I joined a gym determined to get out of the house with 2 kids who really did not want to be at home and get back into my size 8’s or even size 10 that appeared after I had my first child (Herd) 13 months before the twins came! My twins were just 10 months old and my oldest was 23 months. Just getting to the gym was cardio for me! I had to load all 3 into car seat and when I got to the gym I had to assemble a triple stroller with a separate chaise put all 3 into the stroller and then unload them at the childcare the entire deed took from leaving the house to unloading the kids about 70 minutes. A small part of that 70 minutes was fighting Bird to leave the house. Bird would clutch the door frame of my house and sob and cry unless he saw the stroller set up outside to go for a walk in which case he would go willingly. Bird did not like change and leaving the house in the car meant change.
The first 3 weeks of 4 times a week of going to the gym with the 70 minutes of just getting the kids from my house into the building was met with 7 minutes of actually time to “work-out.” By “work-out” I mean stand by the doors of the childcare center with my girlfriend Kris and listen to Bird scream bloody murder until the childcare center would call my name to come get my kids.
I can’t even believe the ladies working childcare were so kind as to let me do this dance week after week after week knowing my son was going to have a hysterical fit and I was going to have to come back and get him 7 minutes later but they did. After week 3 Bird started to improve and would be able to stay 15 then 20 minute and slowly after about 6 weeks got all the way up to 1 hour in the childcare room and then….it was his favorite place! Herd and Kat were so grateful as they really loved playing with the other kids and toys at the gym and for a long time Herd really resented Bird for his need to cry and leave many new and fun places and who could blame him ( though I hate sib-shops because of that pity me attitude I do understand it is not easy to have a sibling with a disability really move on and be grateful it’s not cancer).
After this and many other situations exactly like this I started to realize that Bird (who from birth looked autistic) could be modeled but only with a significant amount of tenacity. I feel like Herd and Kat gave me a lot of the strength I needed to endure Bird’s strong desire to be at home knowing that they had the right to enjoy their childhood as well!
KAM worked so many hours when the kids were little I would take all 3 to the beach from the time they were 15 months alone just so they could have some fun and a change of scenery. In retrospect that was insane but I did it and thankfully they survived.
When I read article about parents who can’t take their kids out to dinner or to a park or some place knew I wish they had started when the kids was 3, 4 or 5 because it can be done. I have a friend named David (mentioned in my IEP blog) who’s daughter is heavily impacted by autism but still at the age of 13 we can go out to dinner and she is just fine because he has behavioral control. I believe constant exposure is vital to helping our kids and salute families who weather the stares and mean comments (by the way…FUCK YOU…to those parents…you don’t know!). It is so incredibly hard to raise a child on the spectrum that negative and disparaging words really take a toll even on the most stoic.
Long and short is the battle is really a tiny piece of the war and if you fight it now at 4 or 14 it will be a lot easier than 10 years from now!