Way To Go Cooper, You Broke Mom.

1d1d70991eea7d4c375f7fd573b08c23Ever since Cooper was 1 or so I realized that he doesn’t understand holidays. Or presents. And he doesn’t care about food so that part is out. He’s afraid of seeing Santa or the Easter Bunny so that is out too. And he hates activities so there is no dying Easter eggs or carving pumpkins. I can get him dressed up in a cute outfit but he won’t sit still for a picture.

Yesterday was awful for me. It was the worst holiday I have ever had. Honestly, I am not looking for a pity party in anyway. I just want the other parents out there with kids like Cooper to know that I get it. It so freaking sucks. And seeing other kids makes it SO MUCH WORSE. I know I should stop caring about stupid things like Easter Baskets and birthday parties. I can logically tell myself that Cooper doesn’t care and that I should get over it. Saying and doing are two completely opposite things.

Cooper is different. It has taken me 3 years, 4 months and 15 days to be able to say that without feeling sick. The differences are now blatantly looking me in the face. There is no more hiding them.

It started with the whining right away in the morning. Church was an absolute nightmare. To avoid the awfulness we decided to bring Cooper’s LeapPadUltra for him to play in the crying room. Normally, we would NEVER do this but honestly we just wanted a nice experience. As Cooper was ushered in the crying room he LOST HIS SHIT. We were a little late (also attributing to the horrible holiday) and we were trying to keep Cooper quiet. He doesn’t understand quiet. He progressively got louder and more worked up. I swear the whole freaking church turned around to see who was beating their child. Even the LeapPad couldn’t calm him down.

I found myself staring aimlessly out the window and repeating the same sentence over and over again. And over again. “Please, let him be different. Please let him be different.”

On the way home I said nothing. I am to the point where there is nothing left to say. Jamie said to Cooper, “Way to go Cooper, you broke mom.”

I gave him his Easter presents when we got home. A Thomas hat and shirt. A new truck book, a new train and candy. He didn’t care. He just wanted to watch a movie.

It’s not fair that he doesn’t care. It’s not fair that he screamed during our whole dinner or that Sawyer can’t nap because of the constant whining. It’s not fair that he is sucking every bit of life out of me and my husband and my marriage.

And there is no one to be mad at. I mean honestly, I can’t get mad at Cooper. He can’t help it. I can’t get mad at Jamie. I can’t get mad at myself. I guess I could be mad at God but what the hell will that do.

I am so scared that it isn’t going to get easier.

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42 thoughts on “Way To Go Cooper, You Broke Mom.

  1. Hugs mama, I’m sorry it was a rough holiday. I can’t promise you that it will get easier because to be honest, it probably won’t. But it will get different. You will find strategies for coping with the tough days, and you will find strength within yourself that you never knew you had. There will be flashes of joy so brilliant that they will carry you through the darker days. And there are lots of us out here who are grieving with you, learning with you, growing with you. This road is hard, but you are not alone.

  2. First….here is a big cyber hug 🙂
    I’d like to tell you that I had a perfect Easter Sunday with my son and my little girl’s excitement carried her for the whole day. I’d be lying. We endured 3 meltdowns. I say endured because it is what it is. Does it get better or easier? I would say you learn to read the signs, figure out the triggers, try and plan, but then know that no matter what you do things can turn upside down. My husband says that its like endurance training for athletes….our son needs to build up a tolerance to places and new situations especially when his routine is not present. We try not to push our son into situations but prepare him. When he was 3 it wasn’t easy by no means but we learned to have things nearby that would calm him and help him get through the situation. Holidays are the worst because its not “sameness” which some kids crave. I would offer an alternative thought….what if he does care but its all just too much? Its just way to over whelming and he melts down. Often children that are different present their feelings in not the usual way. It is not his fault. The world is just too hard for him to handle right now. Know that you can do this 🙂

  3. Now, you know that I have no right to comment at all because I have not gone through anything like this. All I can tell you is that it does sound like expectations and reality are not meeting right now and it sounds so very frustrating! Sending you good energy for this week! 🙂

  4. Sophie was like that with holidays, too. It was very hard. I remember one Christmas when had just turned 3 my Grandpa (who, lets give him credit, was like 86 and had lost his filter) told me if I didn’t discipline her better, she’d wind up in prison. That was a MERRY CHRISTMAS let me tell ya. I am praying for you every day. Some days like this will suck. But I believe that it can and will get better. Sophie didn’t start any therapy til she was 3 years and 8 months old. I know they aren’t the same kid, but I have lots of hope that Super Cooper will be enjoying holidays at some point. We weren’t able to sing “Happy Birthday” to Sophie without her flipping out until her 5th birthday. It was a very sweet birthday. You will have that with Cooper someday.

