So I’ve been sick, the kids have been sick, the business license renewal has been held up for the last two months and two of the therapists who were ready to fly down have now withdrawn. Everything happens for a good reason. I remind myself of this not only because it’s true, but because that’s the only way to stay sane in a dramatically insane world. And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
So Khalid pinched Iman today, as he does roughly ten times a day or more. And it was quite hard, and it was unwarranted given that Iman was trying to show him how a party hat could also look like an ice-cream cone and was being insistent but not offensive and definitely not deserving of a pinch. I saw it happen from the living room window- she was holding a party hat in his face and try to show him- “Khalid look, it’s like an icecream! See! Look! Like icecream!” and he had already had enough of Iman for the day, so he got off his bike, chased her (shrieking) to the front door, and then grabbed both of her arms in what we call a pinch, but actually involves his whole hand grabbing her arm and then digging in. Iman’s arms are covered with nail marks, scratches, and bruises. It doesn’t help that most of the time, she’s the instigator of the fight and will try something insane- like whacking Khalid on the head with a wooden fishing pole just because he’s not paying attention to her- and then running screaming in the other direction while he chases her down and pinches in retaliation.
It’s frustrating, really. I feel guilty because Khalid resorts too easily to serious pinching and scratching that usually draws blood and Iman is on the receiving end of the pain. I feel annoyed with Iman, because she deliberately provokes Khalid to get a reaction out of him, but she’s usually trying to play with him, and when it doesn’t work, she then opts to fight with him. She doesn’t like to be ignored. Khalid doesn’t like to interact. She’s demanding. He’s autistic. Now what?
So Khalid pinched Iman, and I took him inside and put him on time-out. And then, because we had accidentally left the kids’ new Leapter toys (thank you Aunty Owlie!) in the car outside, I put on a scarf and walked out to the van to retrieve them. The automatic doors on the van aren’t working, so it was taking me a few minutes to get inside. I was pulling ineffectually on the handle when I suddenly heard the loudest, most anguished screaming from inside the house. I ran back inside to find Khalid shaking, in tears, mashing his face in his hands and crying so hard he could barely breathe. This from a boy who busted his head open on the wall last month and didn’t shed a tear- and I realized- he thought I was leaving. Because Iman had followed me outside of the house, Khalid was left alone on time-out, and he thought he was being walked away from. He couldn’t see Musfira in her baby-gym from where he was sitting, and he did wait for a minute or so (as I struggled with the car door) before going into panic. But he thought I was gone. And he was terrified.
So Iman and I hugged him, and hugged him and hugged him and hugged him, and when Musfira started crying and I went to pick her up, Khalid followed behind me with his arms around my leg and wouldn’t not allow any distance to come in between us. So I fed Musfira and Khalid hugged the parts of me that Musfira wasn’t taking up, and we talked. I told him I was NOT leaving, that I was sorry he had gotten scared, that I would never leave him alone, that I loved him, that I would stay with him, that I would never abandon him- anything I could think of that he could understand. Eventually he calmed down and wandered off to play his Leapster. And then I remembered that he’d reacted similarly when we dropped HF off at the airport when he was leaving for Umrah. And then I remembered that once upon a time, Khalid was my shadow, and the hardest thing (apart from closing the bathroom door, ever) was leaving him by himself in a room without me. It was always a meltdown. Khalid has, and has always had, separation anxiety. Some children with autism are indifferent to the presence or proximity of other people. Khalid was in panic without it. And I forgot- I walked out of the house without him and gave him the scare of his life.
Guys, my mother of the year trophy is so big I’m going to put it next to the house and rent it out as a studio.
I’m not done feeling guilty yet, but I do have other things to blog about. Like Iman- who is lovely in addition to her aforementioned deviousness.
“Momma, you have three babies! Khalid, Iman, and Musfira!”
“Yes, and Khalid got bigger and now he’s a little boy. Iman got bigger and now she’s a little girl, and every day Musfira gets a little bigger but right now she’s still a small baby.”
“Yes, a gift from Allah! Inna gift box!”
Makes sense. Gifts do come in gift boxes, do they not? :p And then a few weeks ago I was driving Iman to the beauty salon to have her bangs trimmed, and I said:
“Iman, thank you for coming with me to the beauty salon. I love it when come for a drive with me.”
Iman replies: “And Momma, I love it when you drive, and when you sit with me, and also, when you talk to me, and go shopping, and when you hug me, and when you laugh, and when we go to the beauty salon, and also? The park!”
And then yesterday: “Momma, I love you. *happy smile* Can I have gummy bears?”
Oh, and Musfira. She’s developing the grab-and-cram reflex. She’s still kind of slow about it, because she looks like someone trying to operate their arms underwater and through beer-goggles, but if you try to drink tea anywhere near her, her little arms will stretch out and she exerts the most adorable, wobbly sort of concentration to grab the cup and ideally cram as much of it into her mouth as possible. Obviously, this does not work for tea cups. This does work for toys though, and her blanket, and my scarf, and often, the corner of my skirt if I’ve been standing in her vicinity long enough. Yesterday she grabbed two big handfuls of my face and -plop!- landed her open mouth on it and attempted to chew my cheek, chin, and jaw in a surprisingly high-speed attack. It’s the cutest sort of ambush, and the only downside is that at any given time, most corners of whatever I am wearing will be damp and lovingly chewed. I feel like a walking hors d’oeuvres. It’s very validating. I may not be yummy mummy, but I am a tasty one. 😀
Oh, and on Thursday Khalid’s shadow teacher was unable to make it to school, so I shadowed Khalid in school for the first time ever. But that’s another post for another day, and it’s 5am right now. Alhamdulillah 🙂