Two Steps Forward, One Step Back …

Just when I think we’re really turning a corner, that maybe The Boy doesn’t have Aspergers after all, that maybe he’s just got a few quirks, and maybe just some random behavioral stuff that we’re fixing, he regresses & picks up some new undesired behavior: Licking.  Me, my clothes, his clothes, The Husband, the cat, the furniture & chews / sucks on his clothes & blankets.  This came out of nowhere.  As did the periodic biting.  The Boy just bit my arm something awful – I seriously wanted to cry.  He felt bad about it, too.  Like I’ve said before, sometimes I think he just can’t control his body.

We’ve had a string of “good” days, where I see lots of “good” choices, (we’re constantly using the phrase “make good choices” with him, so he understands the difference.)  Like, on Christmas, we were so impressed with how wonderfully well-behaved he was at Grandma’s house, with his two younger cousins – hands to himself & taking breaks when he needed to have some alone time.

And then we hit a bump in the road & a “wild” & “challenging” day, like today … Maybe it was the excitement of the holidays?  Maybe it was being cooped up in this house for the past couple of days, since it’s been way too cold & windy to go outside.  And my little Aspie doesn’t want to venture out to play usually.  Outside play is something I have to sort of force, unless it’s the park, and quite frankly, I just wasn’t in the mood to do anything more than “suggest.”  In any case, I can sit here and rack my brain for hours trying to figure out what triggers things in him.  It isn’t his diet, it isn’t lack of sleep, it isn’t being around other kids … what then?   I. Don’t. Know.  That’s all I can conclude.

So I crack open my books & read, then log on to the laptop and search.  “Licking.”  Sensory issues, hypo-sensory stuff, not getting enough through the senses that they need more input.  Well, maybe.  Yes, The Boy often craves more sensory input, and that’s why he rams into me, crashes into us, furniture, jumps around on the floor & hangs upside down, but I wonder if some of it isn’t him mimicking our cats?  Or because I jokingly told him a few weeks back that I was going to bite off his cute little nose.  Here again, I don’t know.  And the “not knowing” for me is so frustrating that I want to cry.  I just want to know why, so that I can find the best way to help the situation.

And then there’s the potty training again.  One day he is marvelous – no accidents, goes when I tell him it’s time to take a potty break, (of course with “treats” being promised afterward, or threats of me taking away a toy when the treats won’t work,) or he will actually listen to his body & tell US when he needs to go.  The next day, it’s all out flinging himself on the floor melt-downs when I tell him it’s time to take a potty break.  Coaxing, promising treats, threatening to take away toys – nothing will work!!  I don’t understand why one day is so different from the next.  Am I the only mother of an Aspie who is constantly asking herself WHY?  Why the big shifts in his progress?  I just don’t know.

Two steps forward and one step back.  I guess that’s just the way things go in his world.  I’m going to have to learn to accept that & not be so analytical about the “why,” lest I drive myself nuts in the process!  Funny thing is, he says “two steps forward one step back … that’s how you dance” to me a lot.  (He picked up the line from Madagascar 3, by the way.)  So I guess this is our dance, me & The Boy.  Two steps forward, one step back.

Poo-Poo Is Different Than Chocolate Ice Cream … Adventures In Potty Training








We’ve been potty training The Boy going on 3 months.  It’s definitely been a process.  And a longer one than I had anticipated.  Is it more difficult because of Asperger Syndrome?  Perhaps.  Or maybe it’s just his personality.  Or maybe it’s a little of both.

How I thought it was going to go:

  1. Say bye-bye to diapers … “this is the last pack of diapers we’re buying!  Woohoo, more money for wine!”
  2. Skip the pull-ups because it wicks the moisture away so he isn’t uncomfortable when he’s had an accident.
  3. Buy cute “Big Boy Undies”
  4. Get a small pack of m&m’s as treats for every time he goes potty – should take 1 week, so we’ll only need a small bag.

How it really went:

  1. Bought last pack of diapers, then had to run out and buy more … have been continuing to purchase diapers for the past 3 months, no extra money in wine fund.
  2. Use pull-ups on occasion (in the beginning it was for long car rides or days spent away from the house for more than a few hours at a time,) and naps
  3. Did purchase cute big boy undies!  And then more!
  4. Invested in 2 large bags of m&m’s … also on hand, mini cookies & jellybeans.

He’s pretty good with the pee-pee … It only took him 2 weeks to graduate from the potty chair to standing up and using the big potty.  Now, we have to remind him when it’s time to go & then give him a 5 minute warning before we take a “potty break.” We set the timer on the iPhone.  Then he usually fights me, because he doesn’t want to stop what he’s doing to take the 30 seconds it takes to go pee.  When he does, he is very proud of himself.

My big recommendation is to use a small size underwear with thicker, more absorbent trainer pants over the undies.  It still allows him to feel the discomfort of being wet, but it usually can save you from having to clean up a huge mess on the floor.

Poop is an entirely different beast.  Despite my big bag of mystery poo-poo presents (I even unwrapped them a week after wrapping them, so that he might be enticed,) he just doesn’t want to go poop on the toilet.  Fine.  I told him that he should just tell me that he needs to poop and we can put a pull-up on.  He will often wait until we put the nap pull-up on so that he can poop in that, but more often than not, he will just go in his undies.

Do you know how gross it is to clean out poopie undies?  Lawd!  I am gagging as I do it, trying not to make a big deal out of it, but YUCK!  Can anyone tell me why is it so much nastier than when he goes in a diaper?  Do you know how many undies I’ve just thrown out because I can’t deal?  And those suckers are not cheap!  I even tried putting him in a diaper on the toilet so that he can see how it feels, but inevitably, he will sit there and sit there and sit there & tell me he doesn’t have to go.  Then 2 seconds later, he is in his playroom being too quiet & viola!  Poop.

So I bring him back in the bathroom to show him that poop goes in the toilet … we push it out of the undies & into the bowl.  He looks at it for a second & then remarks insightfully, “Poo poo is different than chocolate ice cream, mama.”  I had to just laugh.  Why yes it is son, it most certainly is.  I also explained that poo poo is yucky & ice cream is yummy & we should never ever eat poop.  Sigh.  Being a mom is fun 😀

Here are two videos that really helped us in the beginning … he still enjoys watching them: Bear In The Big Blue House:  Potty Time With Bear (There’s also a book with the same name, that tells the same story.)  And Potty Power, (kids love to see other kids doing stuff they want to do.)

Good luck in your bathroom adventures!  As long as they’re potty trained by the time they enter kindergarten, I think it’s all fine.