Autism humor. Sounds like an oxymoron, does not it? But hear me out. Raising a child with autism takes a lot of effort. It's loud, exhausting, painful, and last but not least, emotional. It's easy to become depressed when you look back on the day and see how many times a meltdown could not be avoided, or focus on the outgoing that should have been simple but was not because your daughter needed to feel the floor on her hands and walked around the store like a dog only to be stared at and judged with their eyes as to why anyone would let their child act like that. Maybe you are stuck on the fact that you could not get them to eat anything along sticks sticks and Greek yogurt or that you lost your cool (like you had any to begin with) when you forgot that she takes longer to process requests and yelled at her when she kept staring at the wall when she should have been getting in the car.
Whatever happened that day, I find that I end up comparing myself to the “perfect” moms. I know that it's counterproductive and that I am comparing myself to someone who does not exist (nor does this non-existing mom have a child with autism) but I can not help myself. However, I do have a way to shift my focus. I like to find the humor of the day. It can be as simple as laughing to myself about the outfit she picked out that was completely cute but now near matching. These are a few of my favorite stories that I like to look back on and just laugh hysterically as I reminisce and see that even rough days have humor to be found in them.
When my daughter was about 20 months old, she started showing signs of her op-positional behavior. One day at lunchtime she kept throwing her food off of her highchair tray. After a few back and forths of me telling her no and her doing it anyway, I smacked her hand after she threw her lunchmeat off again and told her “no no.” I stand there as she stared me down with the icy glare that she has patented now, she thread more lunchmeat down. I was shocked! Before I could do anything, still staring me down, she smacked her own hand twice and goes, “no no mama.” Needless to say, nap time came early that day.
Another time, when she was three, she was acting like a dog. Panting, walking on all fours, chasing a ball. I was so impressed that she was actually pretending to be something other than a princess (she struggles with using her imagination and we are pretty sure she legitimately believes that she is a princess) that I said, “Awe, what a cute puppy you are ! ” Well, I said too much. She immediately turned to me and completely deadpanned says, “I do not puppy.” I Princess Chloe. ” And then got up and walked away. She looked at me like I was the dumbest person she had ever seen. Like she was thinking, “who pretends to be a puppy? What a dummy.” And I have not seen that puppy since.
And this story just happened a few weeks ago. I had just put the kiddos down for their nap / quiet time and went to clean out my car. As I walked in from the garage I heard screaming coming from her room. I was panicked as I ran to her. I burst into her room expecting to see blood or a broken bone. Nope. She turns to me and goes, “I go to da 'Mergency Room!” I ask her why and as she tries to stop crying she tells me that she had pushed a bead up her nose. Now what you do not know is that 4 weeks ago she did the same exact thing with a crayon. I dropped my head in disbelief and called her daddy to come home a watch her brother so I could take her to the ER. She was in Heaven in that waiting room. Over two hours of watching her uninterrupted is her dream and she was living it that day. We were finally called back and within 3 minutes of sitting down in the bed, that dang bead dropped out of her nose all by itself. And it was so far back that I could not see it at all! So I called the nurse and told her that it was out. Another 30 minutes and we were discharged. So all in all, we spent over three hours in the ER only to have it come out on its own (I drop my head just thinking about it). Oh and did I mention that it was date night and we had not had one in months …
So the next time you catch yourself in a low place because of how the day ended up, find the last comedic Autism moment and just laugh. There is a reason that they say that laugh is the best medicine. And trust me. You will find your Autism humor. Even if it's in the lowest of doses.