My kid who turns into a raging animal with no warning, who disappears and leaves fury in his place, then lies about it, after” Mine doesn’t have Asperger’s, he has a host of other things. However – that’s exactly what it was like for us. We found out later that he wasn’t lying about any of it. He would simply regurgitate what others mentioned about the incident. Truth was? Once he hit the “meltdown” he didn’t remember anything after. I was finally clued into that fact when they called us in the calm him down, and he didn’t recognize us. After he was calm, I asked him flat out if he remembered anything. “All I remember is red, mom.” I think that’s when my heart finally broke.

  76. J from Ireland

    Ah Mir this is heart breaking. I would definitely go and have fun together. My heart aches for Monkey and you all.

  77. Debbi

    hugs to both of you. I am sooo glad you went camping, all of you needed that special time. It is a wonderful way to let Monkey relax. nothing wrong with that at all! His comment broke my heart, I can only imagine how it made you feel. I hope the camping helped you too!!

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