Parenting a spectrum of girls

Word…

image

Our cat Recycle

What a week!  I’d say I’m glad it’s Friday, but my husband is working Saturdays and we have a busy weekend.  Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all awful, there have been plenty of good things this week such as K’s conferences, being able to get her signed up for the last ACT of the school year at the last minute and A’s soccer practice.  It has been very busy though (I haven’t been home any evening this week and had lots of miscellaneous things to do like FAFSA…hardly fun) and overall challenging.  M has had a bit of a difficult week as well.  Today she had a few smallish meltdowns and a number of tics including constantly clearing her throat and smacking her jaw shut so her teeth clatter together. 

Then there was Wednesday…

M and I were hanging out on my bed.  Recycle (our male cat pictured above…his name is a long story that starts with him being found in a dumpster and ends with us adopting him) did something that M didn’t appreciate, I don’t even remember what it was.  M responded with “F*ing cat” (using the ACTUAL WORD which I could never in my life bring myself to say). 

I said “you can’t call him that!” (Shocked, of course, since we don’t say that word, or any cursing)

“Yes I can.  F*ing cat.” (Matter-of-factly)
“M, that is a very bad word and we don’t say that word.  You can’t say that word, OK?” (Panicking a little bit)
“Yes I can say it Mom, it’s easy.  F*ing, see, I can say it, it’s not hard.”

Now if we were talking about a neurotypical child I am sure they would be in trouble for being sassy.  But M is incapable of sarcasm and was completely serious.  She did not understand what the problem was and takes things very literally, so when I told her she couldn’t say it she thought I meant she was literally incapable of saying it.  I let her go for a little while.

Later that evening before dinner I found M and told her that is a very bad word and she is not allowed to ever say it.  When I asked if she understood she said “yes, Mommy”.

Some background:  I know she heard this word at least twice at the beginning of the year at school from 2 different boys with special needs along the same lines as M.  She had told me about it and I purposely didn’t give it much attention except to calmly remind her that is not a word we use because it is naughty.  I never heard anything about it again until a couple weeks ago when she called A an f*ing idiot, at which point she lost her “Friday treat”.  Every week each girl has to complete a certain goal and display good behavior, and on Friday they get to choose a small treat like chips or lip gloss.  I thought that was the end of it. 

Tonight I took M & A to get their Friday treats.  K did not earn hers this week and M was really on the edge due to using that word, and hurting me during a meltdown yesterday.  But she was pretty good today so I took her to get the fruit roll ups with tongue tattoos she wanted.  When we got home A, the last one out of the vehicle, asked M to close the door.  M went back to close it but said “why can’t you close the f*ing door yourself?”

URGH!  REALLY?!?

So I took her bag with her treat that she was SO CLOSE to having and told her that I could not let her have it tonight.

She begged.
She cried.
She said she understands why she can’t use the word, now.
I really, really wanted to give it to her.
She was SO CLOSE.

But I am a mom, and try to be a good mom, and being a good mom is not always fun.  It really did hurt me to not let her have her treat.  But I had told her one more incident and she couldn’t have it, and I had to stick to my word.  And I have to help her learn to control her compulsions.

This awful mix of ASD and OCD.  We worked and worked to get her not to say “I’m going to kill you” (oh, which she also said today) to help keep her safe and from getting expelled from school.  She has certain obsession words.  When she is anxious her primitive fight-or-flight brain gives her an overwhelming compulsion to say that word/phrase, and when she says it she feels better.  We know we can’t take away the compulsion so we have tried to change the obsession.  Apparently nothing we have tried has been strong enough to hold, so she has resulted in this very strong word as a replacement.  The problem is, aside from being wildly inappropriate, it will also probably get her suspended if she says it.  And she does not have an IEP to protect her, either (long story there).

I have had enough drama to last the rest of the school year, at least, but I am sure it is not over.  Hopefully we can now find a good replacement for her new word, before summer break when she will be extra stressed by the much less structured daycare routine and much more likely to be unable to control herself in public as well as at home.

I think all I need for Mother’s Day, is to never hear that word from my child’s mouth again!

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