News flash! I lost my patience today. Oh, and BREAKING NEWS! I spanked my child. Yep…it happened. Now, before you get all Judgy McJudgicans on me, defriend me on social media, unfollow my blog, or buy me drink…let me explain.
Nico has been in a phase where he is hitting when he doesn’t get his way, when he is told something he doesn’t care for, or when he thinks he has gotten in trouble. I hate to use the word “hit” though because I don’t want minds to spiral into “Oh no! Is he becoming violent? Is this a sign of more aggression to come?” Nico’s hitting is not violent or truly aggressive. Don’t get me wrong, he has come at us once or twice with fierceness in his eyes and hit us hard, but that is a very rare occasion and really only accompanied by a major meltdown.
Nico’s hitting is his way of protesting. Isn’t that cool? He’s such an activist! Standing up for what he believes in….ha! No, I’m just kidding. My poor kiddo is using physical contact because he cannot get the words out. He can’t say, “No, Mom. I’m not ready to brush my teeth.” “No, I don’t want to stop playing.” “No, Dad, I’m not going to kiss you goodnight…I’m too busy reading.” Now, don’t get me wrong, Nico knows the word “no,” but he hasn’t quite figured out that he can be just as effective in his disapproval of something if he simply says no to it; he doesn’t have to hit. I’m not saying he will get his way if he says no as opposed to hitting us, but this hitting thing is going to cause a ton of future problems if we don’t nip it in the bud now. I refuse to be that mom that has the kid who “hits” at school. Nico and I both need to make friends when he starts Kindergarten in the fall DAMN IT!
Well, this morning I had had enough. Yep…I said it. I was exhausted. I did not want to deal with an obstinate child this morning. We had already woken up later than usual because I was up at 3am getting my father into a Lyft so he could fly home to Chicago for the weekend. And when I say I had to get him a Lyft, I literally mean I had to get him a Lyft and make sure he made it into the car. He had a 5:30am flight and, of course, wanted to be there when they unlocked the airport doors so the Lyft was arriving at 3:30am. I told him where to stand outside and gave him play by plays via text of how close the driver was until I saw the car pull away with him inside. It’s so comical…God bless my dad. I love him to pieces, but I was not driving him to the airport at 3:30am. However, after all of the planning and executing of the Lyft service I could have very well just driven him since I didn’t fall back asleep until 5:30am. The next “21st Century Skills” session we have is going to be all about downloading the Lyft app and learning how to use it…lol.
Ok, I digress….but that’s why I was beyond tired.
So, this morning I ask Nico nicely (like I do every morning so as to not unleash the beast) and give him a 5 minute countdown to prepare him for brushing his teeth. I smiled, I blew a kiss, I basically did a freaking choreographed dance with bells on so that he knew I was not rushing him or trying to disrupt his morning routine. FYI: routines and rigidity are major with children and adults on the spectrum and helping them transition from one task to the next is key to harmony for all involved.
Well, Nico clearly did not like what I was telling him so he came at me and hit me on the hand (as if I was the child needing to be scolded..the nerve). I ignored and redirected like I always do, but he clearly didn’t get the memo that his mama was tired so he hit me again with more force.
And…..I spanked him on his butt.
Now, as soon as it happened we both went through a major mental work up of what just happened. He’s looking at me, I’m looking at him and we’re both dumbfounded. Like, did that really just happen? Nico looked at me with a mix of confusion, shock, and I know he was thinking, “ummm….I’m sorry, but did you literally just hit me?” I was looking at him like, “Are you kidding me right now? Don’t you see I’m not in the mood?” while simultaneously thinking “Oh god…I have just failed as a mom.”
I immediately walked away, tears welling up in my eyes, and tried to compose myself. Nico came running after me and this was the moment! The moment I needed and the moment I knew would come eventually. Nico came to me, pulled at my arm, and LITERALLY said, “I sorry, mom.” He then basically begged for an embrace and to know I was not mad at him. I bent down and hugged him deeply and tightly for what felt like eternity. I told him I was sorry too and that I don’t like us to hit. It’s not nice. There are other ways to communicate our displeasure. And, that was it.
Nico followed me to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, got dressed, and we were off to school. We said goodbye, he kissed me and he went on his merry way with his therapist.
I had a “human” moment today, folks. Not a moment of weakness. Not a moment of rage. I responded in the moment the way any human being might respond when feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and just a bit annoyed when a child comes up and hits. I never thought I would ever get to a point where I would spank Nico, especially because he has Autism…who dares hit a special needs child? Are you nuts? Nico can’t even help some of his behaviors because of his Autism and I know this fully.
Today was another first for me. It wasn’t a first I am celebrating by any means, but it is something I am recognizing as a milestone. A learning experience. Today I showed that I am just surviving while other days I feel like I am invincible. Today also showed me that my son knows me so well and knows that I would never do something just to cause him pain and that I felt awful after I did it. I know I didn’t cause any irreparable damage and I know that Nico still loves me as deeply as he did before “Spankgate.”
I simply lost my patience (if my husband is reading this he is probably saying, “Sooo you DO lose your patience. It’s not just me….interesting.) We all do and losing patience is not just reserved for parents of special needs children. I have had to keep saying to myself, “I’m just human. Tomorrow is a new day.” Actually, let me not jump ahead…I gotta get through this afternoon and this evening.
We live some days, hour by hour, minute by minute. It’s our version of normalcy; taking every day a step at a time. Thank goodness for coffee, sunshine, sunglasses (to hide the raccoon eyes), and an occasional Xanax! I will survive another day!