Keep Swimming. Keep Swimming. Keep Swimming.

My oldest is screaming right now. He's screaming with tears streaming, snot dripping, his hands balled in angry fists, and there's pretty much nothing I can do to make it better. I'm realizing that more and more these days: in most things involving Jude, there's very little I can do to help. I can listen sympathetically. I can speak loving words and softly stroke his hair. I can give hugs. But these things rarely--very rarely--calm his rages. Many times, they rather seem to enrage him even more. Many times I lose patience and don't even try these paltry tactics. 

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Yesterday Jude had managed four screaming meltdowns by ten am.

1: Screaming and crying because Noah was playing with "his" Lego plane.

2: he was angry Noah was eating without dad being at the table.

3: He didn't want to wear the photo-friendly shirt; he wanted to wear that hideous superhero basket ball jersey. I relented and let him put it on instead.

4: Now he wants to wear the other shirt after all, but he can't because we are all in the car driving to see a farm.

I think you probably get the idea. He's angry, moody, sometimes violent, always crying about something. Jusje and I spend 90% of our day trying to make peace between Jude and the world. We're constantly in flux between strategies. Should we hardline this one and hope he learns he can't get away with tantrums at the check out at Target or do we let this battle pass and give in to letting him do it his way? No matter what we choose, I always feel like I've made a poor decision. And not to go on about other people and their opinions---most of the time, I couldn't care less what other people think---but some days the silent judgemental glares simply slay me. I don't want to be a mom always apologizing for my kid but sometimes he's just so profoundly rude I feel myself scrambling to explain "I'm so sorry! He's autistic and very emotional." This doesn't ever really make me feel better though. Now instead of a mother of a ridiculously ill-behaved Cretan, I'm a mother ashamed of her special needs child. *sigh* 

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It's not all bad. Sometimes Jude can be the sweetest kid, kissing and playing with Ezra and speaking to him about all the things Jude will teach E when he is big enough. It's just that the hard bits seem to drown out so many of the happy bits; they are so damp and wrinkly by the end of the day. 

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I know God is good and faithful through all things. This is minor compared to the reality faced by so many. Still it hurts to see our oldest daily take out his frustration on his younger brother, Noah, the dog, the furniture, and (accidentally) himself. 

Throughout the massive changes our family has faced this year---new home, new baby, new roles, new understanding of our oldest---God has never failed to provide us with oceans of care and love through the friends and family around us. Things look different than I thought they would, but I'm so thankful that he gives us strength to move forward each day, even if it's only inch by inch. For any of you out there struggling to stay above the waves, I'd like to give you a hug, a cup of coffee, and a word of encouragement: The Lord is faithful in all things!  

P.S. For those of you struggling with an autistic child, this article was immensely encouraging: http://www.scarymommy.com/parenting-autistic-child/

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Jenny Smith

3705 Oceanview Drive, Denton, TX, 76208