Being Fluid

The best, most valuable lesson I have learned from having a child on the autism spectrum is: be flexible.

I don’t get it right every time, but over the last several years, I have learned Β to get it right the majority of the time. And when I forget. When I forget….that’s when a whole heap of pain is headed my way and quick.

This morning I picked out an outfit for Riley (choices are sometimes overwhelming, if time is of the essence and today it is). She balked. I was frustrated and in a hurry, but instead of digging in my heels dictator style and insisting she just get dressed, I took a breath and asked her why she didn’t like the outfit I picked out. One of her favorite shirts. Pants with no stains. It all matched, which is important to her.

“I like it, but the last time I saw M. (whom she’s seeing today), I was wearing that.”

There is always a reason behind the behavior. Even if she doesn’t articulate it.

We could have had a really crappy morning had I “been more firm.”

“Being more firm” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“Being more firm” is often a recipe for disaster.

Being fluid is what has saved our mother/daughter relationship.

And as I’ve learned it, she’s learned it.

Recently she’s taken to debating with me, instead of having a meltdown when we disagree. A huge and wonderful step. And beyond that, she’s listening and sometimes even saying,

“I see your point.”

When you’re willing to see someone else’s point, they’ll often be willing to see yours.

My girl taught me that.

She’s dressed, and ready to go, and I even had time to write this post.

It could have been a very different morning.

12 thoughts on “Being Fluid

  1. Congratulations! Firm is very close to rigid which is very close to recipe for disaster. You two are Mah-velous!

  2. You always write with such grace about the infinite challenges you face —

    Thank you for commenting on my Hopeful Parents post! I hope you’ll send me a photo for the project and let anyone else that you think might be interested know about it!

  3. Kid on the spectrum or not, that is some valuable advice, my friend! Don’t you just love this age of technology where we can all give each other new perspectives to make all our lives better? I do!

  4. You have it exactly right Michelle πŸ™‚ My girl has taught me the same lesson…And it is so awesome when our kids can “see our point”.

  5. Amen. Good reminder for all of us!
    I loves me some fluid.

    …okay, that sounds wrong. But you know what I mean.

    πŸ˜‰

  6. What a wonderful reminder for me right now. Flexible.

    It always amazes me that sometimes the reasons are very simple if we ask the right question at the right time. The memory! I don’t remember things like that now (I also have a very limited wardrobe) but I do remember remembering things like that as a young girl! Not a big deal to us, but some things are a big deal to them!

  7. Love this illustration. Even when the reason isn’t quite as logical as Riley’s and even if we can’t accomodate it every time, the reasoning behind the tantrum needs to be heard and validated. Frig, I wish I could remember this more often…