This week, I realized something: I’m kind of a hypocrite.
I tell my daughter things like, “calm down,” “be patient,” or “don’t scream” almost daily. However, do I hold myself to that same standard? Do I follow the rules I try to set for her? This week, I was reminded that no, I don’t.
One day this week, things sort of blew up. I was being beaten on and screamed bloody murder at for not complying with Emily’s desire to carry around the entire bag/container of something instead of the portion I give her (that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you saw the amount of food I have to throw out because it’s smashed, smeared, or otherwise spilled all over the floor, you’d understand). After trying to explain the situation calmly several times and not being listened to because she was shrieking, I put her in her time out/calm down spot, in which she stayed about 0.3 seconds before flying at me again, smacking and screaming.
Finally, I screamed loud enough to be heard over her: “Just sit DOWN!!!!!!”
I realized right away that I’d just done something bad. You really shouldn’t SCREAM at any child, much less one with Autism. I walked away to collect myself so I wouldn’t repeat the mistake. I’d clearly reached my limit, I needed to remove myself from the situation.
I came back about two minutes later to find Emily sitting quietly at the dining room table (her “calm down” spot), with her little baggie of Gorilla Munch and her sippy cup. I praised her for doing such a good job, and she yelled an echo of, “just sit DOWN!!” back at me with her teary eyes.
So, I sat down in the chair next to hers and told her…
“Mommy has to sit in the calm down chair, too, because she yelled at you and that’s very bad.”
We moved on.