I wrote this a few months ago, but it applies well to this week and I think it will speak to any parent shuttling kids around this summer. This week, we had the boys in camps that are about a 30 minute drive from each other. Neither kid wanted to attend the camp I chose for him. The schedule was different from last week and will be different from next week, so it’s been like a double transition week. Any kind of transition is extra fun for us. Add to that the fact that only one of our collective seven therapies was on its regular time/day. Oh, and we have family both visiting and moving to the area this week. And it’s hot and dry here, expected to remain that way through September thanks to El Niño. Let’s face it: I’d be cranky if the heat were all that was going on.
So…ever find yourself wishing you drove a limousine? Not for the comfort of the passengers. I don’t really give a shit about passenger comfort today. I want the partition. I have partition envy.
I could listen to whatever I want on the radio or maybe listen to an audio book. Or just drive along in blissful silence. How nice does that sound? Since I’m wishing, why am I still driving people around? I’m switching my dream to Tina Fey’s fantasy in Date Night:
…if anything, I fantasize sometimes about being alone…just going someplace, like checking into a hotel and just being in a quiet room by myself, just sitting in a quiet, air-conditioned room, sitting down, eating my lunch, with no one touching me, drinking a diet Sprite. By myself.
~Tina Fey as Claire Foster in Date Night
I’d be drinking a regular Coke and reading a book, but otherwise exactly that.
Look, I just wanna have one day that doesn’t depend on how everybody else’s day goes.
~Tina Fey as Claire Foster in Date Night
Instead, I’m sitting in the lobby of our occupational therapist’s office, having recently emerged from our minivan with two protesting boys.
“Mom, I don’t wanna go to OT!”
“Mom, I don’t wanna play with [Name of OT]!”
“Mom, I want an internet connection!”
“Mom! I don’t see Kunky Boys (Zoo Keeper’s pronunciation of Quirky Boys, which is also what we call our network).”
“I don’t see it, fix it, I don’t see it, fix it, I don’t see it, fix it, I don’t see it, fix it. Fix it!! Oh, there it is.”
I don’t know if my sensitivity to noise, especially many different and loud noises coming at me at once, has anything to do with how overloaded I feel trapped in the car with the kids. Maybe it’s this way for any parent. Either way, I need a partition. Or a Cone of Silence.
Then again, I might be cranky because it’s elementary conference week, where Zoo Keeper gets out of school at noon so teachers can do conferences in the afternoons. It’s been a long week.
Did I mention the cranky?
How about I talk about something that did not make me cranky. The boys’ diagnosis with autism. Both times I felt comforted. Validated. Free, in a way. The diagnosis gave me something to grab on to, and that gave me solid ground to stand on as I told myself, “He’s not screaming and kicking just to spite you. There’s a reason behind it and you can help him get past it.”
Not that I really thought either of my kids had meltdowns to spite me. Okay, maybe sometimes, when I was beaten down so low I would have had trouble peeking out over the side of a crayon box. But mostly I was just looking for a reason to make sense of the behavior. Because once I have an idea of what’s causing the behavior, I can work on a way to fix it.
Just wanted to say, oh yes I hear you!!! My kids are older than yours (12 and 10) so the car has gotten to be a much much better place. But there were times a few years ago when they were fighting/whining/squealing etc, where I honestly-for-real thought of driving into trees/off the 520/ whatever, because it would STOP THE NOISE. I hope I won’t get locked up for saying that out loud. The thought who pop into my mind and I would relish it for a minute, then let it go. It used to happen a LOT.
I don’t think I’m on the spectrum, but I am definitely introverted and noise sensitive. I once celebrated mother’s day by leaving for two days. It was AWESOME!
Hang in there Michele.
If they lock you up for that, there are a lot of us that are going down with you! I don’t actually think this is specific to autism. I think it happens, at one time or another, to most parents. I do think it happens more often to parents, autistic or not, of autistic children, though. Maybe because we’re always on alert, waiting for the next shoe to drop. And there are so many therapies. And dropping a kid off at therapy is different from dropping one at soccer practice. At least I think it is. I’ve never actually dropped a kid off at a sports practice of any kind. I have dropped them off at camps and it’s very different to dropping them at therapy.
I’m looking forward to a quieter car future!
Funny you should wish for a partition. I find myself getting into cabs here havin partition envy. Why, oh why, if they can manage to install automatic sliding doors why can’t they install a retractable partition? Or better yet, what about some sort of isolation chamber (hmm maybe I have been watching too many sci-fi flicks). Not that complicated and really it would benefit any mother out there! Maybe a pair of noise canceling headphones? =)
Right? They should be able to do that. I would love noise canceling headphones, but can’t use them while driving because I wouldn’t hear emergency vehicles. They need to make some that drown out only specific noises.
coffee, knitting, book
a portable partition would be nice: in the van, kitchen, bathroom, my bed,…