Two days of plans gone.

Shanna seems to be mostly better. Her fever is over, she’s eating, and she’s drinking a lot more without complaining. Yay! Calli is still a little warm, but she never got as sick. She’s eating and drinking well. *phew*

If they are basically healthy by Thursday I won’t feel guilty about going to Disneyland. So today we are once again spending the day sitting on our butts and resting. Seems prudent.

I’m told yesterday’s post is hard to follow. Fair enough. I am self-referential and stream of conscious. I think you have to be on the train a while before it makes sense. I’ve read other writers like that. The first few pieces are confusing and hard to follow until you really understand the rhythm.

I think it is funny that I no longer take such feedback as criticism or as evidence that I suck as a writer. Nope. Some of my pieces are genuinely hard to understand, yesterday just took serious thinking. No, I’m not someone you can skim half-heartedly and get the gist. Nope nope nope.

My goal in life is not to appeal to the lowest common reading level. Lots of other people write there, I don’t have to. (I’m glad other people do! It’s important.) My goal is to represent what I think. That means it isn’t always going to be simple or linear. I don’t think that way.

It is kind of funny how my goals as a writer are not for money or fame. It is to make people like me more comprehensible to people who are not much like me. I’m told regularly that I’m pretty good at doing that. Yes, I am confusing and hard to follow sometimes. I have a habit of directly addressing one person in one paragraph and then directly addressing someone completely different in the next paragraph and that is totally confusing.

Yup, that’s how I think. I’m trying to represent my thinking. Frankly, I’m amazed I have as many faithful readers as I have.

Having three days in a row of sitting around and resting has been lovely. Really it was four days of sitting around plus a 5k on the first day. But I sat the whole rest of the day.

(Jumping topics to Disneyland trip.) I’m trying to get my anxiety down low enough that I won’t freak out when someone else’s kids scream and I can’t get away from them for a few days. I love and adore these children with all my heart. I don’t begrudge them the screaming. I think they are behaving in a way that is unfortunately appropriate for them giving all of the factors in their little bodies. I’m not upset with them. But I have to be calm and accepting and the fucking grown up. I’m really shitty at being the grown up sometimes. I’m kind of an immature brat.

I understand the impulse that leads to shaken baby syndrome. I understand why parents beat their children. I understand why foster children are abused so much by their non-birth parents. It is much fucking harder to be patient with children I did not give birth to and I am not that patient with the kids I did give birth to.

But I’ve babysat these kids before for weekends and had a lovely time. We can get through. We will manage. It will even be fun. I just need to focus on managing my anxiety so I can be support in the ways they need me to be.

Yes, they will have their parents there and their parents will mostly handle things… frankly that makes it harder for me to manage my anxiety. When I’m the one who has to handle it and suck it up about my feelings… that’s easier. When I have to mask my feelings and remain inactive… I suck. I suck. I suck. I have such a hard time not flipping out.

But I’m going to do it! I will! Damnit. They will have a lovely introduction to Disneyland and I won’t be a raging bitch and it will be great. God damnit. If I have to fucking force this to happen through sheer force of personality.

I will not interfere with how other people parent. I will not lose my temper because other people are having feelings at a volume that is hard for me. I will medicate on a schedule so that I can be calm and accepting of other people having ups and downs. I have to be placid. I’m so shitty at placid. But! I have apathy enhancement medication! Apathy can be had for a price. Oh yes, it can.

Some day these kids will be fully verbal and the screaming will be less frequent. At least that is how it is working with my kids, I cross my fingers. Until then, I want to demonstrate that I can be safe when other people are having big, overwhelming feelings. When I am the adult in charge of them I can hug them and walk with them until they calm down and we do ok. I will find a way to be an ok presence in the room without being the adult in charge. God fucking damnit I will find a way.

A few years back the four of us went up to visit a friend I don’t see very often. I’ve only seen her in person half a dozen times. She has an autistic son–at that point I think he was around 13. When I walked into the room I was feeling cranky about something and her son started visibly flinching away from me. In a light, upbeat voice my friend told me that her son is really sensitive to people being angry and it would be nice if I could kind of reign it in.

