Behind starburst eyes

Corona’s Effect on Mental Health

It’s been months since Covid-19 became a worldwide epidemic, and while I am truly, deeply thankful that my family has not experienced this virus directly, sadly it still has had an impact on my children through their mental health.

He used to be gregarious, he used to be fearless, he used to be happy and confident…Used to be…

It makes my heart ache to see the changes in him, to see how scared he is to even leave the house because as he puts it “It’s invisible, I can’t see it, I can’t fight it” He used to be thrilled to pop over to the store for me, and he’d always ask if he could pick up something for dessert for everyone in addition to the bread or milk I was usually asking for. Now, his first response is “Or I could not go” with a pleading face as he says it. He used to love going for runs, now he says “there’s too many people”. He would rather forgo takeout or new toys if he has to go outside for them.

So instead I don’t ask him to go for me, but I do ask him to go with me. I’m willing to walk with him, because I’m determined to make him go out (while of course allowing precautions such as a mask and hand sanitizer) because he can’t stay locked inside for the next however long. It’s not healthy for him.

I know this might be a long road for him, but I remember when he was 2 and would have uncontrollable meltdowns when we’d walk different routes home from Airzone, he’d cry that it “wasn’t the right way home”. Back then I knew he had to learn there were many ways to get to somewhere, physically and metaphorically. I would hold him and tell him over and over he was loved and safe and I understood and he was my wonderful brave boy as he cried for hours even after we got home.

This is no different, I’ll be there each step of the way offering him love and support as I help him walk this hard path. I love him enough to do the hard things because he always has been and always will be worth the effort to help him thrive.

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There will be no birthday party this year…

MM900336442    In just a couple of weeks my youngest son will turn 3 years old. While his very existence fills me with joy beyond compare I will not be throwing him a birthday party this year. Now that might seem strange or even mean to many but in fact it’s actually far kinder for him that I do this. See a part of me would love to do the whole “NT kid birthday party” with lots of cake, balloons, and silly games and copious amounts of children running around. But the truth is, there is only one child my son has ever taken to as a playmate. Typically with children his own age he either ignores them or he gets outright upset that they are in his space.

Yesterday morning was a perfect example of that. We were at Art for Toddlers, it’s a special program for children ages 2-4 years old at our local art gallery. While there were other children there, he had no interest in interacting with any of them, instead for the majority of the program he was in a corner playing with different colored magnets. So into his own world was he that when the lady running the program would ask him things he’d often not answer her. By word, and action he gave no hint that he could even hear her or understand what she was asking of him. Yet while out with him I’ve seen him point to different colors when I ask him to show me something red, or orange or green etc. So while it hurts sometimes to think of how he has only met one child that is not related to him that he actually likes, I love him enough to accept him exactly as he is and give him the birthday he deserves instead of just a typical one.

To that end there will be cake, but not at the end of a typical children’s party. Instead we will fill his birthday with his favorite activities like riding the city bus in a loop (the bus drivers around here are lovely and totally accepting that we’ve no specific destination, he simply wants to sit on the bus as it drives the same route over and over). Or going to the mall to go up the escalator, and then back down, and then back up, and then back down, over and over. When he’s done riding the escalator we’ll sit, eat McDonalds and I’ll watch as he peels the paper off of all the crayons in the box I buy him specifically for that purpose. As I watch his eyes light up and see how happy he is doing those simple things as many times as he wants in a row I know I’ll cry. Not tears of sorrow, but of joy because making him happy does that to me. Knowing that I “get him” and that I’m giving him a day of exactly what he truly wants and not what mainstream society states he “should” have on his special day matters to me. After all, it’s his special day, so I’ll do all the things that will make it special to him.

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Contributing Author! :-D

I am officially now a contributing author on an amazing site: Parents Space

It deals with ALL of the vast and varied issues of parenting, and I’m honored that I get to be a part of it! Please check it out, it’s got a wide variety of thought provoking articles written by insightful authors!

 

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