I just don’t know what the fuck to do anymore. I really don’t. My kid, the brilliant, sweet, wonderful, “you’d never know anything was wrong with him” kid can’t stop stimming. So what, right? What’s so bad about stimming? Everyone does it all the time to some degree or another, it’s just that there are some stims that NTs are okay with and some they aren’t. Yeah, it’s all those rotten NTs making it awful and wrong to stim.
I’ve read forum after forum making that case, and they’ve got a point, right? I mean if we’re talking about humming, pacing, flapping, leg bouncing or whatever, there really is no big deal. Then if it’s more “socially awkward” like masturbating or something, ok teach them not to do it in public, but if they’re doing it in private, then what’s the problem? Here’s the thing, though. No one ever talks about the stims that put the child’s health at risk. No one ever talks about those. I get it. Shit, I had to come here to do it. My kid deserves his privacy, so I’m not gonna put this all out there for everyone that knows us to read. So thanks, Jill, for creating this space to be anonymous.
Here’s why we need to change this stim. My kid plays with his shit. Christ I can’t believe I just said that, but it’s true. He says it’s not about the shit per se, he just doesn’t care if he happens to shit while stimming. The stim? He sits on the toilet, plays with and splashes water on his asshole. WHAT THE FUCK?! I mean, I know it’s sensory and all that, but still…
I’m pretty sure this started because he was never actually potty trained. Up till the ripe old age of 9 years old he was still crapping his pants on a near daily basis. Yeah, now that I’m thinking about it, this is probably all my fault. Nice… So he wasn’t potty trained, and I put him on a schedule of when he had to go sit on the pot, and encouraged him to relax and read while he was in there. It wasn’t too long after that, that he stopped having accidents. It took about 6 months for us to discover what he was doing, and another 6 or so to get all the details.
To date, I believe I’ve handled it well. I haven’t freaked out or anything. I’ve emphasized that people touch themselves all the time in all kinds of places. It’s perfectly normal, and I’m not upset about him touching himself. And that’s the truth, I couldn’t care less about him touching himself in the bathroom. What.fucking.ever is what I say. But he can’t play with his shit, or the shitty water. He can’t get it all over his hands and then come back into the house touching things, and eating, and BITING.HIS.NAILS. Yes, we make him wash REALLY FUCKING WELL, but still. EWWWW Ok, so you get it now, right? He can’t keep this stim. It has to change. Not because I’m a prude, but because this is an actual, bonafide hygiene issue.
We’ve tried everything, and nothing works. Finally, a couple of weeks ago we locked him out of his bathroom. It wasn’t out of anger, or done rashly. It was a calm discussion, that we needed to find a suitable stim replacement, and this was going to have to be the first step for a while. For a few days he didn’t stim, and he and I began collaborating on other possible stims to replace this one. We hit on the shower. He could do this with the water in the shower. I thought it was a perfect solution. He gets to stim, with the water (which is apparently a necessary part of the process), but we keep the shit out of the equation. After another day or two, he told me he thought this could work. There was just one tiny problem. He can’t shower multiple times per day, and apparently he must stim multiple times per day.
I see now that it was inevitable that we’d arrive back where we are today, because I just don’t know what the fuck to do. I don’t want to fuck him up mentally or make him all screwy, but this has to stop. Then tonight when we try to talk about it he breaks down and says, “Mom, I have to do it. You don’t understand.” OUCH! I actually do understand. I get the compulsion of it. I can see it on him, when he runs down the hall headed to a “stim session.” I’ve been addicted. I know about compulsion. I know he has to do it, but the shit part has to stop!
I feel stuck, deep down in a pit, like I did when he was raging at me almost constantly. I feel tired, sad, and stuck, and I just don’t know what the fuck to do anymore. I’m open to suggestions, so please speak up, because at this point I just feel like giving up.