Stressors in the Home

fe7384c2b1261ddedd9d2245c23a8757One of the first things I bought Cooper was a pair of sweatpants from the Gap. I bought them on clearance when I was pregnant with him right after I found out I was having a boy. They are actually a 4T. When I found them I fell in love with them instantly and had to buy them. I never, in my life, thought he would be big enough to wear them. Sure as shit, I dug out the bin of 4T clothes this weekend. I just pulled them out of the dryer a few minutes ago. And cried as I folded every item. I thought he would be so much farther along by now. I thought for sure he would be saying words. Or understand playing. Or care about his brother. Age 4 is right around the corner. Another Halloween and Christmas with no understanding. Another birthday.

Every time we bring the boys in for a well-child check up the nurse always asks a series of questions. One of them is, ‘are there any stressors in your home?’ From the very beginning Jamie and I would ALWAYS answer in unison…Just Cooper. And then we’d laugh. The nurse would laugh. We were mostly joking.

This was a tough weekend. On the surface it was great. Jamie and I started P90x and got a few workouts in. (Yup, can’t move!) I cleaned and he did yard work. The weather was amazing. We even went back to the town we lived in when we got married for Heritage Days. Lots of family time. So, like I said, on the surface, it was a great weekend.

But underneath, it was freaking tough. And the stressors are more clear than ever. The no playing and only watching tv is taking over our lives. I have actually got to the point where Netflix gives me anxiety. There is no entertaining Cooper. And it’s exhausting. I feel like I have no control over the situation. Or his emotions. Or any of it.

Cooper is obsessed with watching Barney, Thomas or Cars. And ONLY Barney, Thomas or Cars. And ONLY the movie he wants to watch at the time. I once brought home Frozen from Redbox and he refused to watch it. He refuses to watch anything other than his movies. He controls the tv in the living room. He can operate the tv and dvd player on his own. I have mentioned numerous times that I have relaxed about the use of technology but lately Cooper can’t decide what movie he wants to watch. He will watch one and then want to switch it 20 minutes in. Heaven forbid we pick the wrong one. And it’s stressful.

Lately Cooper has been watching Netflix because he can’t operate the remote for it and we have more control. He will shove the remote in my face, hands, etc. He’s not mean about it. Actually, he’s pretty sweet. So that part is ok. The problem is that he won’t stop. And he very rarely gives up. He screams and shrieks and throws tantrums. And there are certain times when the internet doesn’t work at our house. When this happen, the shit hits the fan.

I feel like our living room is off-limits. Half the time the remotes need to be hidden and the tv physically unplugged from the wall. Cooper watches movies in our Yukon so if he can’t watch a movie in the house he will whine in the driveway to get in the truck. We let him watch movies on an old tv last weekend when we went camping so he will whine at the camper. And it goes on.

I once had an older woman say to me, “why don’t you just tell him no?” It was like she had this novel idea. Like, she really figured it out. It’s hard to explain. He doesn’t play with toys so he either watches tv, plays outside or wanders around the house. If we REALLY engage him we can get him to play with books or puzzles. So, if the tv isn’t on, he has to be 100% engaged. It’s extremely exhausting.

Cooper1 cooper2

And to make it even more stressful…It starts before 6 every morning. Usually closer to 5 AM. And if the Netflix doesn’t work then he will scream and wake up Sawyer. I am word vomiting here but it is just so freaking stressful. We are really tired and worn down. I know this is common for parent’s of kiddos like Cooper. And I feel for every one of them. It’s downright exhausting. Mentally AND physically.

And we had a bad church experience and so on. I was so defeated at one point that I said to Jamie, “there is nothing fun about him.” And he agreed. It felt good to say it. It was the most honest thing I have said in weeks.

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8 thoughts on “Stressors in the Home

  1. Oh girl i know the feeling! My life is constantly keeping Jackson entertained and doing enough with him til he goes to sleep at night. If i dont im afraid he will be able to display to me all the things he cant do yet and maybe never do?? I am in constant motion or maybe i will crack. Hamster on a wheel. Feeling like youre missing all the “fun” stuff in life? Yup. I am renewed by the little victories that are not frequent so i celebrate them like a mofo and i feel normal for a little while!

  2. You know I could have written this word for word. You just described my life. It is google images here and the non verbal trying to read their minds stuff is exhausting! Our kiddos are so visually stimulated that only technology seems to settle them. But it also over stimulates them and hinders their other skills.
    I could diagnose Cooper right now if you want? But the best thing I can offer is hugs xxx

  3. I was sent your blog from a cousin of mine, she wanted me to read it and see if I could offer you any help. My name is Ann and I have a 30 year old son with autism. As I read, my eyes fill with tears and I remember. It sounds exactly like my life, only 25 years ago. When we didn’t have internet, we didn’t have netflix, and I was a very lonely woman, because I was the only person around who had a child with autism. Chuck was very occupied with TV. He liked Sesame Street, Barney, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and lots of 80’s sitcoms. It wasn’t as if he controlled the TV, but I do understand what you are going through. Does he have any other intersts? Like a splinter skill, that possibly you could get him interested in? Chuck loved the alphabet, and still does. He would occupy his time playing with alphabet puzzles, games, there was an electronic game called a speak and spell which he loved and he played with it a lot. It was a good learning tool for him. I guess I wondered if there was another activity he would enjoy doing instead of always watching TV. I know how their insistence on one thing can be! I could get Chuck occupied with books, also, which helped some. Chuck would get violet and bite or pinch, when he couldn’t have something he wanted. He now lives in a group home, which is located 25 miles from our home. They have approx. 20 autistic adults there and he is very happy.

      • Gosh, no problem Kate! You have your hands full, no doubt about that. If you ever have a question or just want to “talk”, I’m here for you. Chuck is a very noisy fellow. There are times, when we take him out to eat or even to church, I want to yell as we walk in, “it’s showtime”! The stares at him are unbelievable!

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