It's been a rough night. I awoke frustrated this morning. You see, I'm in much physical pain; much of it probably associated with my weight.
Instead of going down, it's rising to uncomfortable levels. I've tried bursts of exercise and tried to eat better, but I'm not doing better. My knee from surgeries in 2006 still hurts regularly. I walked the dog a week ago and my left wrist has been in great discomfort and I'm going to see a doctor on Thursday about a tailbone issue that frankly hurts like the DIckens if I sit wrong. I hurt.
Compound that with stress related to an event I did this morning. I was back in my old school district. An organization I left because of the "leadership," or the lack thereof, at the top. It took pointing out the obvious to cause me to lose my job 15 months later, but in the end, it has worked out for the better. No longer do I get on TV and try to explain the unexplainable. I heard people telling me today that they saw me smile unlike they have in the past 7.5 years.
When I left work today, I was planning on writing about how far I've come since 2005. Certainly in the past 10 months with this Mac, I've learned more new things and new cool tools than I have in a long time. I'm quite pleased with the new things I can do that only a few years ago would have required paying someone tons of money to do instead. There is great satisfaction in that. The new camera and studio lights are another step in that progress.
But contrary to Kari's pronouncements that I never admit fault on this site, I beg to differ, I've got a few confessions to make. First of all, I had issues tonight with our oldest son, who suffers with Asperger's, a social development form of Autism.
Seven kids are hard to have under one roof; that gets compounded when one is an Aspie.
He knows I don't like him to wear his ROTC after school, and surely not through dinner. I know he's proud of it, but I also have respect for the uniform because I grew up in a military household. My dad never wore his around the house, particularly cos when he was home, he was off, and two, they get dirty and wrinkled fast.
Tonight our son was parading in his uniform. I have said before, I, too, would do something similar when I was in Cub Scouts and Webloes. But we don't own this uniform. And it's a military uniform. And tonight's meal: Spaghetti. Do I have to say much more here?
I've been telling my son that if he keeps talking back to his parents, we'd have to have a conversation with his supervising officer at school. That is just about the only thing any more that gets his attention. Otherwise, he just wants to argue round and round about the same old stuff.
Should I mix what happens here with what happens there? Debatable, but during a meeting at his school two weeks ago, I did mention it to his supervisor. And the supervisor has continued to talk to our son about it. And did so today. So part of the verbal confrontation with him tonight was centered on his belief that I've been calling his supervisor. I haven't. I probably won't–ever.
So that went on and on. My course of action? Say as little as possible because no matter what I say/said to him, as my wife says so often, "He has to have the last word." So if I leave him to debate himself, it makes it harder for him to argue with me. I use the same principle in dealing with my ex. "Don't engage," is what my counselor of these many years has tried to enforce in my mind. And you guessed it, that just made him more wound up that I was "Ignoring him." I wasn't but that's the way he took it.
Couple that with six other "hungry, starving children." Kari and I attempted to eat in the dining room tonight so that we didn't eat at the main table with the kids. Again, trying to keep from engaging in an argument. To make the dinner more special for me and the wife, I even lit the candles on the table so we could eat by candlelight. The closest thing to being romantic tonight either of us could come close to muster.
To add to it, both Kari and I have had headaches today. It must be the change in the weather because it's been raining today. Add to it all the stress she's endured from driving around to pick all the kids up from school.
And then after dinner, we have assigned chores for all to do because it shouldn't be up to just me and Kari to clean up after dinner. Naturally, several did just as little as they could to get their job done. I had to call four back to the kitchen after they'd all fled, leaving stuff for mom or dad to do.
Add to that the fact that the four-year-old didn't get a nap today.
Add to that the fact that I asked Kari just to go on upstairs and rest. She refused because I had a headache, some how concerned that I might use it against her as in, "I stayed up and dealt with the kids." Bunk, I know, but ….
Add to that that when I got upstairs with the four-year-old to get her to watch a movie in her bed, I made it perfectly clear to all the kids that no one was going outside tonight, particularly to skate because it's been raining.
Add to that the fact that the 15-year-old skater went ahead, leaving the other kids inside to wonder why they could not, and surely if he could, then they could go outside, too, despite the previous directive not to.
Add to that my fatigue, soreness, and lack of interest in dealing with all this chaos.
And what happened? I got mad. Really mad. The big P'ed.
I admit, I was loud with the twins and scolded them, before giving them a spanking.
I was loud with the four who tried their best to literally skate by in the kitchen.
And I probably could have been more something with the Aspie kid, but frankly, I'm worn with it and still don't know what. I'd not be surprised that there isn't some rule somewhere that these kids are supposed to retire their uniforms when they get home, but I'm almost certain if there is, I'll certainly never be shown it.
I don't come home from a long day's work to deal with people who want to argue about everything. That's just not what I'm in the mood for at the end of the day. And if I offer to my wife to let her go up to her room to rest, I'm doing it because I understand the nuttiness she's encounterd while I've been off at work. I'm sorry, but being at a job is no picnic either.
Now don't get me wrong; I do love my job. Right now in my career I'm doing the best work I've ever done, and I'm the happiest I've ever been doing it. Right now as a dad, I love my wife and kids. All of them no matter what. And I know I have to be more understanding of the fact that all the kids have been dealing all day long with their own set of issues. I just hate coming home and walking into a firestorm of emotions. I know that's what a family is and can be, but I need some help from all of you out there on how to deal with this better.
How, guys, do you try to be more supportive to your wife at the end of a work day when she's done pert near all she can to manage the house, laundry, kids, food, carpooling, etc, all with a headache? Ladies, how do you get your wife to understand when I offer to let her go get away from it all, I'm genuinely offering to let her do just that; not with some agenda to later say, "well, I let you go get away from it all."
Moms and Dads, what should I do about how to deal with our wonderful Aspie son? I've tried to let him have the last word. I've turned a deaf ear to the lack of respect he gives us at times knowing in many ways, he just doesn't know better. I'm really struggling here. Dinner time is awful because it's so dern loud, largely from one person and we're all sitting there, nine of us around the table.
We don't eat in the other room often, and we've debated about doing it. But frankly, because of my job, this is some of the longest time I get to spend with the kids in a day some times. Does that mean I neglect my kids? Certainly not intentionally. So if we go to another room to eat so we can get time to ourselves, are we being bad parents for doing so?
Kari says I've tried to portray our house as one of peace and the Brady Bunch. Sometimes, it's not. It's chaotic at times. Is this how I want to live and manage a household? Heck no.
So what are your recommendations? Save the snarky comments, please. This is a genuine request for recommendations. I realize you don't live here. I realize you don't know us; most of you. But we are struggling. I'm struggling, and the world should know; we need your thoughts, prayers and suggestions.
Moms, your perspectives, please. Dads, you, too. Parents of Aspies? How do you cope?
I'm not perfect and never have tried to suggest that I am. I made some key parenting mistakes tonight and I'm hoping you and my kids and wife will forgive me for it; human, after all.
In my wife's loving way, she came in here tonight and challenged me to be honest with all of you and talk about areas where we're struggling. Her message made me remember my late grandmother, who always told me to write in the vein of "Momma always said," or in my case, "Daddy always said." I love my wife.
So here we go. Wide open. Can't wait to see how the ex will attempt to twist this.
We love our kids. I love my wife, as I say often here. We need your prayers tonight. We need your ideas. We, I, am asking for your help. And that's about as real as I can make this.