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Language Log

Thursday, Jul. 08, 2021 - 8:49 p.m.

A little stuff today. Mostly transcribing.

MIL having trouble understanding what sorts of things she can say to Q and in what quantity that won’t upset her. It honestly comes down to stop flapping your jaws nonstop, and make the content of that jaw-flapping authentic rather than transparently designed as positive reinforcement or other behavior modification.

I can’t exactly say it like that. I did say she gets self conscious with too much praise, and I said that too much speech was overwhelming for her to process, so just maybe keep it to one or two short things.

MIL tends to want to lather it on until… well, I don’t know if she’d ever stop on her own. The effusive doting, it never ends.

Tonight Q told her “stop saying things like that”. And it’s the second time she’s done that since we’ve been here and I’ve been very proud of her ability to advocate for herself. Oh the first time it was, “Maybe don’t touch me.” It makes an autistic mother’s heart burst with pride.

What else. Ah yes well, E does this thing where he intentionally impinges on U’s space or touches him or kicks him or whatever and won’t stop when U tells him to. U eventually loses it, and then E acts like he’s a dying murder victim. Normally I 1. Get between them first if possible, 2. Make sure E isn’t injured, provide comfort 3. help U self-regulate by providing comfort and letting him vent about whatever frustrated him to the point of violence. 4. Comfort E more, and if he’s calm, have a talk with them both about how you can always walk away or don’t touch people if they don’t want to be and also don’t hit. Lessons dispensed.

Here MIL and FIL just rush to scold U, and comfort E, who makes an even bigger show of being hurt for them than he does normally. They don’t listen to find out what upset U such that he reacted. They just tell him “there’s no reason…”. Which is the opposite of helping him self-regulate. And I can tell by their expressions that they think I’m coddling him by, I guess, not scolding him immediately. By listening to him.

I guarantee he knows what he did was wrong and he’s already ashamed, though he’d never admit it. But scolding someone who’s already struggling with self-regulation and hates being scolded is not an effective combo. Sometimes I want to just let them do their thing and see how it goes, except I don’t really want my child traumatized.

After that it was pasta carbonara for dinner, and U… he still doesn’t always use silverware. But his lack of use of silverware is much more aggressive here because MIL can’t stop staring at him in overt horror and disgust the entire time he’s eating. I mean, it’s almost enough to make me want to forgo my fork too. Tonight he picked up the entire clump of spaghetti with both hands and was eating it like it was a sandwich. And she’s just fuckin staring at him. And wondering why his mother isn’t teaching him right.

Last time we had carbonara at home he used a fork, but he isn’t now because she just took the younger sibling’s side, told everyone he was “rough on” E, and he knows she hates it when he doesn’t use silverware. This is revenge, and it was all I could do not to laugh.

I can tell them exactly what my autistic children do and why, but they won’t believe me. They won’t really understand, ever.

She was lamenting over Q’s lack of friends… I was trying to explain. Not that I necessarily have a complete understanding of her social ambitions at this point, but I said, based on my own stuff, that some people have high social needs and some people have low social needs and people with high social needs sometimes have trouble really understanding that. She looked at me like she was very very skeptical. Point proven. (Like I don’t really get it when J tells me that they enjoy simply socializing for its own sake. Surely not? How could you???)

I get so very very protective of my ND children around them. I don’t have to be protective of E because they’re on the same wavelength. But the others, I really feel I need to protect them from their sheer clueless blundering neurotypicality.

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