At Tucker’s two year annual check up with the pediatrician (June 2014). Our doctor stumbled upon a problem. Our son, had fucking lost his words. I didn’t noticed, because I had a newborn and a four year old during this time. I really didn’t think anything was wrong. Her red flag went up and mine did not. After that check up, with each month passing…I saw him slip. WTF. Nothing is wrong, but why does he seem so withdrawn? The doctor called Early Intervention into our home right away. Shit was happening so fucking fast after that doctor’s visit I really didn’t have time to process anything. For one year, Tucker received services from the State of Illinois in our house…Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy. This was also at a time of a financial windfall for my family. We were trying to just act normal and had no idea what the next day would look like. Chris and I were a fucking mess and tired.
Tucker was diagnosed with Autism in 2015 at the age of 3 1/2
I was so sad and cried silently for one year. Life Hurt.
Preschool was not fun (2015-2017). I would pull up to the drop off line, get out of my car, open Tucker’s door, and peal him out of the car. He hated school, tears rolling down his checks white knuckling the seat. Fuck…come on Tuck…Everyday.
My shoulders are up to my ears. I don’t know if they will ever go down.
Kindergarten didn’t prove to be much better. He was a nice boy at home, but not great at school. He’s hiding under desks, crying, stemming, and not wanting to comply with his teachers or aide. I had to really dig deep and slap myself across the face. This is your norm Christine. Fucking deal with it. Things could be worse. Stop fucking crying already.
I needed to learn how to love myself again and grow a pair.
1st Grade, we all made sacrifices for Tucker. No more extracurricular activities for my other boys. My time will be put to test at the house. In 2018, we welcomed ABA Therapy into our home. Tucker qualified for 25 hrs a week of therapy. Are you fucking kidding me? I could only find 15 hours with our schedules. I felt like that was already to much…I was locked down in my own home from Tucker’s schedule.
Five days a week/3 hours a session. I would make a cocktail and fucking hide it behind a cookbook. It helped. When does ABA therapy eventually fade out? I never imagined this. I’m Tired.
2nd Grade, we saw so many positive changes. The Therapy is still in place. Chris, Patrick, Denny and myself were always adapting to Tucker’s needs. We are seeing so much of Tucker now. A happy boy who loves music. Holy fucking shit, what a good year. Thank you Universe, I needed this. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I can feel my shoulders going down.
With putting Tucker first “no matter what” these past few years. We saw how hard it is to teach Patrick and Denny about special needs. They had to learn empathy…and give up a lot up. They loved Tucker so much, but they had their own frustrations with him.
My oldest son, Patrick (10) was really starting to understand Tucker last year. He saw his abnormal behaviors and was not scared to learn about Tucker’s needs and keep him safe. I’m grateful for him. Patrick is super fucking gentle. When it was time for Tucker to enter elementary school I was scared. I didn’t want kids to be mean to him for being different. That fear definitely faded when I heard he stopped off at Tucker’s classroom everyday. WTF. The teacher told me, Patrick pokes his head into our class and ask’s….”How’s my Tuck today?”
Now, my youngest son, Denny is fucking wrecking ball. He is constantly fighting for attention. He doesn’t understand why Tucker’s “friends” aka therapists keep coming over to play with only Tucker. He wants to play too. Denny is a major distraction to therapy and is jealous and angry. It’s hard to get a 5 year old to understand Autism. He feels robbed and cheated with how much attention Tucker gets. He knows Tucker has Autism, but doesn’t get it. We are making him grow up fast…sorry Denny.
While Tucker is having a beautiful school year. Patrick and Denny were finding themselves in moments learning moments.
In the fall of 2019, my fear of kids being mean to Tucker actually did a role reversal with Patrick this school year. Damit.
It’s a chilly October day, when I picked up the boys from school.
Me: “Patch, how was your day today?”
Patrick: “A kid at school came up to me and said Tucker is dumb and stupid.” I was not expecting this and caught off guard.
Me: “Wow, what did you say back to him?”
Patrick: “I told him he was wrong.”
Me: “He is wrong, some kids probably have something going on at home, that they feel like they have to be mean to others. This kid has a lot of lessons to learn. People don’t really mean to hurt people. He will feel bad later and doesn’t get it. I want to fucking kill this kid. What a dick.
Patrick: “Well it made me sad.”
Me: “Me too buddy.” Why does it fucking hurt more when your kids get hurt?
We drove home in silence. Patrick had tears in his eyes and his mouth was frowned. He hurts so easily and this killed him. We didn’t talk about the incident to much after that. Patrick went on with his days. I felt like this was behind us.
3 weeks later…
I get a call on my cell phone from school…shit, what is this?
Teacher: “Hi Mrs. Guare this is Patrick’s Literacy Teacher.” I totally was taking a fucking mom nap and was caught on the couch groggy. I tried to act like I was productive doing important shit like laundry, making beds, vacuuming, etc…
Me: Oh Hi, how are you? Clearing my throat.
Teacher: “Good…ummm there was an incident that happened today in the library with Patrick and another boy.” This call is weird already.
Teacher: “Patrick was with kids reading in different places. Patrick got up and kicked a boy. The other boy was about to retaliate and was stopped.” Wow.
Me: “What? Patrick would never kick anyone.”
Teacher: “I know. This is strange for all of us to understand. The last 3 weeks, he’s been withdrawn in class and brings up sad topics all the time to write about. When he sits, he puts his back to people.” I feel terrible I didn’t address this.
Me: “Shit, well 3 weeks ago and a boy called Tucker dumb. Tucker has Autism Spectrum Disorder. It hurt Patrick and I don’t know if kids are saying mean things about Tucker to Patrick. Or if this is just one incident?” Those fuckers.