I really struggled that day. Being told that me being angry and silent wasn’t ok… that I was still a problem… that was hard. Frankly it may be part of why I just don’t go to her house any more.

It’s true. I’m a problem even when I’m silent and angry. People notice and get upset and feel threatened and scared. I’m so sorry.

This feels unfair all the way around. Other people have the right to not feel threatened by me and I have the right to get angry about things.

It’s a lot easier to take all my anger and shove it in a box to keep it away from a 2 year old who is having a bad day than it is to keep it away from just about anyone else. I can (and have) successfully adapted for these particular kids in the past. I don’t know how I will manage to continue to put them in the “safe zone” as they get older. I’m so bad about partitioning only a few classes of people. I’m only willing to be protective of people who I perceive as deserving my protection in ANY case. I’m not very willing to shield people from my anger if they are otherwise not someone I would take care of.

I was thinking the other day about a friend of mine. She’s kind of sensitive after a life of people treating her pretty badly. Other people taking out their bad day on her is a serious problem for her. She needs to be treated how SHE needs to be treated regardless of how other people are doing. I totally get that. I think I have an interesting time thinking about her because I am projecting onto her. I certainly am the same way. I need people to learn what things are and are not ok to say to ME.

I’m a complete asshole about wanting to treat people however I’m in the mood to treat people today while simultaneously expecting other people to be rigid and predictable and perfect in how they treat me.

Once in a while someone tells me I’m “so brave” because I am “such an individual”. I always feel very confused by those statements. I am who and what I am. I did not become this on purpose. I didn’t start out with a goal of being a weird asshole. It just… happened. I’m not much like most other people I know.

That is not a negative statement about the people I know. We are all shaped by our experiences. I’ve had an unusual array of experiences.

I believe these children deserve to have me be nice to them as much as my children do. I think they deserve this because they have never done a thing in the world to try to hurt people. They are as innocent as the day is long. I am helping to shape their experience of the world. If I am loving and gentle and patient… they will learn how to be too. If I am impatient or a jerk just because they have feelings… they learn that they are an inconvenience and that they aren’t loved enough to deserve space for their feelings.

Really, I think all kids deserve me being nice to them. The trouble is coming up with the juice to be that nice. I’m really not that nice of a person. I think pretty much most adults deserve me being nice to them. Holy crap the sponge is dry. No more niceness soaked in to squeeze out and share. Sorry! No one filled me up.

I feel like I pass along the niceness I received from Miss Leslie. She was the yard-duty lady at one of the elementary schools I went to. She is the one who brought me to church and taught me a gentle, kind love for Jesus. She showed me how children should be treated. If I think back to the people who interacted with me during my childhood she stands out head and shoulders above everyone else in kindness.

It may be why I am so nasty when atheists attack Christians. Miss Leslie loved me and was so nice to me.

For later inspiration for older kids I go with Jenny’s mom. Jenny’s mom was a middle school teacher and she had an ability to deal with mouthy adolescents that really worked well with me. Ok, I have since learned she can be very wrong about some things. She doesn’t have accurate information on breastfeeding for starters. I feel like she was a very positive influence on my ability to be a teacher, though.

This is what I mean when I say I pick models and I try to be like them.

I feel like I should go meet a whole bunch of parents of autistic kids. There are a lot of autistic kids in my life. Several dozen if you look around widely enough. My friends are the parents of the very young ones. I need to talk to the parents of the teenagers. I’m not the parent of an autistic kid, but the parents of autistic teenagers can probably give me good advice about how to be an appropriate supportive person without overstepping boundaries.

Those boundaries are super important. And I suck at finding them on my own.

Work in progress. That is what I am. A work in progress. I’m trying. I am improving. Ironically it will be 8 weeks in between therapy sessions this time. I’m feeling more “ok” than I usually do with more frequent therapy visits. Hm. That’s funny.