My Spoiled Brat Self, a Wise Man, a Revelation, and a Song

BREAKING NEWS: Cody is on his eleventh aggressive-free day! Woohoo!!!

Cody can read my emotions even when I try to hide them. He just knows. Even the slightest change in the tone of my voice or a sigh will elicit a response from him.

“Are you mad, mommy?”

“No, why?”

“You just sighed.”

“Oh, I’m just frustrated about something.”

“Are you frustrated at me?”

“No, I just can’t get this program to work right.”

“Well, maybe you should just walk away from it for a while.”

“I can’t do that right now. I have to get this done.”

“You should walk away, mommy.”

It’s aggravating when your seven-year-old child gives you back the advice that you’ve given him, especially when you don’t want to take it. There is also nothing more eye-opening. When Cody is frustrated with something, I expect him to walk away from it and come back when he has calmed down. I rarely take my own advice.

It was during one of these interactions that I finally understood that EVERYTHING I do, think, and say affects Cody. There is a very small margin for error. I have to be an exemplary model for Cody if things are ever going to change. I want to fight this knowing. I want to scream “It’s not fair! Why do I have to change?”

Changing is very difficult for me. I’m an outwardly emotional person. Often the first thing that comes to my mind comes out of my mouth uncensored. Not a good trait to have with a child like Cody. But, I decided if I wanted my son to change, it would require a complete overhaul of…me. The first step was the decision to start taking ADHD medication again after a seven-year hiatus. This has helped me to think before I speak, especially in highly emotional situations. It has also helped to calm the paralyzing anxiety that has dominated most of my life.

It is clear that if I want Cody to do something, I have to also do it myself. I implemented positive affirmations and meditations into our daily routine. I started to be honest with Cody about everything including when and why I am angry, frustrated, or sad. Children with Asperger’s are not interested in emotions. They are only interested in facts. This means that I have to give in-depth explanations for everything in a way that he can understand. This takes an inordinate amount of patience and creativity even in the middle of the most stressful situations. It is a work in progress for me.

The most difficult change is letting go of my self-serving, immature thinking. I still have days when I walk around feeling sorry for myself and asking God, “Why me? Haven’t I been through enough? When do I get a break? When do I get to do what I want to do? Waaaahhhh!” But, those days are getting fewer and farther between as I move my focus to things more important than my spoiled brat self.

Last week a very wise person told me that before he came to this earth, he raised his hand and asked to learn about love. Since arriving, he has consistently come up against people who hate him. I told him that I wasn’t sure what I raised my hand for.

“You must have said you wanted to help people,” he replied.

Wow! That really hit home. Everything I have ever done has been with the intention of helping someone. I find myself in some of the most precarious situations because I have attempted to help someone who everyone else has given up on. But, learning to help people must not have been enough. I must have raised my hand again.

“Um, God?”

“Yes, my child?”

“I want more than one lesson to learn.”

He shakes his head slowly.

“Come on! Let me learn about balance, too! I can handle it.”

“As you wish.”

Oops!

Imbalance between helping myself and helping others is an ever-present theme in my life. I often sacrifice myself when attempting to help someone else with no thought of what it will cost me. It has cost me a lot.

For years I’ve been telling God that I want to help people, but I just don’t know how. I’ve had grand plans – become a lawyer to fight for the poor, become a mental health therapist, write an awe-inspiring life-changing book – but these paths were dead ends. I couldn’t understand why things never worked for me. What I didn’t realize, until I spoke to the very wise man, was that my prayer had already been answered. Cody is the person I was put on this earth to help! That revelation changed my perspective on everything. I’ve been given the best opportunity possible to master my life lessons – a child with autism.

***

Here is the song I mentioned in my last post. I made it up to teach Cody something important, but also to make him laugh when he is angry and kicking things. Cody loves rhyming; several times a day we have a contest to see how many rhyming lines we can come up with. It is one of his favorite things to do.

My hands are for hugging;

My feet are for walking;

My butt is for sitting in a chair

To comb my hair.

If Cody is really angry and doesn’t laugh when I sing this song to him, I reverse it.

My hands are for walking;

My feet are for hugging;

My butt is for sitting in a chair

To comb my hair.

That gets him every time. He just cannot help but laugh.

Till next time, notice the beautiful things, no matter how small. Even in the midst of complete chaos, they are there.

*Cody and I are in desperate need after being involved in a car accident. If you would like to learn more click here: www.giveforward.com/keepcodyathome. I would be so grateful if you would share this link with others on FB & Twitter. Thank you!

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7 Responses to My Spoiled Brat Self, a Wise Man, a Revelation, and a Song

  1. Sally says:

    Cody isn’t the only one you’ve helped. You’ve helped me to understand Aspergers. You’ve helped me to see how strong we can be when we are too tired but must. And you’ve helped me to walk in someone else’s shoes through your wonderful blogs and posts. Thank you for helping me, too.

  2. Wow – Eight days! That is amazing! I haven’t gone eight days without snapping at my husband since my second trimester started!! 🙂

  3. My oldest is almost 7. He does not have Asperger’s, but when he was 2-4 years old, I wondered and worried a lot about that possibility. I found out he was highly emotional, high energy, highly intuitive, etc. I decided to start explaining emotions and pretty much every situation to him at his level and it made a dramatic difference in behavior! I had a tough time with it at the beginning too, but it has helped me to figure out my own emotions (cause and effect, etc) a lot more as well. I realize that your situation is different, but I just wanted to encourage you to continue on the course! I have a feeling it with help you both in so many ways!!! ❤
    And that part about your son raising his hand to God…..it's still giving me chills! Kids are so in tune with the energy of this world, it amazes me!

    • Sarah Joyce Bryant says:

      That is exactly what I’m having to do with him. He is very very intuitive and sometimes it can be frustrating. I try to hide my emotions, especially when I’m angry, but he just seems to know. On my worst days, he has his worst days. There are just some days that are not good, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to keep my not so good days from turning into his not so good days. It is definitely helping me to figure out my emotions! He mirrors back the things that I do and say and some of it coming out of his mouth is shocking to me. Then I realize who he learned it from. Even if I’ve been rude to someone on the phone, he will mirror that back to me in another situation later on. It’s fascinating. That’s how I knew positive affirmations would work. If he could pick up on negativity so easily, surely he could pick up on the positive. Thanks so much for sharing about your son. I really appreciate it!

  4. Pingback: Lessons We Can Learn from the Little Ones « The Daily Hottentots

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