Teacher: “Oh wow. I didn’t know. I would like to set Patrick up with the Social Worker if that’s okay?
Me: “Of course.” I felt so bad for him. I love you Patrick.
Patrick saw the social worker and unleashed a beast of pent up emotions about kids at school. He needed this so bad. It even went further back to 1st grade for him and he’s in 4th grade now. Shit let it out kid. A huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders and was back to himself. This was a new lesson for me, I need to ask if Patrick how he is feeling all the time. If he needs to fucking check in with the Social Worker do it. Patrick will always get the brunt of whatever happens at school, if I am not there to protect Tucker…hard lessons, but valuable ones.
I don’t want to leave you sad…here’s a fucking good one.
I get a call from school…this number is worse than 9-1-1. It was Tucker’s Resource Teacher.
Resource Teacher: “Hi Mrs. Guare.”
Me: “Hi, everything okay?” I’m at the grocery store.
Resource Teacher: “Haha ummm, so we had an incident today with Tucker at school.”
Me: “Oh shit what?” I’m starting to sweat a little.
Resource Teacher: “I don’t know how to even explain this, Tucker had to pee at recess.”
Me: “Oh no, I’m at Jewel right now. Did he pee in his pants? I can ditch my cart right away.”
Resource Teacher: “Ugh, Not exactly, he peed on the black pavement at recess.” My eyebrows frowned a bit and my eyes squint to the ground.
Me: “Wait, I’m confused…did he pee in his pants or whip it out and pee?”
Resource Teacher: “Hahah um yea he umm whipped it out.” She could barely say whip it out.
Me: “What? Are you fucking kidding me?” My face is red and people are starring at me. I need to lower my voice.
Resource Teacher: “Ha no I wish I was lying and kids were screaming.”
Me: “Oh fuck…kids were screaming? Were kids just playing and then he whipped it out and peed? I needed major details and clarity. I pictured kids screaming and getting pelted with urine on their clothes and faces.
Resource Teacher: “Well, kids were lining up to go back inside the school. He was standing in line and just pulled his pants down and peed.”
Me: “Oh my God.” I’m grabbing my forehead hard and massaging it.
Resource Teacher: “Yea, so if you could talk to him about not relieving himself in public. I know you have boys and this is their nature.”
Me: “Of course, I’m so sorry. I’m actually taking my cart to aisle 12 to buy alcohol first. Can I get you something?” I am just grabbing bottles and putting them in the cart.
Resource Teacher: “It’s okay, we are all good.”
Me: “Okay, thanks and sorry about today.”
Later that day…
I pick up the boys from school. The car doors shut and I immediately start talking with a panicked voice.
Me: “Tucker, you can not pee at recess!”
Tucker: “Sorry mom”. He doesn’t understand and hears my panicked voice.
Denny: “Omg mom I was there and it was SOOOO…disgusting. He had to emphasis the word SOOOOO.
Me: “Oh gosh, was it that bad?”
Denny: “Yea mom, kids were screaming.” Great, kids are going to be taking this story to dinner with their parents. FUCK.
Me: “Yea….I heard.”
Patrick: “Wait what? Tucker peed at recess?”
Me: “Yea, boys we need to make sure he doesn’t do that again.” Patricks eyes are fucking wide. I can’t tell if he’s embarrassed of his brother or shocked.
Denny: “Mom, so we were there lining up and then he pulled his pants down to his ankles. I saw it.” Sounds like his father.
Me: “Okay, Denny I don’t want to here anymore details.”
Denny: “It was disgusting.” Oh fuck Denny I get it, you’ve done worse shit than this.
That night, we chatted with Tucker about how you only pee in the toilet. Shit, our kids were pissing all over fucking trees this past summer. How am I going to erase this from Tucker’s memory?
Next Day…I get another call from school. You have to be kidding me?
Resource Teacher: “Hi, Mrs. Guare.”
Resource Teacher: “So, Tucker did it again.” COME ON!
Me: “What?! We chatted about this last night and I thought he understood.”
Resource Teacher: “Well, I am sending home a social story about how to use the bathroom appropriately and not go outside.” I just hung my head and rubbed my eyes.
Me: “Okay, sorry about this shit.”
Resource Teacher: “It’s okay, we just need to make sure he doesn’t do it again.”
Me: “Right, I understand.” SHIT, FUCK, PISS!
I feel like I’m in the principal’s office right now. Everyday I was persistent on making sure Tucker understood what was right and wrong with whipping it out. We read the social story, he started laughing at it. This is not good, not at all. I’m doomed.
Later in the week, I literally caught Denny whipping it outside in our backyard.
Me: “Denny you can’t pee outside.” My head is tilted with my hand on my hip. I’m so annoyed.
Denny: “Why?” Squinting his little eyes.
Me: “Because, Tucker thinks these actions are acceptable at school. He doesn’t understand theres a time and place that this would be allowed.”
Denny: “Fine.” Wow, he’s only five. He probably whips it out on school property all the time.
Life is challenging and can hurt sometimes. We are learning how to fucking laugh. If you got anything out of this, it’s to not whip it out on a black top pavement at school. It’s frowned upon.
Today, there is always a lesson for Patrick and Denny to learn to better understand Tucker. Whereas, Chris and I understand Tucker completely. One thing I am teaching Tucker this year, is how to give back to those that care deeply about him. This is beyond tricky.
Thanks for taking the time to read… Check out the tab on Dermure Giving back to Autism on my home page. Or go to Dermure.com and buy some of my favorite Blueberry Bar soap for Autism. Hilary at Dermure is giving 50% of the proceeds to Autism Speaks the month of April for “Light It Up Blue” Campaign.