    • Just laughed out loud at the comment your Grandpa made. No filter. I love it! Sophie is my inspiration! I really do have lots of hope for Cooper too. So much of this is personality. I know that in my heart. I think I need another vacation!

  5. I know exactly how this feels. I dreaded each holiday, birthday and special event with my son. As a mom, we want these days to be wonderful and full of fun for our children. We want to make special memories for them. I used to get so angry with my son for ruining all those special days. Then, one day it hit that he doesn’t care. He wasn’t looking for a perfect holiday or memories to be made. He just wanted to have a regular routine day. It was me that was ruining those special days, because I felt like a horrible mom who couldn’t please my son. The point was, is that it was me who ‘broke’ me all those days, not him. It was my expectations that needed to be changed.

    • Thanks for ‘getting’ it. It helps so much. The funny thing about Cooper is that he doesn’t seem to care that it’s a different day or out of routine. It’s really hard to explain in text. It’s more personality wise. We were home and it was just Jamie and I. There were no guests. I think part of the problem has to do with his understanding. Meaning, he doesn’t understand the concept of a holiday. Like, tomorrow is Christmas and Santa is coming and then you get presents. That means nothing to him. I hate it.

      • That’s how my son was too. He always acted out on holidays, more than usual, which made those days terrible. But I think with him, it wasn’t the holiday that got him (because like your son, he didn’t know what that meant), it was my mood that set him off. I think he picked up on my tension and that ‘aura’ that I gave off caused him to throw tantrums, act out, etc. Finally, I got to a point where I treated the day as any other day. Instead of rushing around, trying to make everything perfect and showing any amount of excitement (in any form), I just let the day flow. We still celebrated, but without all the focus being on pleasing him. That alone took away the tension that seemed to cause all the chaos. He’s 14 now and over the past few years has become more excited about the holidays. He still doesn’t get excited like a typical child would, but he’s calm, looks forward to them and even gives me ideas of things he wants. So, even though his behavior isn’t typical, the holidays have gotten much more enjoyable.

  6. Kate, I don’t have any words of wisdom – I feel and understand your pain and frustration. I also understand your sadness at the complete lack of understanding in celebrating holidays or special events. Sending you lots of hugs!

  7. Have I told you lately how amazing you are? Because you are! Sending you a giant hug my dear friend 👭. I am so sorry yesterday sucked, but I have faith, that someday soon you will get to enjoy these holidays with your adorable little man.

  8. I get it, and I’m right there with you. I made a vow at the beginning of this year to treat holidays differently. Instead of expecting Jonah to act like all the other kids, I make a goal for him. A very small goal that I can celebrate in the midst of all the holiday chaos. Jonah’s goal for Easter: Get dressed, hold my hand instead of running away, and eating something at the family party. He ate a cookie, while hiding in a box, but he nailed my goals for him. So all the other stuff from the day didn’t matter as much, because we had something to celebrate.
    I know things will get better. Sometimes we have to adjust our mom goggles to see what “better” looks like.

  9. You are doing fab. I could have written this myself three years ago, two years ago, last year…and yes even this year too! My kid’s won’t eat easter eggs because chocolate comes in bars or packets not in egg shape! I think the big thing about these events is the expectation plus the fact that everyone seems to have the ‘perfect day’. But what I have realised is that only certain things get mentioned/pictured/written on social media. People want to put a ‘face on’ for the outside world.
    Thank you for being honest. I need to hear others go through this too. And because I have been there I cans say you are doing fab! I bet you kissed that baby loads that night. He won’t remember he ‘broke you’ so don’t dwell on it yourself. I love ya all the way from Scotland!

