Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Quiet Hands"

My son hit a baby in the childcare room at the gym.  I knew something was wrong by the quiet way one of the office people approached me on the elliptical.  A director was sitting outside the playroom with him, and my boy had no sense that anything was wrong.

When he saw me, his face lit up and he said, "Mommy!  Wanna go on the swings!"

No swings for him.  We've talked about this.  Very recently, he's gotten "aggressive."  He will pinch and hit me if I don't give him what he wants and will push other children for no reason.  He'll even say, "No pushing!  Pushing is bad!" as he pushes someone.

This is not the boy I know.  The boy I know might not listen, might laugh at you when you tell him to do something, but he is a sweetheart who would never hurt anybody.

Except he did.  I could hear the baby crying in the playroom as the mother emerged to say there was no calming him down and she was just going to take him home.  I felt awful.  She was just another drained mom who wanted an hour to herself.  I tried to apologize, but I could barely get the words out for fear of crying and she could barely look at me.  Who could blame her?  What do you say to the mother of a giant four year-old who's just hit your baby?

He was wearing his "Peace, Love and Autism" shirt.  Irony of ironies.

It's not just the embarrassment or the fact that I don't get an hour to myself, either.  What really breaks my heart is that my son doesn't seem to understand that hitting is wrong.  He sees the kid crying and it doesn't affect him.  He sees me crying and it doesn't affect him.

"Mommy's crying," he observed.
"Yes, Mommy is crying because hitting is bad," I replied.  "Hitting makes Mommy sad."
Then he smacked me in the face.

Reading this, you would think I have some kind of spoiled monster on my hands.  That's not him at all.  My son is sweet and affectionate and loves to cuddle.  I don't know where he went.  I've tried all the cue words from school, the "quiet hands," modeling appropriate behavior, time-outs, consequences, and nothing seems to stop him.

After a good cry, I resolved to call his doctor in the morning.  We need help.