Posted in autism, custody, distance parent, non-custodial mom, non-residential parent

(From 210 Miles Away) Waiting The Eight

Minor crisis this morning: I ran out of Equal. Fortunately a frantic search revealed a case – yes, case – hidden in a kitchen cabinet. Good thing. I had 2 meetings this morning. There was no getting to Dunks, much less a grocery store.

I suppose I could have gone without coffee…

“The Eight” are, literally, the 8 hours hours my son spends in school. I’m vigilant about checking email and watching my iPhone during the 8, mostly because of my old friend Autism.

When Autism events happen, they choose the craziest, busiest, most hectic day I can imagine having to command my attention. The week before Thanksgiving when work was slow? Nada.

The day I had neck surgery 4 years ago? I came out of post op, was placed in my hospital room, nurses fussing over me, my husband and parents hovering concerned in the background, x-rays to be had, IVs to be placed… I checked my iPhone and sure enough…

I could have taken an out on that one but if I were residential custodian, my son would have visited me in the hospital and I’d have been on point for it then. Ergo, no excuses for being 4 states away. I emailed the school, called TheEx and administered long-distance discipline from The Brigham.

Amazingly coherently.

I think so, anyway.

The list of stuff that could and has happened on the spectrum runs the gambit, everything from perseverating on a video game to not being able to focus to a full-blown meltdown over the wrong kind of lunch…

Usually the spectrum exerts itself over my son’s typically great nature when there are a minimum of five projects commanding my attention at the office.  That’s why I’ve always been up front with my boss about being an autism parent.  He understands when I need to leave my desk to deal with those issues.

TheEx is the first call the school makes for spectrum issues. I’m the second. We’re placed in conference to discuss with the school – usually the teacher and the school’s special needs social worker – what happened.  Then we talk about how we’re going to deal with it at school.

I don’t blame the school. I don’t make excuses to the school for my son’s behavior.  I don’t expect the school to handle it 100%. TheEx and I are the parents.  Managing the spectrum starts and ends with us.

After the call with the school, TheEx and I talk about how we’re going to handle it at home. Sometimes it’s a call to the neurologist. Sometimes a stern lecture. Sometimes, if it appears mischief vs. spectrum-based (autistic kids are capable of mischief), we just plain old take away the X-Box.

The call with TheEx is followed up by a call to my son.  First I listen to what he has to say about what happened. Then I gently but firmly suggest how to correct the behavior. I echo what I know TheEx has already said to him. I’m patient and persistent about what needs to change.

I don’t yell. Yelling is mostly ineffective when you’re a distance parent. The benefit of being a distance kid is you can just hang up when you don’t like where the conversation’s going.

LM#1 does that and TheEx will put him back on the phone but after 4 or 5 clicks it gets daunting, so no yelling.

Next week there are 5 bids due.  Mark your calendars, folks, that’ll be the day the spectrum lets it fly.

Bring it. Life’s been a little boring lately…

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Author:

A Java-Fueled, Camry-Powered, Professional Business Writer, and Long Distance Mom Navigating the Autistic Spectrum and Working Hard For Her Clients and to Stay Connected to Her Kid.

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