Saturday, November 2, 2013
Autism Answer: Moods, Moods, Everywhere! (or I Was A Bad Mom For Halloween)
I had a fun Halloween night planned. Grabbing some Halloween colored cookies, and even a small bag of candy, I figured it could be me and my boys and scary movies all evening!
Declyn and Shay are pretty old for trick-or-treating, and Declyn never did like it anyway. However, after we ate supper Shay announced that he'd like to dress up and go out and enjoy the fun of door to door candy collecting.
I was very inconsistent with my reaction. On the one hand, I celebrate celebrations, and question social expectations... so of course he could go! I love the fun of going through clothes and picking out a character for him to play, I love watching him dress up and play a part. He decided on 'a business man who was shot on his way into work, but didn't know he was dead'. I helped him put together a costume, and kept complimenting his creativity. But also...
I kept asking, "Are you sure you want to go? Are you comfortable with people bugging you about your age? Don't you want to stay at the house and watch scary movies?" The truth was, I didn't want to go. Also, I did worry about how people would react to this big fifteen year old trick-or-treating with his mom.
By the time we actually left the house, Shay was confused about his own mood regarding the Halloween tradition. I wanted to erase my mistake, to pretend I hadn't tried to manipulate his choice by planting seeds of discomfort, but I just couldn't. I knew what I'd done, and so did my adorably different and usually comfortable with it son.
On our way into town (we live in the middle of nowhere and it's a short drive to get to the candy doling houses) the breaks on my van started making funny sounds and kind of slipping. Even my van was feeling moody!
So Shay and I decided against the trick-or-treating. He had a shower instead, and we settled in to watch a funny (rather than scary) movie. We wanted to change our mood with fun rather than spook.
I genuinely apologized and Shay accepted. Declyn, Shay and I enjoyed some big laughs, a bunch of cookies, and they snuggled me on the couch for a bit while we told scary stories with silly endings.
Turns out, we had a fantastic Halloween! Transitioning from taking my four little costumed boys out in search of candy, to hanging with my older boys and celebrating their way, is apparently something I'm a bit moody about!
But together, we're figuring it out! One holiday at a time!
Hugs, smiles, and love!!