Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sundays Fundays

I despise Sundays.  I know I am probably in the minority here, but I HATE Sundays.  I have often wished for a special power to fast forward through Sundays and skip directly to Mondays (one of my favorite days).  Let me clarify that I am excited to be joining a church that we enjoy attending and I am thrilled to share this Sunday morning experience with my family, but that ends for us at 10:30AM and we are then left with TEN hours to fill before Gabe's bedtime.  This is when my mood begins to sour.

Gabe does not play with toys.  He also does not play games and refuses to watch TV.  He is very difficult to engage in activities and has the attention span of an 18 month old on meth.  We would love to spend Sunday afternoons outdoors, but it is currently August in Texas and even Gabe draws the line at 100 degree weather.  We would also be happy to visit places like the Dallas World Aquarium, The Zoo, "Going Bonkers" or the local movie theater, but Gabe's severe fears, phobias, and obsessions make this nearly impossible.  So once again we are stuck at home, trying to engage our son in an activity (ANY activity) that will occupy him for several minutes at a time and get his mind off of the destruction he could otherwise be doing to our home.  Gabe has the uncanny ability to destroy things and in fact, this is one of his favorite past times.  Writing on walls, painting furniture, ripping up books and important documents, pouring out cleaning products into the sink, shaving cream into the bathtub and filling medicine bottles with water are his specialties.  If left with "down time," Gabe will partake in these destructive activities with great exuberance.  "Down time" also often leads to another behavior that is equally if not more annoying... the dreaded running.  

Gabe's "stim" is running.  (For those not acquainted with "stimming," let me briefly explain.)  "Stimming" is the term used to describe self stimulatory behaviors that are sometimes manifested by a child with Autism.  These behaviors are repetitive and provide some sort of comfort to the child.  For Gabe, this means running back and forth across a specific area of the house while making a particular humming noise.  He can do this endlessly, never tiring.  It breaks my heart to watch it and at the same time it is incredibly nerve-wrecking, especially if it has gone on for a lengthy period of time.  I allow it for short spurts because I know that it does meet some sort of sensory need for him and comforts him, but I am guilt ridden every time it occurs (MANY times a day) because I feel as though I should be doing something to distract him, but WHAT?  If he is doing this, it is usually because I am attempting to clean, do laundry, shower or any number of things that must be done.  (But I digress...)

This is why I become a curmudgeon on Sundays.  The good news is that I am usually quite cheerful and excited about Mondays.  I cherish days filled with routines,  like school and therapy. Does this make me a bad parent or would anyone feel the same if in my shoes?  

I will now stop rambling on about my aversion to Sundays and will instead go contemplate how we will spend the next 5 hours!!!

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