I hate it.

It rocks me to the core and makes my hair stand on end.

Over and over, with no end in sight, she keeps on repeating the same phrase. No matter what I try, I can’t soothe her. She just keeps on saying it again and again and again. Make it stop. She has to stop.

JUST STOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPP IIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTT!

The scream came out of the blue, shocking me as much as it shocked everyone else. I couldn’t help myself though. Her perseveration was never-ending. “No school on Monday!” “No school on Monday!” “No. School. On. Monday!” And then the hiccupping crying came. Followed by hugs and “I’m sorry, Mommy,” and “I don’t like sighing.” And then came the guilt. The guilt of having screamed at Debbie for something she could not help because many times she has trouble getting out what she needs to say. The guilt of not being able to remain calm despite knowing she feels lousy due to cough and cold. Tonight, I was guilty of not having enough patience to deal with perseveration and autism.

No excuses. Just guilt and remorse and sadness and tears. Then the calm came. Vince came downstairs to be the barrier to keep us apart. She wouldn’t let him. She came to me. She hugged me. She told me she loved me. I hugged her. I told her I loved her. Vince remained leery that the storm might once again rear its ugly head. I gave her tea, Trazodone, and Tylenol. She took deep breaths. I closed my eyes and I took deep breaths. She finally communicated. Her head hurt. Her throat hurt. She sniffled and wiped her nose on a napkin. She drank her tea and we went upstairs.

“Do you want me to lay down with you and rub your back, Deb?”

“Lay down for a little bit.” I laid down next to her and rubbed her back.I apologized for yelling. She forgave me so easily.

“Do you want me stay or get up?”

“Stay.” I rubbed my baby’s back some more.

“Okay, Deb?”

“Get up.” I got up, covered her, and left her room. Guilt and remorse still permeating my thoughts.

She came into our bedroom and she plopped herself down on our bed.

“Halloween’s October. Thanksgiving’s November. Festival of Trees’ December.” Another perseveration.

“Yes, Debbie. Let’s go back to bed now.”

“School’s on Monday. Schools on Tuesday. Schools on Wednesday. Schools on Thursday. Schools on Friday.” Yet another perseveration. Sigh.

“Yes, Debbie. You’re right. School is next week.”

“Mommy, what are you making for dinner on Monday?” Another part of our daily Autism routine.

“What do you want me to make, Debbie?”

“No meatloaf.”

“Do you want me to make meatloaf on Monday, Debbie?”

“Yes. Meatloaf on Monday!”

“Okay. I’ll make meatloaf. Let’s go back to bed.”

We plodded back to her room and I covered her up again.

“Don’t cover your head, Deb. You’ll be too hot.” I leaned over to give her a kiss.

“I love you, Mommy,” she said as she kissed me.

“I love you too, Deb,” I said with a tired sigh.

The storm has passed for now. Perseveration was my breaking point tonight. Guilt and remorse are still there even though she forgave me so easily.

Tomorrow I will try harder.

Tomorrow I will be more patient.

Tomorrow I will not let Autism ware on me.

Tomorrow I will not let it beat me.

Tomorrow I will connect with someone who gets “it.”

xoxoxox ~ Julie