Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm Dumb. Yeah, you heard me, DUMB...potty training a child with HFA


Rewind: I was at the grocery store shopping. Both of my sons needed diapers My 3 month old and my almost 5 year old. Having to buy size 2 AND size 6(as well as pull ups) put into sharp relief that my boys were on the same level, at least in regard to toileting (or lack there of). I started doing the math looking for a deal; the top of the line diapers for the baby were about .25 a diaper. Okay that's fine. Then I did the math for Emerson's- .35 for the cheaper brand....WTH!! I don't really know why this bothered me. My son is autistic, I know that everything is going to take longer to learn, if it EVER gets learned. But for some reason It pissed me off! I left the store with NO pull ups and NO bigger diapers.

Emerson had a nasty diaper rash(maybe that is why I was pissed about diapers) After his bath I decided to let him go bare-bottomed to air out, free-range Emmy, and deal with an accident when it happened.... The rest of the week I just let him be naked after school (the rash was THAT bad) I kept taking him to the bathroom to sit on the toilet and try to get him to go. IT WAS HORRIBLE. He would spend the whole time screaming at me, getting aggressive, and I could feel myself loosing it. Spending months working on eye contact, years on talking, every moment on learning how to play and interact with others, those all pale in comparison to potty training. They seem like a walk in the park in comparison! (they weren't) I felt like giving up, so I sort of did. I was so frustrated that the thought of just cleaning up the mess after an accident seemed like an exceptable alternative to loosing it with my child and turning into REALLY mean mommy (I know, I suck)

So I'm sitting on the couch nursing the baby while Emerson is playing on the floor with his cars. I half heartedly ask him "Emmy, do you need to go to restroom time?" "No, I need play." Okay. 10 minutes later he gets up and runs to the bathroom and pees in the toilet- WHAT?!

Okay heres the part where I'm DUMB-

I've been trying to potty train my genius level five year old like he was a typical two year old. DUMB! Sitting in the bathroom over and over again was frustrating both of us because I was insulting his intelligence without even realizing it! He kept telling me he was done, because he didn't need to go. I thought he was just being stubborn. All of the other times we have tried he has been wearing underwear. Something about being completely 'free' made him more aware of when he needs to go. He is, like most autistic children, a creature of habit (understatement), Peeing in the pull up is just what we have done for 2 years and the diaper for the whole rest of his life before that. For a child that can read since he was 3 and count to the thousands, can navigate the internet like its a child's toy designed JUST for him, why did I think that he didn't understand the concept that pee goes into the toilet?? Why go to the bathroom when you can just pee in your pull up? I mean, isn't that what its there for? I guess I keep underestimating him and don't even realize it. He gets me trained on taking care of him in the easiest way possible but its the easiest for HIM. I guess this Mommy has been stuck in "babymode" and when you don't have social constraints, like not being interested in what your peers think, what incentive is there to be a "big kid"?

He keeps getting me with these "I'm Dumb" moments. He did the same thing when I discovered he could read.... 'I'M DUMB."

My sweet boy, maybe some day I will stop being DUMB and realize there is nothing you can't do! <3


  1. you know what? We all become dumb when it comes to dealing with our children. That isn't just a term for moms with a son that is autistic. It hurts you and is mind numbing I know, but look at him and see his beauty! I know that is hard in the frustrating times. Just a thought.

  2. I guess when I keep saying "I'm Dumb" I should really say "I'm Dumb, and never been more happy about it!!!" I'm trying to 'own' the fact that I severely underestimated my child, even though I CONSCIOUSLY try not to do that very thing. He amazes me! Thanks for the encouragement though ;)