  10. Hi Love,
    What helped me at this stage (about a year ago) was to totally re-evaluate almost everything in Piper’s world. Anything that was too hard or even a slight risk of producing melt downs was immediately vetoed. Piper had, home, local shop, play centre and the local park as her destinations and THAT’S IT. I organised it so that I did everything else with only my other child or by myself. There was the odd specialist appointment but if there was a meltdown I could handle it because I wasn’t so burnt out from all the others that she would have had.

    I stopped trying to prove to myself and everyone else that things really weren’t that bad when I knew they were and I moved into some serious management of the situation. I thought about it like if my child were allergic to a particular thing, would I expose her to it constantly hoping for a different outcome?

    After a very long period, over 6 months of only taking her to these places and keeping everything mostly the same, I started changing it up. I would add in a library trip that week or a new park to play at. She took to this really well and now almost 12 months later I can pretty much (still with some management) take her most places. School discos probably still aren’t going to happen but the supermarket, local fairs and other peoples houses are much easier for her to cope with now that her sensory system is more regulated and she knows that after she gets to go back to the same old routine. – back to home base, back to safe.

    I know it’s devastating. Don’t give up. It’s okay to take Sawyer to church and let Copper do what he loves with his Daddy. My husband and have a moto that worked for us, it’s Divide and Conquer. One day soon you will be able to do the church outings as a family.

    Big hugs xx

    • This is the best advice. I love this. You know what’s really funny. If I take Cooper to therapy appointments I HAVE to take him alone. If I have Sawyer with Cooper acts way worse. But when my husband takes Cooper to therapy he always takes both boys and has zero problems. Cooper is so much more demanding of my time and attention than of Jamie’s. And so then when I tell Jamie how HORRIBLE Cooper is for me he doesn’t really fully believe it. Ugh. I think we are going to start doing church separately. I don’t want to but we can’t handle it as it stands. It wrecks our whole day. Hugs to you too! I wish we lived closer!

  11. Aww, I’m so sorry to hear that. Been there, done that, not fun at all. This was the first Easter my little guy participated in an Easter egg hunt, and he did great. But I practiced with him all week long. When I mentioned that to some ladies in church they laughed and one of them told me she got a kick out of us practicing egg hunting, that she’d never heard of it before. They don’t understand what it’s like to have to teach your child how to do EVERYTHING, including put eggs in a basket. But eventually, that child gets it. And they surprise you by collecting an entire basket of eggs and not having any meltdowns. And it’s worth all that practice over and over again to see that proud chocolate covered grin.

    Keep the faith Mama. It does get better. Painfully slow at times, but it does get better.

    • Hey Jenn,
      You are so right. I was actually nodding my head while reading your comment. People have no idea what it’s like to have to teach a kid to do everything. It’s emotional and exhausting. Cooper was asked in an evaluation a few days ago to point to the picture of ‘mail’ and ‘money.’ He didn’t know them. Those are 2 things that I am sure most kids just pick up on but Cooper would never even notice they exist. Ugh.

      • Yeah, money is such a hard concept for kids these days ’cause we use our credit/debit cards all the time. But yeah, I keep coming across concepts and words I realize kiddo doesn’t understand. For example, I realized yesterday that he doesn’t know what it means to point to something. So I spent about a half hour teaching him to “point to ____” and I would demonstrate on his hand pointing with one finger until he got it. And throughout the day I’ll randomly say something to point to, just to make sure the concept is cemented in that head of his. Sigh. It definitely is exhausting. But they keep learning, so just keep on teaching and suddenly, sometimes when you least expect it, it’ll click. 🙂

      • The pointing thing will come. Cooper used to have very weak hands (still does I guess) would point with his whole hand. Like, he would flop it down on a book or whatever. His therapist pointed this out to me one day and I remember being crushed. Something so simple. I spent days teaching him to point. We started with the fan and cars on the road, street lights, pictures in books, etc. And guess what, Cooper had an evaluation yesterday and the teacher said Cooper was the best pointer she has ever seen. I almost died. You got this mama!

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