Monday, February 27, 2012

No Means No

It has been another one of those days when I am counting down the minutes until bedtime. At the end of a long week, I just wanted to sit down and relax with a good book. The girls were all doing their own thing, so I snuck away to read a few quick chapters. Then she found me. Katie came marching in, wanting to make plans for the next day. I have told you before about Katie and her plans, but this was going to be the first Saturday in months when we had nothing on the schedule. No practices, no games, no parties, nothing to get me out of bed early to run out the door. I have been looking forward to this weekend, Looking forward to doing nothing important.

Katie decided that she wanted to have a friend over. I am happy that Katie has friends, and I am overjoyed that she wants to be social, but I was actually planning on not getting out of my pajamas until dinner time. I have never done that before, and probably wouldn't actually follow thorugh with it, but it would be nice to have that option. If Katie had a friend over, I would have to do the whole routine of calling the parents, driving around to pick them up or drop them off, entertaining them and feeding them, and patrolling the party to make sure it was successful. Playdates with Katie are a little more work than your average get- together, and I normally wouldn't mind, but sometimes a mom needs a break. I know that sounds incredibly selfish, but it is the honest truth. Raising Katie is exhausting sometimes.

I told Katie that she couldn't have a friend over. That didn't go over very well. First she wanted to know why not. Then she said that her sister always has people over. Then she tried the "but I am autistic" line that she uses when she isn't getting her way. Then came the tears. She was killing me, I felt so guilty. At some point I have to look at the situation and the bigger picture. She can't always have her way because she cries and whines about it. She can't always have her way because she is autistic. No means no, and sometimes it hurts to have to stick to my guns. I need to raise her just the same way I raise her sisters, because what message would I be sending to any of them if I caved in every time she cried? I have to consider my other daughters and their feelings, I don't ever want them to feel less important, or less worthy of my time, or that I raise them with different standards or different rules.

Now Katie is upstairs in bed, crying to her "pretend friends", mad at me and mad at the world. I am not sure if I am doing the right thing. I am not sure if this will ever be easier, or if I will ever know that I am raising her the right way. But for now, we are not going to have any Adventures in Autism tomorrow, because I am taking the day off.

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