Monday, May 16, 2011
Lately my son has been having more cases of anxiety. The attacks are suddens and without warning. The other day it was a footlong large pipe cleaner that caused his anxiety. How can something so harmless scare him so much?
It was bedtime and both my husband and I were home. I had read him his bedtime story. No matter how much my husband tries to get me to stop reading to him at bedtime I will not. It is a special time for us and it helps him know that reading is for pleasure. Of course he challenged me and I didn't back down. Bedtime stories are too important.
Our son had just gone into his room for the night and the next thing we knew he was screaming. I have heard him pretend to be scared, I have heard him scream just to get our attention and I have heard him scream from terror. This was the later. We both reacted quickly and tried to find out what was wrong.
The look on our sons face was all I needed to see to know he was scared. He was screaming and would not calm down. I tried to comfort him to find out how I could help. My husband however was mad. He didn't seem to want to know why our son was scared. He just wanted him to stop. He is like that with me too. he doesn't care why I am upset, or why I am feeling like I am. He just wants me to stop. Sadly he has said this to my face.
I hugged our son tight and got down to his level. I looked him in the eye and helped him calm down. Only when he is calm do I get an idea of what is causing the terror. He sees something that he calls a monster under his bed. Of course now daddy is more upset. There are no such things as monsters. He is eight years old and should know this. He is being ridiculous and just needs to "be a man" and go to bed.
When I was a child I was convinced there were snakes in my room and I remember running downstairs so scared. My parents listened and my father would go upstairs and remove the trespassing snake. They don't remember doing this, but it is something that is unforgettable to me. Today I know that there was no snake on my pillow. I know my dad didn't have it in his hand and I know he didn't put it outside. But my parents made me feel safe and if they had to get the "snake" out of my room and actually go through the motions of taking it out of the house.
Then this weekend insects became the stressor for him. Again this was at bedtime and both my husband and I were home. It was after our normal bedtime routine and was sudden. He went into the kitchen to fill up his water bottle. Then he just ran screaming out of the kitchen in terror. He saw a flying spider. Just the day before he had found a spider in his room. Now that I recall that incident it also was at bedtime, but it was just me home that night. He had no fear during that incident. We also have a pet tarantula and he is not afraid of Hannah at all.
It was a cranefly and they are scary looking, I can see why he called it a flying spider.
Finally I redirected his attention. I noticed that somehow even after he had taken a bath and washed his hair he still had some grit in it. Mommy idea of the night popped into my head nad I suggested he take a bath and re wash his hair. I instructed him to do two shampoos and to make sure he really massages the shampoo into his scalp. Bingo, he was no longer thinking of the scary flying spider and into the tub he went. The crisis had ended.
Now his daddy during this episode was mad, he called our son a cry baby and just wanted him to stop making noise. He was lying down on the couch and didn't budge at all to try to calm our terrified son down. There were extra snuggles for my son that night after the bath, I wanted him to feel safe and secure. As for daddy he dozed off while the bath did its magic and didn't bother us again that night.
Two fears in the span of a week. Two moments of terror for my son. Luckily there were also two calming events as well. Was it the asperger's? I think maybe it was. Luckily I was there for both events. I worry that I won't be there for the next one and I wonder how my spouse would handle it when it is just the two of them. I wish that didn't scare me. I shouldn't have to worry about how a daddy interacts with his son, but I do.