Friday, 17 June 2011

Animals, Bedtime Rituals and Autism

Just Chrissy & I this evening as Ian, her stepdad, has gone to pick up my youngest child from uni. I managed, by a combination of knowing when to be firm & when to indulge, to keep the peace until 10pm.

Anticipating what Chrissy will do next is exhausting. I left her looking at 'toast & jam' in the kitchen equipment pages of her Argos catalogue to get something from another room. All was quiet. Then she came in & told me she had 'kicked' the cat, 'hurt' the cat, & said something I couldn't grasp about the cat's tail. It didn't bode well.

Our two cats were nowhere to be seen for a while. Then they eventually slunk back into the house looking wary but unharmed. Chrissy either ignores them, notices details about them ('look at cat's necklace' when it had a new collar) or torments them when she gets the chance, sometimes playfully, sometimes suddenly pulling their tails & alarming them. She knows it’s wrong on one level because she grasses herself up – she’s totally guileless – but I suspect that she is also entertained by our reaction. When she's in that mood the cats normally give her a wide berth & she may have been saying she'd hurt them before thought became deed. She sometimes says she's done something, ie wet herself, when she wants to do it, ie go to the toilet. She is confused by tenses & sequences of events.

Chrissy was intent on further mischief by then & went into the kitchen to demand 'grey cup,' which means a glass tumbler. I use plastic cups as she's prone to throwing them when she’s agitated. My refusal to let her anywhere near a glass tumbler resulted in her first outburst of the evening. It was relatively mild, lots of guttural roaring, hair-pulling & hand-biting - it didn’t progress to stripping off & running around the house, as it did last week. She was over-tired I think & undergoing meds changes that may be making her feel strange.

Once she calmed down I managed, aided by symbols for 'clean teeth' & 'sleep' to lure her upstairs to her bedroom. We then had a great fuss over her 'cushions' - she asked me to turn them over several times - & her blanket. I haven't figured out what the issue is with her blanket. She kept saying ' do my cover.’ I pulled it up & tucked it over the top of her duvet so she could hold it, & settled it around her but she kept on. 'What exactly do you want me to do with your blanket?' I demanded in exasperation. 'Make it square,' she said. I did my best to comply but I'd made it square & neat over her anyway. She eventually settled down & I asked her if she was happy with it. 'Yes,' she said, allowing me to kiss her goodnight & leave her room.

Now I can hear her in bed repeating 'do my cover.' This happens during the night too. I’ve just gone through the whole pantomime again with her, tucking it this way & that, & she’s still repeating ‘do my cover/do my blanket.’ Bloody maddening. Need a solution....

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