We had to work late last night, which is a regular thing for Mondays. Our newspaper deadline is 12pm on Tuesday, so we complete the bulk of our paper on Monday nights.
When we got home from work, Todd and I noticed that Jerry was already in his pajamas. He told us both, separately, in 2 different rooms, that he had already had his shower. You see, he had called earlier and gotten our permission to go out and play Pokemon Go in the neighborhood, which we allowed as long as he was super careful and stayed away from the roads. So, in the heat, he would’ve been sweaty and definitely needed a shower.
I made the comment, “Why are you already in your pajamas? Did you even get dressed today, or have you already taken a shower?”
“I already took a shower!” he exclaimed cheerfully.
I was SO PROUD OF HIM and I told him so! I was elated! Jerry had taken a shower ON HIS OWN without us having to tell him to do it!
The feeling was brief. I went to the bathroom to brush my hair and put it in a ponytail when I noticed the bathroom mat wasn’t wet. When Jerry takes a shower, he doesn’t grab a towel first – he gets out of the shower sopping wet, and stands there dripping on the mat while he grabs his towel.
Hmmm. I looked inside the shower: bone dry. Walls, floors, shower curtain – not a drop of water on anything.
My heart sank. We just got home and we’re already doing this. Ugh.
I wanted to be proud of him! I wanted him to feel that I was proud of him! And by lying to me, again and again and again, he robbed us both of that feeling. That disappointed me more than anything.
I tried reasoning with Jerry – which his doctor told me is futile, but I don’t think that part of me can ever give up the hope of reasoning with him – I asked him if he realized how silly it was that I was that excited that he simply showered on his own. He said he did. But… Does he?
There are some mothers of special needs kids following my blog, and although they come here to read and relate with our journey with Jerry, I’m guilty of not writing about him a lot – for many reasons: His privacy, mainly. I don’t mind sharing, but Jerry might take offense to some of this when he starts surfing the internet, or yet, if his friends from school were to stumble across things about him. These posts will be long locked down and made private hopefully before that happens.
I’ve touched on Jerry’s trouble with the truth before. I read back over the post to refresh my memory, and honestly, not much has changed. There’s definitely no improvement.
Jerry’s psychiatrist is recommending he see a therapist that specializes in children on the autism spectrum, but I’ve yet to hear from them regarding that appointment. I’m about to become a squeaky wheel…
The lying has definitely become an entirely new beast – morphing, mutating, growing… it’s out of our control now, that’s for sure, and I don’t know what to do from here.
Jerry chooses lying over absolutely everything. If it were up to him, his day would go like this:
• Wake up whenever, usually after lunch
• Eat whatever he wants for lunch, regardless of -anything- amount consumed, how much left for himself or others, when I purchased it, who it’s for, anything.
• Watch TV, play games on phone, play on computer for the entire day
• Ignore all responsibilities or required chores
• Do absolutely no required hygiene (shower, brush teeth, deodorant, etc)
• Lie about absolutely everything when asked
Some of the measures I’ve taken to help him in his day have included a daily checklist with a reward system (failed, he just stopped doing the checklist) and alarms on his phone to remind him and help prompt him through his day (failed, he just turns them off, ignores them and doesn’t complete the task the alarm was reminding him to do – when asked why he didn’t complete the task, I’m met with ‘I forgot’ – but how did you forget when I reminded you?!)
Last year we had such a problem with Jerry eating foods he wasn’t supposed to (ingredients for nightly dinners, going through 2 weeks worth of snacks in 2 days, and hiding all of the trash from the food all over the house, etc) that we purchased a security camera that we can watch from a computer or our phones to check on him when we are at work. He absolutely hates it. He claims we’re “spying” on him. We explain it’s not spying if he knows we’re watching, and it only watches the living room and kitchen, so he still has his bedroom.
The security camera has helped a little bit, but he knows we can’t watch it all the time and he uses that to his advantage. But I have caught him doing some crazy things on the camera when he thought no one was watching: One time I caught him using Dylan’s BOTTLE BRUSH to clean the bottom of his boot. Yep. (He didn’t see what the big deal was.)
It’d be nice to have a 14 year old at the house in the afternoons to help out with a few things, especially with 2 parents working overtime every week with a 7 month old baby – simple tasks like dumping the trash, loading & unloading the dishwasher and tending to the cats each day.
We made so much progress with Jerry in his first few years here – he went from doing absolutely nothing for himself to functioning on the level of a high functioning child on the spectrum, almost to the point where you wouldn’t even know he had autism! I feel like we’ve taken some leaps backwards – Jerry struggles to do even the most basic things for himself lately. We have to remind him, prompt him through every part of his day – dressing, hygiene, bathing himself in the shower (he’ll just get wet, won’t actually use soap or shampoo), eating (he’ll just sit there transfixed on something until his food gets cold) – and now he has braces, and it’s of the most vital, utmost important that he take care of his teeth, and a few days after he got them he went to Virginia for 2 weeks – when he came back, his gums were swollen to the point where they were touching his braces, because he hadn’t been brushing or flossing. No doubt, he was simply lying to my parents – because why would a 14 year old lie about brushing his teeth?
Things are difficult. We’re struggling. We feel like we have no one to talk to, no one to ask for help, no one to reach out to for assistance of any kind. The psychiatrist just wants to talk about medication, the school seems to be all talk and no action, and I need more options.
I need to do some research and see what services are available to him that would be beneficial to all of us. I’m looking into Easter Seals to see if they have something for Jerry. Right now we’re trying to decide if Jerry needs an after school program or if we can do another tutor this year. He does seem to do better with one on one.
I’d love for Jerry’s afternoons to look like this:
• Get home from school, have a snack
• Open bookbag, put important contents on kitchen table
• Work with tutor on homework or wait for us to get home if he needs help
• Do his little chores (cats, dishwasher, trash)
• Once chores and homework are done, he can enjoy TV or electronics until we get home
• When we get home, we cook & have dinner together
• Take a shower & get ready for bed
I don’t think that’s too unrealistic.
He’s definitely capable. We’re not giving up.