Pretending You Don’t Care

51b22c1c59aa442c787a806eaa79c96dI think I am pretty good at pretending I don’t care about things. It comes with the territory I guess. I can’t get sad about every thing that happens. That is no way to live.

But holidays and autism will forever devastate me. And the holiday season is right around the corner.

I care a whole bunch about Halloween and Christmas and Birthdays. Judge away people. I know someone will want to tell me….”You can’t make Cooper celebrate. You are sad for yourself. You are sad because you are missing out.” And here is how I will respond.

HELLS YES I am sad for me.

As an autism mama I crave special moments with my son. I always will.

Halloween snuck up on me this year. Jamie and I had every intention of taking the boys trick-or-treating even though we both know Cooper won’t get it or even want too. We always try though. For us and for other people. We always try.

And to make matters worse….Sawyer had an accident. I’m not quite ready to share it with the world yet but I can say that he is improving and hopefully he will be 100% sometime soon. Anyhow, that’s not the point of the post.

The point is that this mom and dad are worn the F down. I get that. Sawyer has been extremely needy lately and per the usual Swenson crisis…NOT SLEEPING. My threshold for no sleep is right around 4 days and I mentally and physically shut down. I actually considered hiding under my desk yesterday. No go. I have a window.

I got home from work yesterday and the eleventh hour told me it was time to buy Cooper’s Halloween costume. I have been dreading this activity. The kid doesn’t get Halloween. He doesn’t care one bit. I also know he won’t wear hats and probably won’t wear a costume. And even if he decides to go to a house for candy he will only do it once or twice. He just doesn’t care.

But you know what…I care. I really do.

So, Jamie and Cooper and I went to Party City to pick out his costume. I had one thing in mind. Please let there be at least one character he can relate too. Cooper knows Thomas, Barney, Super Why, Elmo, and a few others.

As we stood there in front of a wall holding hundreds of costumes my heart just sank. My kid knows none of these. He is going to be 4 and he won’t wear one of these damn costumes. People were milling around and kids were shouting and excited and blah, blah, blah. Cooper sat in the cart and flailed. He wanted to be moving. He kicked and pushed at me and attempted on numerous occasions to knock stuff off the shelves. He likes destruction.

I was exhausted. Jamie was exhausted. Cooper was not.

I thought to myself…why can’t it just be easy. It’s a freaking costume buddy. It’s fun. Just wear a damn costume for me.

We picked out a fireman. Cooper doesn’t know what a fireman is so I asked Jamie to show him. Read a book or go on YouTube or whatever. Just show the kid.

And then I thought…wow, that’s kinda stupid. Wearing the costume is 10% of it. Being excited to show people and be with friends and get candy is the other 90%. And that part…I can’t teach him.

Damn holidays. So tomorrow I will pretend like I don’t care. Because that’s all that I can do.



7 thoughts on “Pretending You Don’t Care

  1. My kid is going to be a firefighter too. Last year was super Why (bought on Amazon.) I love thAt you guys try and just do it even when it’s hard. In our experience that has paid off with time. Hope tomorrow brings some smiles.

  2. I hear you about it being hard and I have lamented with my other half in more than one occasion about why can’t we just have fun???? Gah! Little things can be enormously ie hard to just get out of the door even. And I get that you are so sleep deprived because when that starts happening and they don’t sleep all my God it sucks. Patience is out the window. Holiday season is a time to celebrate and expectations are high and that’s okay. But one thing I really wish in my heart of hearts that you could try to do is take a step back and think and hope the deep down he is cataloging all of this. He is not acting the way other children act he’s not acting the way you expect them to act but I think it’s a really big assumption to assume that he’s not taking any of the this in. A lot of times kids on the spectrum and adults for that matter do not react to the world the things happening around them exactly the way we expect people to act. Imagine if you could get into Cooper’s head and find out what’s really happening when you’re talking to him about Halloween about cost Jim’s going shopping. At first blush it sounds like he’s a little boy that struggling with a lot more things and is struggling with the world around him. That’s taking precedence in until he can get a handle on that he won’t be able to put your priorities first.

    So I guess my advice to you is even if it’s super hard just have Cooper do a few houses. Dress him up have that moment of fun but don’t make it long like you would think you would do with a normal child. Why? Because my hope is he is taking all of this in and in the near future in one or two years he might just grab a cost gym in the store and shove it at you and say in his own way I want to wear it and I want to go out and trick-or-treat. From my experience I am learning right now that everything that happened around my son when he was four years old and even when he was three he was fully aware of everything and because he’s now speaking he’s letting me know that he was aware. Things that I didn’t think he was understanding or aware of or getting he did get. I am starting to write about this on my blog and somethings I’m holding my breath about wondering if he’s going to call me on it about something I did but he didn’t like. Good luck my dear and again it’s hard to do all of this when you sleep deprived let alone juggling two kids one with a disability. Hang in there.

  3. Mason HATED the trick or treating at school today-he was miserable. I felt so bad about it that I just put a pumpkin shirt on him and called it a night- no trick or treating for us. HUGS I hope you had a good night and at least got a few houses in

  4. I feel ya!!! Oh boy do I feel you! We tried to do this huge community trick or treating event (at the college campus we live near) My boys were super excited to get dressed up early and then we got there. My youngest got so overwhelmed that he had meltdown after meltdown. We couldn’t stand in lines, we couldn’t walk, we couldn’t do anything let alone trick or treat. We had to leave after only being there for 30 mins. I admit I cried a bit behind my sunglasses as my little guy threw his fit all the way back to the car. I just looked at my husband and said “No one can ever say we don’t try our hardest to do the *normal* stuff with these kiddos. I would just love to have the normal experience that other parents get to do with their children. And yes it may be just for me… but every once in a while I would love to know how it feels to just go do something fun without the shadow of autism over us….

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