Well, I knew what to expect so I shouldn’t have been surprised should I. A special occasion has often become memorable for all the wrong reasons. It’s the Easter holidays of course. The first day drew nearer whilst my sense of dread grew exponentially. I was terrified. I was right to be terrified.
Being with two teens with PDA for a fortnight without a break is not your normal holiday. A major problem being that the younger one has a really bullying and harassing form of questioning behaviour, that you simply aren’t allowed to escape from. You start answering in good faith, but see quickly that it’s not about the questions, or even the answers, it’s about control. So you end up hemmed in somewhere in the house, by a barrage of ranting which often escalates to screaming. Most of the time, nothing you can do will resolve it, it goes full circle sometimes, back to the answer you gave in the first place. Always, your answers will add fuel to the fire and bring remonstrations, complaints, accusations and often, wrath.
Children with any ASD are often emotionally immature for their age, those with PDA can also tend to fantasise a lot. So when one of them wrote the “Easter Bunny” a note, after Easter and left it amidst a (very messy) pile of papers, so the “Easter Bunny” couldn’t have seen it even if he did make extra visits to people after the event, I then had to face ranted questions as to what this meant, why, “oh so the Easter Bunny doesn’t care about me”…ad infinitum. Every little thing is a huge drama. The sense of being on eggshells all-pervasive. I’m now regretting ever having played along with the Easter Bunny (the Tooth Fairy caused big issues too) because they believe in it, but it’s so much harder to keep the dream alive, with highly analytical and critical young persons! What was done to make things special, has turned into a nightmare.
I have suggested outings during the holiday, but they have been “too boring”. I wonder if it’s the lack of control element, really. Indoors, it’s controllable. But I am trapped indoors with the very challenging behaviours as a result. Every time there is a lull, I have on the tip of my tongue, “OK, where would you like to go then?” but then another episode starts and I end up feeling fear and massive reticence about going anywhere. Not to mention feeling physically unwell from the episodes. Because there have been very public meltdowns before. I have had to stand there being thumped and screamed at by my very large child with people agog on more than one occasion. It’s too humiliating. It’s often too hard to try without back-up.
So right now, I am counting down the days until the end of the holidays. School will see a witty and calm child. I get the dark side. And nobody would probably believe me, if I told them. Except other parents in the same boat. Imagine, contemplating a holiday, in a hotel room with that level and volume of behaviour with other holiday makers alongside having to endure it. So my holiday, is school hours, when I have some brief respite. Such as it is. Spent so exhausted and playing catch up, it’s really a temporary ‘break in hostilities’ – just enough to keep me alive.