When I say this was a very tough week, I am certainly not just talking about my own family. Living in Boston, it's probably been the toughest week for almost everyone that they've had in a long time---the horrible Marathon bombing, the shootout last night, the shelter in place order today---yes, not a week any of us want to relive. Most of all, of course, the families of those who have lost their lives, including the family of the little 8 year old boy who lived less than half a mile from Janey's school. We didn't know him, but I am very sure that many people I know did.
On a personal level, it's been a very, very tough week with Janey too. She was not happy all week. I'm sure part of that has to do with our preoccupation at times with the news, and her ability to sense our mood was not normal. It was vacation week, and she was home. We didn't have a lot of plans for the week, and even less once all the events started to happen. Janey spent huge parts of each day crying. She wanted school, I am sure. She was on a huge roll at school, and she seems to be in the middle of some kind of leap forward with thinking and talking, which is wonderful, but it makes for a hard time to be cooped inside. At a few points when she was playing outside, she decided it was time to walk to get ice cream, which is down the street, and rushed toward the sidewalk. Luckily, we have a gate on our driveway and no other way to the sidewalk, so she couldn't get far, but the gate isn't always closed, although it was those times. That illustrates why I don't try taking her many places on my own, and my teenage boys are less and less inclined to want to head out for a fun day with their sister. I can't tempt them with meals out or promises to buy something. They get as tired as I do of the stares. So when I'm on my own with Janey, I don't take her out much. And today, when we could have (Tony was home, as his office was closed due to all going on), we weren't supposed to leave the house.
Janey has actually been happier today. A lot of that is having Tony and me both around. She doesn't like to not have at least one person paying close attention to her. She gets that at school, and she wants it at home. She's quite chipper today with that kind of attention. But if we let our focused attention stray just for a minute, she finds a way to get it back, it seems, or she just finds a way to entertain herself---squeezing out toothpaste, tossing things across the room, smashing on windows, checking if the fridge is unlocked and taking things out, pouring soda after shaking up the bottle, putting things in her mouth like paper or yarn....it goes on. It seems like all week, it's either been the crying or the mischief. It's hard to say what is more tiring. I guess for me, it's the crying, but both are not easy.
I think also Janey is going through a growth spurt. She is hungry around the clock, hugely hungry. I remember both boys having a period of time like that when they were 8, and again about when they were 11. It happened just before they grew a lot. So that's not necessarily an autism thing, but it can be hard to keep up with her demands, as she doesn't much understand "Wait until lunch" or "You've had enough right now" She just repeats her demands over and over and over "Do you want to get me some bacon? Do you want ice cream? Onions, please, onions! Pizza right now! I need some nuts! You need some oatmeal!" Pronouns reversed or not, it's endless.
Overall, a week I would just as soon forget forever, for so many reasons. I am proud to live in Boston, which I can truly say is one of the best cities on Earth, but this particular week has been a painful one for Boston. And one that has made me think often that no matter how tough parenting an autistic child might be, I am lucky to have my Janey and my boys. Incredibly lucky.