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Puberty, Pandemic and Perseverance

What a year, huh?! We all had grand plans and visions for 2020… This was to be THE year – the year of change, progress, and new beginnings. Hmm… There was definitely a lot of change but not the kind we had hoped for. The entire world has been turned upside down and put to test like never before – all because of a pandemic. The invisible enemy has creeped in unaware, closing down schools, businesses, places of worship, recreation centers etc. And just like that, our daily routine was no more. 

When our local authorities declared a lockdown, I didn’t panic. I figured it was a temporary measure to “flatten the curve”. I tried to be creative, working on a lot of fun activities with the kids, while at the same time doing the whole homeschooling thing. Yikes! Whoever said it was an easy job should be thrown into a lion’s den or be forced to teach our kids. I have always admired special educators and therapists, but never as much as I do now.  I think we all learned our lessons, at least I hope so. 

We have experienced many milestones as well as a lot of setbacks during this pandemic. Our Mikey turned 13. We have a teenager now! I’m trying not lose my cool about it, grasping desperately to what’s left of the baby Booboo – I’m still carrying him in my arms every now and then, even though he’s almost my height… He still asks (or rather demands) to be tickled, he still enjoys kids rhymes songs and “Mozart for babies “music. Alas, I realize this won’t last much longer. He’s hit puberty! Allow me to scream for a second.

Other Autism Parents have warned me about it but I had no idea what it would be like until it finally happened. We have discovered that Booboo is becoming more aware, ergo he takes multiple showers and baths every day. Nothing special about that, I know.

But when you go through a 12 pack of soap in a week, especially during pandemic, it gets frustrating (and costly!). In order to cope with the lack of his normal routine (breakfast, bathroom, school, after school therapy, horse riding, etc.), Mikey comes up with the most annoying protests to our “new normal”, which I understand. For example, he became obsessed with flushing soap bars and some other small objects down the toilet. Before you know it, soap is gone and you can hear that bubbling sound of a struggling toilet. 

I figured this whole lockdown thing might be a perfect opportunity to toilet train him again. Pull-ups are not only very expensive but must be destroying his self-esteem too. I tried, I did everything by the book, every possible trick, every ABA technique, I got him “big boy’s underwear” and… I failed! Our boy, instead of feeling discomfort and embarrassed after wetting his pants, seems to enjoy the sensation of wet fabric on his skin. In fact, he goes through several sets of clothes (even with pull-ups on!!!) and bed sheets every single day. I honestly feel like giving up sometimes…

But then again, there are those little blessings and things that make me so proud of him – he gladly takes on new responsibilities. He’s fantastic at mowing lawns, taking our trash out, helping me with stuff around the house, bringing dirty dishes into the kitchen sink etc. He’s definitely more mature and understands a lot more. But at the same time, his mischief is on another level. He knows exactly how to play this game and get away with murder by being super cute. 

Word of the year for our family is PERSEVERANCE. No matter what the future holds, no matter when this pandemic comes to an end, we must persevere and strive for the best. We must never give up hope, especially when life gets tough –     always focus on the positive things we are blessed with. This too shall pass, friends. Nothing lasts forever.

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