So... Wednesday afternoon we had this and then Thursday, after school, we had this. But, after nap on Thursday, Bobby seemed back to himself. We went to Mr. B's and our only issue was at closing time, when he didn't want to leave and I had to go up and get him. Which is actually normal. (But, note to self: that 4 story climbing thing for those ten and under was not meant for a 30w pregnant woman.) We went to our favorite pizzeria and, although we had an issue, it actually went fairly smoothly (I was just exhausted and we opted not to do minigolf and ice cream and, instead, to go home and watch a movie until Peter got home from his conference, at which point, I went to bed.) Bobby was eating and I asked him to try something; he said no, so I said that I'd put it on his plate and he could try it later. Well, some of the sauce touched what he was eating and he was upset. The entire episode lasted maybe 2 minutes, but he actually self soothed himself as I calmed him down, and, while it wasn't the ease that we've had before when eating out, it could have been way worse (especially given the hour from hell we'd had before lunch). But, all in all, went well. Friday, he seemed back to normal. And then, yesterday morning, we went to the Farmer's Market and, again, normal. We all had lunch together and then I put the kids down to nap.
And, afterwards, Bobby had a 102 temperature. And he's still sick today.
And I feel AWFUL.
Bobby struggles with pretty nasty allergies around the season changes. We've never had a spring one evolve into something worse, but fall to winter usually leaves him with a cold/fever combo. On Thursday, his teacher and aide had mentioned he seemed unusually tired and lethargic, but we all wrote it off to a growth spurt because he's been eating like he's starving (they both have... out of house and home people!). I've had to toss (for both of them) favorite clothes because they are just too small, when they were fine a month ago. So, makes sense.
And, I had done a verbal social story (I'm still working on the written one) about school ending, which I think set him off because he doesn't process data fully that way. I told him about school ending, vacation, summer school/camp starting, and back to school in the fall, and all he heard was "school is ending". He didn't grasp the concept of when or that he'd go back. (And a huge thank you to everyone's suggestions for ways to keep him "with" his teachers. Sarah suggested he make a picture for them to remember him by (lest he feel forgotten by these folks he loves so much), I've had suggestions to get photos of all these folks with him so that he can keep them and look at them over the summer, as well as to get some video so he can still be with them. These are great suggestions, and I really appreciate them.) So, it's no wonder that he freaked out after the good-bye song, when he thought he was leaving for good.
But the fit at home... I think I missed the other signs that he just was starting to not feel good. He's very much like me in that his sicknesses don't come on overnight (like they do for Maya and Peter), they usually take a couple of days. While some of his behavior was definitely meltdown behavior (the kicking when I was trying to get him out of the car, the nonstop screaming about staying at school, etc), some of it, Peter and I both think in retrospect based on yesterday, was him trying to tell us that he was hurting and sick, and I just didn't get it, so it ballooned.
He was scratching at his face and ears and saying "hurt" and that his skin was stretching. He was banging his head against me and against the floor and signing "hurt" or "sick". He would look at me and tell me he was hurting with "Mama, hurt". And I kept thinking his heart was hurting (because of school) or that he was hurting himself because of his actions. Not because he was hurt and was trying to stop the hurt with his actions.
I get awful migraines. I haven't had too many since the kids were born but when I get them, I actually hit my temples to try and mitigate the one pain with the other. And, whenever Peter or I get sinus headaches, we both talk about how much it feels like our heads are going to explode. For a child who cant communicate functionally exactly what hurts and how much, it makes sense. His face and sinus were hurting, so he was scratching at his face to try and stop it. His head was hurting so he was hitting it to try and stop it, not realizing he was only making things worse. He used the words he knew- hurt, sick, help- but the person he was talking to was seeing something completely different.
He was asleep within minutes after lunch, and when he woke up, 2 hours later, he seemed fine. He seemed to be more tired than usual for Friday and even on Saturday, but he was eating and sleeping fine, and was playing like normal. He was coughing, which is usual for his allergies, but otherwise, a-ok. Then the fever. And then the trying to tell us and, because we got it, no meltdowns.
He would say or sign, "sick" or "hurt" or "help" and this time, we could say "Does your head hurt?", "Does your stomach hurt?", and he would nod or just lay on us, like YES! YOU GOT IT! FINALLY! Yesterday, he spent much of the afternoon on Peter or I. He would play when he was up to it, but then it was back to snuggles. By dinner, he was hungry and ate... only to throw it all up and then some after. But, even as he cried and was upset, because he was understood, he was okay. He was comforted and we knew the problem and talked to him and, if we missed something, he would interject with a word or two or a sign to let us know that we were slightly off base. And it was all good. He didn't feel up to cleaning up his toys or taking a bath and just wanted his PJs and bed, no story. But he did want to pray beforehand. All things that, had we written this off to a tantrum, would have actually causes a breakdown because we couldn't understand his needs.
I'm grateful for ASL and the speech therapy he is getting, in addition to everything else, because it's giving him an outlet. Sometimes (most times, actually), it isn't Bobby that is the issue- it's me (or Peter) not understanding what he is desperate to say. And, like I said, part of the issue on Thursday was very much a meltdown because of his neurological state; but I think a fair amount was that he was starting to feel sick, wanted me to get that, and I was so blinded by being hit out of left field with the breakdown that I just missed every single marker and thing he was trying to tell me.
I feel so sad for him. I know how much he wanted me to help him (because of how much he is telling me now) and how I missed the mark. When I told him I was sorry last night and that I just didn't understand, he pulled me into this huge hug and said "Mommy's here... so much." It's his repeating of me telling him that I'm here and that I love him so much. It broke (and melted) my heart.
Well, I've promised Miss Maya a girl's morning and lunch because she has been SUCH a huge helper during the last few days, and I want to snuggle with my Bobby before M and I head out to church. But thank you a million times over for your prayers for all of us and your wonderful suggestions (as well as putting me in contact with other parents you know who have ASD kiddos). You guys are awesome. :)