Friday, January 25, 2013

Late January Update

Hello, Friends!

I've moved, and am settling in to the new place.  I'm also changing my day-job, and my schedule is a little odd.  And on top of those things, I injured my right hand in a cooking accident making it very difficult to type and impossible to knit.  I'll be back in the saddle again soon, and apologize for my absence.

In the meantime, the charity hat knitting is going well, and the Ravelry group has made and donated 30+ hats so far (that they've shown us)!  Woo hoo!  I finished one this month amid the chaos, and hope to do better next month. 

My daughter is doing much better, and by extension, our entire family is enjoying the peace.  Thanks for all the good wishes. 

Enjoy your fibers, and I'll be happy to share your comments and pics.  We'll talk soon!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Asperger's Is My Life, too

As I've mentioned before, my daughter has Asperger's Syndrome.  It's a high-functioning form of Autism.  What it means is that my daughter is incapable of social learning.  She doesn't recognize facial expressions, sarcasm, idioms, or most forms of subtlety.  She is immune to peer pressure, as she genuinely doesn't care what other people think.  She has no interest in fashion, what music is popular, doesn't attend dances or sporting events, or do anything social.  If you're unfamiliar with the syndrome, picture Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.  We don't have the good writers who make it all come out funny in the end.  Take that, add a violent temper and profound desire to lie and manipulate her surroundings, and that's my daughter.  I tell you this because coping with her has taken up huge amounts of my time and energy of late, and it's putting a huge dent in my knitting time and interest. 

The day before the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, my child had another of her violent outbursts, and I called the police for help and protection.  It was two weeks before her 18th birthday.  If she had committed the same actions once she was 18, she would have been brought to jail.  Instead, due to her age, she ended up spending the evening in the psych ward of the local hospital.  If you want more info on what living with this is like, please read the wonderful essay, I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.  I practically could have written myself. 

My daughter requires very frequent supervision.  Left to her own devices, she doesn't take her meds, bathe, or brush her hair or teeth.  She can't drive.  She doesn't eat fruits or vegetables most of the time.  She's a big fan of carbohydrates.  She occasionally cooks, but usually forgets to turn off the burner, and puts the dirty pot back on the hot burner.  (This has cost me 4 pots in the last year, because they were too burned to save.)   She spends most of her time on her computer or watching TV or reading.  She refuses to do chores. She is combative and/or self-serving in most conversations.  She doesn't do her classwork or her homework if she doesn't like the teacher, the lesson, or the subject, so in spite of her genius IQ, she is failing 2 subjects.  She is a compulsive hoarder.  And we are moving, but she won't pack her room or her zillion belongings.

Today is not an unusual day in that by noon, I had received two calls from the school, one from the counselling office, and one from my daughter claiming to be ill so I would come and pick her up.  I went to the school.  She's got a little pink in her throat, but no fever or swollen glands.  She's staying at school.

I'm still working on the move, and I have a head cold of my own.  After 18 years of trying to pretend that I'm just like all the other parents, I'm over it.  I'm not like the other parents.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm tired.  When people ask me how my daughter is, I never know what to say.  She's a very difficult person.  I love her, but I can't always explain why.  She's difficult to like.  People ask the polite questions.  "How's school going for her this year?"  "Does she have a date for the Valentine's dance?"  "She must be so excited about college."

"No," I want to tell everyone.  "Asperger's is her life.  And it's my life, too.  A successful day is when she hasn't blatantly insulted anyone, and she bathed and took her meds.  Everything else is just gravy."