When the Knowing Happens
52 Week Writing Challenge
I walk out of the room with fear now instilled in me. I shouldn’t feel it but it’s there. I pretty much know what’s going to happen, but I have to walk out of the room. I have to go do the laundry, I have to go to the bathroom and I have to get us food. I know what will be waiting when I come back.
I never in a million years ever thought I would talk about fecal smearing, nonetheless know what it meant. But here I sit disheartened, disappointed and confused. These things should not affect my baby. But yet they do. Why. How. What do I do.
There is nothing that prepares you for this. Owen has severe autism.
How is it possible that he can speak words, but not understand that spreading fecal matter around is wrong. How is it possible that he doesn’t understand when I say to him that it isn’t healthy that he still does it. Why can’t I say the right words to get him to stop.
I have to take myself out of the equation, think of it more clinical, even though it is one of the more emotional parts of this journey. This is a bodily function and he has sensory issues. The key is trying to find something to replace the sensation he gets from feeling it and rubbing it on his body.
There are many ways to look at this and try to resolve it. Depending on the doctor or therapists there will be different suggestions. Generally fecal smearing is common in children or adults with developmental delays. It can be associated with malnutrition, a lack of something in their diet or the need for sensory input. Sometimes this will also cause them to eat their feces. Their can be many reasons attributed to this and many suggestions on how to stop it.
How do I look at this in the eyes of a doctor or therapists. This is my baby wiping fecal matter everywhere, every day. He knows that I tell him no. He knows that I tell him it is wrong and it is unhealthy, but the need is greater than the understanding to stop. My heart aches, my mind spins, my body fights to move in time with my thoughts. You become disjointed from the reality of the situation. There is poop on my baby, on his clothes, on the floor, on his tablet, anything and everything he is near. This is not how this is supposed to go and this is not what I’m supposed to be talking about. But I have to talk about it. There is another family crying these tears right now, struggling with what to do and how to handle this. My son is five. There are families that have dealt with this for ten years, twenty, thirty, and more.
I have to get up and do things, I can’t always wait until he goes to bed. I have to move to the other room sometimes and leave my son for a minute. That should be fine, I tell myself. I have to think of this logically and clinically, two things I’m not always great at. I have to clean up more things.
There is no answer right now, more questions. I don’t know how to change it. Working on one more new strategy. Owen hasn’t even been doing it that long, but long enough to know it breaks my heart for my little boy. Today I wait for tomorrow, I hope for the change. I hope for something to click. I hope for the words to come and the actions I can take to help my sweet baby O to understand this is not what we do. Tomorrow I will try another new strategy and like every day hope for the best.
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