Sunday, December 26, 2010

This and That

So, I think we've decided against the house with chickens.  I went and jinxed it.  I KNEW it!  We went back on Thursday to check some stuff out and bring the little dudes to show them where their rooms would be and make sure that the Big Man would be comfortable having the upper level loft all to himself.  We also needed to measure some walls to make sure that our furniture would fit and check out some of the outside things like siding and maintenance, etc.  Well, it didn't go so well.  For us, not for the kids.  The dudes LOVED the house.  Big Man saw where his room would be and almost passed out from total excitement.  They also went down in the basement and just ran and ran and ran and shrieked and screamed and shrieked some more.  Herein is where our problems began.  We could hear them.  Loudly.  From any corner of the house.  I shut the basement door and went all the way into the master.  Still.shrieking.drill bit in my ear, high-pitched, holy crap how can you possibly get your voice to that many decibels, shrieking.  The house has carpet only in three small rooms.  The rest is this beauuuuutiful tile, and then the master has a gorgeous wood floor.  All of this plus the cathedral ceilings and you have your very own amphitheater for all shrieking all the time.  It just echoed and amplified throughout the house, and then when they came upstairs and commenced to screaming....Lord, please give me the strength not to duct tape these childrens' mouths shut.  Not that they were doing anything wrong, because they weren't.  That was the purpose of bringing them to the house, to see if they would be excited or just kinda meh about the whole thing.  The amphitheater was just a bonus.  We also found that the taxes and utilities were insanely high, and also the cedar siding was very high-maintenance and only half painted on one side of the house.  There's also an immense cookie-cutter neighborhood in the back yard, and there's only a very sparse tree line between us and the neighborhood with no fence.  Those houses seriously eff up your view for your morning coffee.

As it is, the noise was the deal breaker.  I'm not quite sure how to explain my feelings about noise.  It's one of the most difficult aspects of being a parent with Asperger's.  Children, as many of you know, are extremely loud beings.  They have two volumes:  120 and sleeping.  Most parents have anxiety or need a break when their little ones are crying or throwing a massive fit, and I get that that's normal.  However, I tend to break down or meltdown myself with any sort of noise, even their happy sounds.  The laughter and shrieking of fun play.  I can't describe what it does to my head, not in words that really convey the feeling.  It's physical pain, like a drill bit in my head.  That's the best description I've found anyway.  For a lot of autists, there are sensory disorder symptoms, and I am the same.  I am unsure if sound, smell and taste are actually amplified for me or if I hear, sniff and taste the same as everyone else, and it just pushes different nerves or are connected to my emotions in some other way.  As it is, my emotions are highly connected to my senses, much more than they are to actions.  Taste stimulants, like cilantro, can cause something that can only be described as euphoria, but other such tastes or, I guess, more food textures, can cause actual rage.  Macaroni in funny shapes for instance, or if I try to eat a few of my "staple" food items and they are not prepared exactly how I need them prepared.  Sometimes the noises of hilarity and cuteitude in my house do the same thing.  Rage.  My training helped me combat it quite effectively with a few deep breathing exercises and some suggestions for sensory stimulants, which actually help a lot.  My highest sense is my sense of smell.  So, when we are home and the noise starts to get to me, I will light five or six candles and just breathe in scents that make me happy.  That usually works.  It's harder when we are in the car.  Car rides amplify noise like you would not believe.  He's on my siiiiiiiiiiiiideeeeee.  Gimme that baaaaaaaaaaaack.  Etc., etc., ad nauseum.  I have to do the breathing exercises then, and they just plain don't work as well as the candles.  Air fresheners tend to be too strong for me, though, and can cause a rage feeling.  I just haven't found one that I like.  Vanilla my patooty.  Vanilla Ass Ass Baby, I say, as far as car air fresheners go.  Then we have Little Man's fits....well, still working on that.  I think I need to try prayer.  Right now, how it usually goes is that I go into it calm and telling myself that I'm not going to let this normal 4-year-old behavior get to me, and by the end of it, I'm screaming and throwing a bigger fit than he is, and then we're both miserable for about an hour or so until we get over it.  Next time he has one (tomorrow, likely, since we'll be home with his big brother, and he'll need to show off his defiance), I'm just gonna get down to his level and start praying quietly.  He won't be able to hear me, since he'll be screaming his danged noodle off, but it should help calm me down.  Better than just breathing in with the good air, out with the bad air.  Perhaps he'll be curious as to what I'm saying long enough to stop screaming.  Perhaps he'll not punch me in the face once I kneel down on the floor.

Anyway, so the house isn't going to work out.  It's a bummer for another reason.  The kids REALLY loved it.  Big Man was more excited about that loft bedroom than I'd ever seen him before.  It's going to be a big letdown for them.  It also reminds me of something cruel I once said to my father when I was a teenager.  I didn't think it was cruel at the time.  I just didn't understand what I was saying.  I was very unhappy in the school that I was attending at the time, and we had been several times to a model home to ask about building a house in a different school district.  I remember being awed by all of the floorplans and pictures of models on the walls there and the promise of helping pick carpet colors and paint colors, etc.  (My suggestions were not used, BTW, and good thing, they would have never been able to sell that house with my appalling interior decorating skills.)  Anyway, because we went to see it so many times, I assumed that we were going to have this house built and that we were moving.  One day, as we were leaving after my parents were asking the builder more questions, they told us that we would not be able to afford the house.  Out of my mouth came the most ungrateful words ever uttered by me, "Well, you just set us up for disappointment with this one."  Clearly I did not understand the amount of money, time, effort and planning that went into the purchase of a new home.  All I knew was that we had seen this amazing place to live, and we weren't getting to live there.  I know now, of course, how ungrateful and cruel it was.  I think about it often and have over the last few years, and I regret it every time I think about it.  I was just an ignorant teenager.  Instead of my dad telling me off, though, as he was often quiet toward us, he found a way to buy that house.  As I think about it as an adult, I am completely disgusted with myself.  I bullied my father into giving me what I wanted by throwing a hissy fit, and what I wanted wasn't something stupid like 20 bucks to go to the movies.  It was a major financial decision, and although I don't know what my parents' financial situation was at that time, I'm sure heavy sacrifices were made to purchase that house.

As it is, as awful as I feel about my awful remark as a teenager, I can't help but feel that we are going to let the Big Man down big time.  I should have known better at age 15, but he is only 6.  He is not yet past the stage where the world does not revolve around him.  He loved that room, and now we are going to take it away from him.  It feels kinda crappy.  Almost like forcing my readers to go through 300 pages of my ramblings every time I decide to write a blog.

3 You Said What?:

Kathryn said...

When I read your posts, sometimes I'm truly amazed by your ability to succinctly articulate your opinions and emotional reactions to both your present and your past. I have to let you know how much reading your thoughts helps me at times to put my own into words. Thank you for sharing.

P.s.: "They have two volumes: 120 and sleeping." = HILARIOUS.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Is it possible to sound proof the basement a bit? I have to think there are things you can do throughout the house that would dampen noise- and I don't just say that because that's the kind of product my company makes (dampening foams- the facility across the street from my office actually has a silent room and it's kind of eery and then very peaceful to go in there). If the house is perfect and noise is the only issue... isn't there a chance you can fix that problem?

Anonymous said...

When you furnish the house the furniture will absorb a lot of that noise as well. Just a belated comment! I haven't been reading blogs much since the new year.